Looking after the wellness of your staff and encouraging self-care among your employees is fast proving to be one of the ways that you can encourage them to work at their best, boosting your company's performance and it's bottom line. Creating a positive environment that helps your staff thrive can lead to a happier, hard-working and more committed workforce, which ultimately means profits for everyone.

Here are our suggestions for affordable and effective employee wellness ideas and initiatives that will help your employees create healthy self-care habits at work:

Yoga

Ask a local yoga instructor to come in during your lunch hour or after work to promote their business by offering a free class to your employees. They will enjoy the opportunity to reach new customers and your staff will enjoy a break from their work duties. It may not be for everyone but some of your employees may then want to keep going with yoga regularly.

Encourage productive lunch breaks

Something as simple as encouraging staff to make sure they take their full lunch break can really help boost their general well-being. Offer ideas for how employees could spend their lunch breaks, like a walk in the local park, or you could try to get discounts for your staff at a local café where they can eat a healthy meal and enjoy a change of environment. If you have an on-site staff room then make it a comfortable, clean place for employees to spend their breaks.

Membership discounts at a local gym

Gyms are often desperate to get local businesses signed up to their gym and are probably willing to offer a special discount to you and your staff. Talk to local gyms and see what they can offer. Nowadays these type of arrangements are so common that it is something that can really attract the best talent to your company. In order to motivate your staff to exercise regularly, you could organise some healthy competition for those who are part of the gym, like a monthly target for kilometres ran, cycled or rowed, or you could consider giving staff a little extra time off so they can go to classes together.

Organise educational or wellness talks

Putting together inspiring talks about wellness - whether it is healthy eating, meditation, productivity or mental health - will help raise awareness of self-care among your employees. If you can organise these during working time then even better, as employees will see this as a perk and are more likely to attend. It's worth finding out if you already have employees who are interested in these topics and already have some skills or knowledge they could share with others. Or depending on your business you could offer different incentives for external speakers to join you for an hour, for example a link to their business on your website or discounts for them to use.

Encourage reading

Research continues to show us that reading is really good for us. It exercises the brain, reduces stress, and improves memory - all of which can help boost an employee's productivity at work. You may want to start a book club for your employees, meaning that books can also become a topic of conversation and will help staff bond. Alternatively, have a cupboard or shelf for employees to swap books they've already read.

There are many free or affordable things you can do to encourage a positive working environment. Keep your employees' well-being a priority through regular one-to-ones and make it easy for staff to reach out to you or other managers should they have a concern or need extra support.

About the author

Jen Lowthrop is Findmyshift's own all-star writer and a blogger. With more than a decade of experience in volunteer management and marketing, Jen also ran her own local deli/cafe. When not writing for Findmyshift, Jen blogs about her travels at She Gets Around and can be found talking about travel, branding and business on Facebook and Twitter.