As the structure, face and look of the corporate workplace shift into new beginnings, it is more important than ever to lay the groundwork for a cohesive team and office organization. Making mental health and wellness a team priority can help to drive healthier habits and foster resilience. Team wellbeing also reduces burnout and cuts down absenteeism.
Work relationships and communication are vital for a positive work environment and wellness amongst the employees. Exercises and activities done as a group can provide an opportunity for employees to unwind, take a break and have some fun. This will help to reduce stress levels and promote motivation and enthusiasm.
Many businesses and corporations are having employees return to ‘in office’ work while also maintaining some ‘WFH’ (work from home) situations. While this hybrid will continue and morph over the next few months and even years, providing ways to keep the community of the office life (live, WFH and hybrid) healthy, happy, and productive for both employees and employers during this transition can be the lifeline that many businesses need right now.
All the following activities can be done live, virtually or as a hybrid of both live and virtual.
EXERCISE: The game of: If / Why?
Time: 5-10 mins
This exercise is meant to have employees share a bit about themselves without getting too personal and it can promote an element of surprise and fun into the normal day. Propose the following three questions and have employees answer them at your next scheduled meeting. Depending on the amount of time you have and if you choose to do this impromptu or scheduled, you can use one question or all three. Start by alerting employees in the meeting agenda that you are asking everyone to answer these questions by either dressing up as their choice, bringing a picture of their choice, or showing (if virtual) their choice during the meeting IF they choose. It is important to let them have an ‘out’ if needed as some employees might not feel comfortable in sharing or participating at all. Yet, hopefully they will feel more comfortable the next time once they see how fun this can be.
Be sure to indicate that the answer to ‘why’ should be short and sweet, perhaps just a word or several words that describe the reason why. This will keep the interaction short, yet vital and interactive and spark a sense of fun and community within the company and/or departments. The ‘why’ of this exercise can be the most fun and spark some very interesting conversations and interactions long after the meeting has occurred.
- If you were an animal, what would you be? Why?
- If you were a food or drink, what would you be? Why?
- What is your favorite color? Why?
The process of team building is a great way to improve communication, morale, motivation, productivity, helping teams get to know one another, and learning about the strengths as well as the weaknesses of each person. Typically, team building activities are subdivided into four categories: communication activities, problem solving or decision-making activities, adaptability and/or planning activities, and activities that focus on building trust. The idea with any of these four is to do activities that are both fun AND challenging. The outcome is that they can improve employee performance and productivity at the office. A win-win for all.
Communication Activity: Personal Logo
Time: 5-10 mins
Start by asking all participants to empty their pockets, purses, and wallets of coins or metal objects (paper clips, etc.) and place on the table in front of their space. If you have virtual participants, or in office staff that don’t have pockets or they can pull from a jar or if no one has anything – have them (or you) layout a stack of office supplies (paper clips, pens, pencils, staples, etc.) Have each person create a personal logo using only what they’ve placed in front of them in just one minute. They can also use other objects such as paper, photos, utensils, wallets etc. when creating their own logo. If the group is particularly large, you can break them into smaller groups, and they can create a group logo together. This can be done virtually by placing participants into breakout rooms to create together and leave about another 30 seconds for them to decide who will be the one presenting the group logo. After 60-90 seconds have each person and/or group present and explain the logo to the group. This not only promotes group and self-awareness, yet also enables participants to get to know one another on a more personal level.
Problem Solving Activity: Create your Own
Time: 1 hour
This one is best used for larger teams so that you can create smaller teams that will work together. The idea is to present each group with the task of creating their own goal- or problem- that they will create and then solve as a group. Be sure the stress that this should be a new and unknown problem and solution – not one that they have done before or seen or heard of before. At the end of the time, each group will come up with and present their new problem-solving activity. While being a problem-solving activity in and of itself, it also promotes creative thinking, communication, trust, time management and community fun for all.
One more fun thing that can be done for hybrid, live or virtual is the idea of providing (if live) or sending (if virtual) a ‘craft kit’ that can be sent out ahead of time and then done together as a group in any of the three situations. These can be part of a holiday gift or year-end/fiscal reward to help foster creativity and bring out the joy of making something by hand together even while groups and individuals are still isolated at home. Check out creative, fun classes offered by ClassBento, a company that does just that – provide a ‘bento kit’ of fun and creativity to each employee’s door.
A wellness program on the corporate level should include physical as well as mental health and wellness activities and a combination of both is best to provide employees with the best possible path to staying healthy both mentally and physically. The following is a partial list of ideas Moda Health 101 Low-cost ideas for worksite wellness from the following website:
Physical Activity ideas:
- Schedule weekly walks around the neighborhood.
- Participate in local community walks (i.e. Pink Ribbon walks, March of Dimes, etc.)
- Offer corporate discounts or free health club memberships at local gyms.
- Offer short breaks throughout the day for stretching and/or meditating at the desk.
- Do a ‘walk-about’ in a different neighborhood. Have each employee walk their neighborhood and reverse the camera so all can see the neighborhood they walk in.
- Sponsor walks in each virtual employee’s area (if working in different states/countries/regions).
- Offer memberships and/or discounts to ‘virtual’ studios.
- If vending machines are at the office, provide healthy snack foods.
- Develop a Company cookbook made up of employee’s healthy recipes. Print out and hand out either electronically or physically.
- Offer water stations at a variety of places around the office, making it easy for employees to access and drink water throughout the day.
- Hold a recipe contest.
- Schedule ‘stress relief’ breaks throughout the day.
- Offer access to mediation apps or pay for each employee to add the app to their devices if they desire.
- Send out daily or weekly quotes with encouraging messages.
These are just a few ideas, another place to look for encouraging ideas or programs is to check out Rejuv at Work’s schedule of classes and webinars. We have regularly scheduled programs such as fitness classes, webinars and meditation in weekly virtual live classes and webinars. These programs can provide your employees with professional wellness services and instruction that encourage healthy habits and support the physical and mental well-being of your employees.
For more ideas on building up Corporate Wellness of an organization, check out HRT/Human Resources Today