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A few weeks ago, we talked about the benefits of workplace wellness programs and how to get one started. But we didn’t dig into the costs.

As with most things in life, you could easily start down the road to workplace wellness and blow your budget before the first mat unrolls at your in-office yoga party. Or, you can approach wellness with the ROI in mind, choosing programs, activities, and components wisely and planning them out as you would any other project.

No matter where you are in your workplace wellness program journey, here are a few tips and ideas that encourage well-being for both your employees and your budget.

First: prioritize

Yoga and CrossFit classes. In-office exercise bikes and treadmills. Speakers, presentations, and prizes for office-wide competitions. We know from our own wellness pursuits that cultivating a culture of health can be expensive. But it doesn’t have to be.

The first step to keeping your program affordable is to prioritize activities to those your employees show an interest in and avoid any that don’t spur excitement. After all, that state-of-the-art elliptical machine is a great way to exercise but it won’t move the needle on employee health if nobody uses it.

Next: look around

Once you’ve prioritized, look around and notice the people, policies, and processes you’ve already got in place to get wellness moving.

Policies
You won’t need to write any checks to create a new flexible-schedule policy that allows employees to fit exercise into their daily schedule. Or, to institute a midday break policy and encourage staff to take a walk, go to the gym, or enjoy a few minutes of quiet time. If you have policies in place already to address common stressors or health concerns, take this moment to send a brief email or create a quick flyer to make your teams aware of them.

In-house experts
Chances are, your colleagues have wellness ideas or tips that they’ve already incorporated into their daily lives. Rather than paying external experts to lead sessions, turn to the experts sitting among you. Ask employees to give talks on their favorite exercise, stress relief, or health-focused activities. Create a central place where anyone can share health tips, recipes, routines, and more. Empowering staff to share their ideas and educate team members about their own wellness topics will increase morale and knowledge at no cost to you.

Habits
Whether you make it an official policy or not, start office-wide wellness habits. Take it on yourself to set up walking or standing meetings. Lead whomever will join you in 5-10 minute breaks for stretching or walking around the block every hour or so. Be that team member who always brings healthy snacks to share at meetings. Starting a habit costs nothing but makes a big impact.

Then: evaluate

After your new policies and habits have taken effect and your experts have spoken, take a step back and see how the program is working. Pay attention both to what worked and what didn’t and see how well-being is progressing as a whole. You may find that you’ve uncovered particular needs or interests and now you know where to splurge when the time is right. Or maybe you find that your low-budget solutions brought your employees exactly the wellness they need.

Countertop Bevi

There’s the candy jar on your co-worker’s desk that somehow always offers all your favorites. And the box of donuts that arrives every Friday morning like clockwork. Then, there’s the cakes and cookies for celebrations that seem to happen weekly. And the closet in the back, always generously stocked with soda.

Sometimes it seems like going to work be dangerous for your health!

While each of these sweets and treats may tempt you on the brink of your 3pm energy slump, we know that none of them contribute to a healthy diet for you or your coworkers. But make a few quick swaps and your entire office will be ready to start the day on a high note, push through the slump, and make progress on the path to better health.

Skip the weekly donut breakfast

Replace with Granola and Greek yogurt

If you’ve made a tradition of weekly breakfast treats, the good news is you can keep it going and make it healthier. Bags of granola and a fridge stocked with Greek yogurt will still start the morning sweetly but without hurting your health. Go for bonus points and bring in a few pints of fresh blueberries or strawberries to top it all off.

Dump the candy bowl

Fill it with dried fruit and nuts

We know the drill. Every morning you swear you’ll stay away. And every afternoon, you find something very important to discuss with the coworkers who sit between you and the candy bowl. Well you can keep that afternoon circuit going too. Just make it healthy by replacing the candy with dried fruit, nuts, or trail mix.

Forget the cake

Celebrate with Muffins

Birthdays, work anniversaries, successful project completions—celebrations strengthen bonds and culture in a workplace and we vote for celebrating as often as you can. Just celebrate in a healthier way with muffins instead of cupcakes or even fresh fruits and veggies to munch on while you chit chat.

Kick vending machines to the curb

Stock up on healthy pantry essentials

Not all office snacks are sweet. Vending machines or cabinets full of chips also create temptations and the likeliness of unhealthy snacking habits. Turn things around by stocking up on healthy pantry options like popcorn, whole wheat crackers and peanut butter. Try new things with a service like NatureBox, Graze, SnackNation and get regular deliveries of new, healthy snacks. SnackNation has a super cool tool that recommends the best snacks based on certain attributes.

Empty out that closet of soda

Get Bevi!

Hooking up to a water line, the Bevi smart water machine provides customizable still, sparkling, and flavored water on demand. Pure filtered water included! Bevi is also internet-connected and automatically notifies Bevi technicians when you’re running low on flavors or carbonation. Instead of stacking the office closet with cases of soda, save time, reduce waste, and stay healthy with Bevi’s low- or zero-calorie flavored water. 

Standup Bevi

In addition to Bevi’s fruit-flavored water, there are many other healthy alternatives to soda and other sugary drinks. From maple water to kombucha, tea to fruit-infusions, check out this list of delicious soda substitutes that will help you cut the cola.

How often do you gather your employees together for something that has nothing to do with business?

Creating camaraderie and a sense of social engagement in the office goes a long way to not only spreading your company culture but strengthening it as well. Giving everyone a chance to relax a little and get to know each other better can boost employee morale and collaboration.

Ultimately, you’ll need to hone in on events and activities that fit well into your current culture. But here are a few ideas to get you going.

Ice cream social: Invite an ice cream truck to pull up outside your office or buy a few gallons from the closest grocery story and set up a sundae bar on a Wednesday afternoon.

Chili Cook-off: Or any kind of cook-off. Assign a panel of judges and tell everyone to get cooking and bring their best. Just be sure to have a prize for the winner.

Pot Luck: Amp up the Friday afternoon happy hour by assigning snack, drink, and even dessert duty to different teams around the office.

Non-business meetings: Survey the office to see what folks are interested in and then bring in an expert. A sommelier could come in to teach about wine tasting or a local stand-up comedian could run an improv workshop.

Game Day: Ask everyone to bring in a favorite board game and spend an afternoon of a little friendly competition.

Start a Book Club: Maybe you read and discuss books related to your work, maybe you work through the latest NYT best sellers. Either way, it will bring folks together.

Office Talent Show: What are your colleagues good at outside of the office? It’s time to find out.

Afternoon Snack Time: Take yourselves back to your Kindergarten days and schedule afternoon snack time for all to come together. (We recommend gathering around the Bevi).

Afternoon at the Movies: Take everyone out to the local theater or pop some popcorn and bring one in.

Scavenger Hunt: Plot one out within the office or break into teams and take to the streets for exploration and team building at the same time.

Volunteer Together: Pick a cause everyone can get behind and then go out to make a difference for a morning, or the whole day!

DIY Awards Show: Think of fun office awards (e.g. best smelling lunch, first in every morning, best email sign off) or create your own based on inside jokes. Don’t forget to hand out trophies.

A Day of Pampering: Bring in a masseuse for seated massages, a barista to make coffee to order, and anything else that will leave employees feeling well taken care of.

Contests for Anything: Create a contest around anything that gets you all engaged—from a costume contest at Halloween to a friendly step-counting contest and beyond, there are countless ways to get everyone cheering each other on.

Bevi Taste Test: This one’s our personal favorite—an afternoon of ‘name that flavor!’

Picture this: you’re sitting at your desk, working away towards your 3pm deadline, all while your four-legged best friend sits by, encouraging, comforting, and cheering you on.

If you’re a dog-lover, this sounds like a dream.

“Sometimes, the best lap to rest on is a working lap.” – Hero, Bevi Puppy in Residence

But to make this dream a reality for you and your employees, you’ll need to consider all the pros and cons of a pet-friendly workplace.

Pup Pros

The Love

Every dog-owner knows (and craves) that feeling of coming home at the end of the day to puppy love. The unconditional companionship of a dog has a unique ability to relieve stress, be it the sweet little nose on your lap, a furry head to pet, or just knowing that someone who loves you is nearby. Pets ‘on staff’ can reduce employee’s stress levels and make them feel more comfortable in the workplace.

The Talk

Studies show that dogs increase bonds and collaboration in an office. Think of them as a natural conversation starter. Don’t know Jean too well even though she sits three seats away? Stop by to pet her pup and you’ll know her better in no time, leading to more conversation and collaboration.

Joyce & Hero, Bevi's Office Dog

The Walks

Enter in the morning, exit in the evening and never get breath of fresh air in between. We humans do it all the time. But dogs don’t. While needing to get up from your desk in the middle of the day to walk the dog might seem like a productivity-crashing interruption, it actually brings about great healthy and creativity benefits. Walking is a great way to stay in shape and clear the mind at the same time. Ever get a great idea the minute you walk away from your computer? Count on that happening daily.

The Balance

When employees can blend the line between work life and home life, often they feel a greater sense of balance. In this case, time spent missing their pups, worrying about them alone at home, or feeling guilty over being gone for so long can now be better spent.

Canine Cons

The Sneezes and Phobias

Unfortunately, for every dog-lover, there is a cat-lover. There are also those who don’t like any furry friends, who are scared of the canine kind, or allergic. Creating a productive and welcoming environment for everyone means making sure that everyone feels comfortable. And sometimes, your furry best friend will make that tricky.

The Mess

Furry, friendly, and lovable, yes. Clean and tidy, not always. The mess dogs leave in their wake starts with occasional shedding and only gets worse from there.

The Distraction

Dogs are loyal and loveable companions. But they can be quite needy. They also have a knack for directing all the attention in the room towards themselves. If the first fifteen minutes of every meeting are filled with puppy talk, you might have a problem.

The Tension

For all the tension they relieve, they have the power to create a little too. Disagreements over boundaries, responsibilities or even pet-led conflicts can disrupt office congeniality.

Ultimately, your decision should take your employees and culture into account to determine whether the downsides of a pet-friendly workplace are worth the rewards. And, if you do decide to invite the dogs in, let this list of cons guide you in developing pet-friendly policies around things such as vaccination, training, and guidelines about proper pup behavior.

The quick answer is no, you do not really need a foosball table. You also don’t need a well-stocked beer fridge, free lunches, or office Segways.

bevi and ping pong paddles

Foosball certainly translates a laid-back, fun-loving culture into something you can touch. (Just as a Bevi transforms a forward thinking, sustainability-minded culture into something  you can taste!) And these things might be the perfect expressions of your workplace culture. But they don’t make a culture on their own. After all, what good is a tube slide between floors if your culture demands professional business wear every day?

Your workplace culture should be evident in everything you do, from the way you approach a project to the benefits your employees enjoy. Then, it should be talked about widely to attract the kinds of talent who will make a great fit. Because ultimately, you want employees to be as excited about your 9am strategy meeting as they are about your 5pm cocktail hour.

Here’s how to make that happen.

1. Paint a picture of culture

Start with your company’s mission and vision. Then go beyond, to the less obvious values and beliefs. Think about what sets you apart in your industry, or in the world. Do you excel at collaboration? Do you prioritize learning and? Do you approach your work as both meaningful and fun? Considering your collective values, beliefs and interests will help give shape and form to your workplace culture.

2. Tap into top talent

As you determine what you value, check in with your top performers. Find out what you’re already doing that’s keeping those folks happy. Dig into what brought them to you initially as well as what keeps them motivated in their day-to-day work. These nuggets of culture, some you may not even be aware of, will help you attract more of the same kind of talent.

3. Perk it up

When Apple added full education reimbursement to its list of benefits, the message was clear—Apple cares about learning and development. Other companies offer flexible schedules with remote work options, unlimited and untracked vacation time, and even paid monthly housecleaning. Fabulous perks, indeed. But also, emblematic of cultures that value work-life balance, mutual trust, and time to recharge. Get clear about what you value and believe to can attract like-minded employees.

Bevi Countertop

Show what you care about to attract employees who care too!

4. Pull it through

Once you’ve aligned your benefits and perks, keep going. Weave your laid-back culture through everything you so, so that prospective employees feel it long before they see the foosball table. Flow your collaborative approach beyond your open floor plan into the way you talk, the way you interview, and the way you present your company on social media and beyond. Make your culture something that can be identified and felt beyond your office walls.

5. Talk about it

Once your culture is in place, talk about it. Everywhere. Share snapshots of your culture on social media, talk about it in your job ads, and weave it into your interview questions. Get your employees to talk about it too. Make videos, host events, and speak about it at conferences. And sure, if it’s right for your culture, maybe even hold that foosball competition you’ve dreamed about.