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Corporate wellness requires fun at work to work!

Workers having fun exercising

The most important thing when running a wellness programme is to enjoy maximum employee participation. However, that is not always easy! Experienced workplace wellness providers argue that the key to ensuring enthusiastic involvement, is to make programmes fun. Start with fun and you are set for success! We suggest 4 key ways below:

1. Careful planning should put fun first

Most employers recognise the value of a fun program to motivate participation – 99% in a recent survey of 378 organisations (Global Corporate Challenge, 2013). However, in the same study only 10% report their programmes achieving  high levels of fun. The points to the need for careful planning when it comes to designing wellness initiatives

2. Communicate to staff how the programme will be fun.

One of the keys to successful wellness programmes is to use communications effectively. Not only do programmes need to be fun, they need to promise fun. Staff must anticipate that a particulate initiative will be fun, in order to get them to sign up. Ensure that your communication plan educates everyone sufficiently about what they can expect. It should also remind people of what is in still and actively build anticipation.

3. Fun at work should be modelled by management

The phrase ‘lead by example’ has never been truer when it comes to workplace wellness initiatives. For success, it is crucial that there is commitment to health and wellbeing from senior leadership and middle management. Moreover, management need to model a fun focus and share in the anticipation and excitement of the programme.

4. Recognise the value of incentives, including fun

In order for employees to be motivated, they need to see value in a programme. Research shows that non-incentivized wellness programs have an average 15% participation rate, while those with incentives can have up to an 85% participation rate. Incentives can be financial including gift cards, merchandise, company discounts, travel and time off. However, they can also be non-financial including affirmation, praise and fun! Don’t underestimate the power of fun here. As we said above, experienced wellness providers argue that fun is in fact essential for employ engagement in wellness programmes and their success.

5. Provide employees with the time to participate in wellness programmes

One of the biggest reasons that employers give for staff not taking part in workplace wellness programmes, is that staff don’t have the time. It is therefore necessary for companies to work hard to integrate programmes into staff’s daily work and life schedules. Even if staff participate in programmes, if they feel strapped for time, they will be anxious and the programme will not feel fun!

Following these five key tips will help to ensure that your corporate wellness programme is fun and successful! Remember, start with fun as your focus and you will be well set!


Dr Kathryn Owler, Director of


GCC. (2013). 2013 Global Workplacehealth and wellness REPORT. The Global Corporate Challenge.

NIHCM. (2011). Building a Stronger Evidence Base for Employee Wellness Programs: Meeting Brief. NIHCM Foundation.

OptumHealth. 2011. Wellness in the Workplace 2011: An OptumHealth™ Research Study. OptumHealth Institute.

PricewaterhouseCoopers. (2010). Workplace wellness in Australia: Aligning action with aims: Optimising the benefits of workplace wellness. PricewaterhouseCoopers’ National Health Practice.

Well@Work. (2009, February). Workplace Wellness: A Literature Review for New Zealand Well@Work. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Tips, training and resources

Staff training: Training for staff can motivating and help staff know that you care. Joyworkz offer a range of workplace wellness seminars such as Effective Strategies to Enjoy Your Work that assist staff to be healthy and happy at work. 

A wellness programme: This has the added advantage of providing a workplace with an array of team building activities that are known to contribute to employee motivation and loyalty. If you need help getting started, consider Joyworkz SimplyWell™ package, which takes the stress out of designing a workplace wellness programme.

Fun at work books: There are a range of good books available on promoting fun in the workplace. David Hemsath and Leslie Yerkes are well known authors. Dr Kathryn Owler, director of Joyworkz and local author, has also written Fun at Work: A journey of acceptance, joy and true meaninga refreshing read for anyone seeking more fun at and enjoyment at work. 

Visual prompts: Visual prompts in the workplace can be useful. For instance, the free Alsco Heart Health Poster encourages staff to have a good laugh at work.

2013 © Joyworkz Ltd, page updated 2018. All Rights Reserved.

P.S. Do you like this article?. If so, feel free to post a link on your intranet, e-newsletter, blog, face-book page or email to your friends and colleagues. We are keen for everyone to have the opportunity to live a healthy work life!

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Higher morale & enhanced team spirit.
Wellness iniatives can leave staff feeling appreciated. A planned wellness programme has the added advantage of providing a workplace with an array of team building activities that can contribute to employee motivation and loyalty.
Lower staff turnover.
When staff feel valued and cared for, they are less likely to leave an organisation.
Less absenteeism.
Promotion of healthy living can impact on absenteeism, including non-work related illness.
Enhanced employee engagement.
Healthy, well rested staff, are more likely to be focused and engaged at work.
Improved status as an employer of choice.
Attracting and retaining good staff is important for business. Wellness programme initiatives can improve a company's status as an employer of choice. 
Enhanced public image.
Companies who are known to be good employers can build this into their brand. Customers can feel good about doing business with them. 
Better customer service.
Customer service staff are more likely to believe in and promote a company's brand, if they themselves feel supported and valued.

The benefits of a healthy workforce

All companies are required under the Health and Safety at Work Act (2015) to provide a safe work environment, free from hazards. Workplace wellness requires a focus on employee wellbeing from a holistic point of view, moving beyond pure health and safety. This includes physical, mental and emotional health (WHO).

Companies with workplace wellness programmes may experience a range of benefits; these can include less instances of absent workers as well as increased productivity and employee retention. By creating a culture of health, employees can encourage positive habits in their peers and improve the entire organization.

Happy workers all ages