Meet eleven corporate well-being trend-setters

24 Jul 2018

Meet eleven corporate well-being trend-setters

Corporate wellbeing is a $40bn global industry. From taking unlimited vacations to growing organic vegetables, ‘nap pods’ to brain training, here are 11 companies each offering their own unique investment to keep their workers happy, healthy and productive.


This San Francisco-based software company was established by Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and software engineer Justin Rosenstein. Both were involved with improving employee productivity at the social media giant.

Alongside daily yoga, gym memberships, mentoring programmes focused on learning and health, executive coaching and unlimited holiday, Asana gives each new starter something extra. A $10,000 budget to create his or her own unique workspace. Motorised desks that allow an employee to sit or stand are the most popular choice.


At Zappos, decentralised organisation reigns. Their model removes the usual corporate command-and-control structure. Instead, it’s replaced by one in which everyone becomes a leader in their own role.

Despite trading in sports footwear, Zappos avoids the more clichéd gym classes and fitness regimes. Rather, the company champions what they call ‘Wellness Adventures’.  Employees take part in regular group activities off-site, ‘Recess Tuesdays’ in which playground toys are distributed, and ‘Energy Pods’ available for employees to take naps in.


Arguably, an obvious choice, but as a pioneer of innovative employee well-working initiatives, Google is worth a mention. Its ‘Optimise Your Life’ programme focuses on improving “self-actualisation and self-fulfilment” through three pillars: emotional health, physical health and financial health.

This includes life coaching, deep sleep sessions, brain training, flexible hours and vacations, support groups and ‘recharge pods’.

Google’s Campus hosts physicians, chiropractors, health care professionals, fitness centres and classrooms for extra-curricular activities. There’s also a PiLab – or People & Innovative Lab – which researches and develops new techniques for employees’ wellbeing.


Airbnb’s ‘workplace as an experience’ vision is built on creating memorable workplace experiences and a true sense of belonging for every employee.

A ‘belong anywhere’ environment encourages staff to create their own workspaces. Each employee also has his or her own webpage on a dedicated intranet, from which they communicate and interact socially with others in the business. Employees are also urged to volunteer with local communities for four hours per month.

It is, says Mark Levy, Airbnb’s former Global Head of Employee Experience, about “creating memorable workplace experiences that span all aspects of how we relate to employees, including how we recruit them, develop them, the type of volunteer experiences we offer them and the food we share together”.


Microsoft views employee health as essential for well working. This includes an annual wellbeing week for all staff, and the ‘Microsoft Living Wellness Health Center’.

The Microsoft CARES employee assistance programme offers education on stopping smoking, weight and overall fitness, gym and exercise classes and spousal health care.

Workers are also offered healthy eating initiatives, on-site grocery and personal care services, a host of extensive mentor programmes and learning opportunities.


The international publisher, known for its Women’s Health and Men’s Health titles, practises what it publishes.

Employees are provided with on-site fitness facilities and classes, with the emphasis very much on the outdoors. A dedicated outdoor running/walking trail encourages time out in its headquarters’ surrounding woodland, and a garden area lets employees relax by growing their own vegetables and organic produce.

Focused on mental, emotional and professional development, Rodale also provides wellness days, meditation facilities, private nursing rooms and seminars.


Wearable tech from Fitbit is at the heart of BP Canada’s wellbeing initiative. The company’s ‘Elements for Life’ programme uses the technology to gather a detailed overview of employee wellbeing to ensure a healthy work-life balance.

Four key factors drive ‘Elements for Life’: physical, emotional, financial and social health. The innovative points-based system encourages employees to take part in activities from which they earn points and are then rewarded via online tools that monitor professional and personal progress.


Often nominated as one of the ‘best companies to work for’, SAS has nurtured a positive work-life balance since day one.

The company offers a wellness initiative from its Recreation and Fitness Center. There are exercise and fitness classes, health-conscious eateries, on-site childcare, educational courses and an on-site healthcare programme including free doctor’s appointments and a six-month ‘Your Way to Wellness’ programme.

It works, too. The company reportedly has a staff turnover rate of less than 4%. According to Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Jenn Mann: “It’s critical for us to provide a workplace that incentivises great talent. This allows them to be motivated, creative and innovative.”


The global consumer goods brand delivers employee wellbeing and health via dedicated wellness areas. Its ‘Wellbeing Zone’ features four sub-zones focused on individual health aspects.

The ‘Movement Zone’ includes yoga, stretching exercises and massage, while the ‘Connection Bridge’ encourages employees to take a break and communicate with each other. A ‘Refreshment Centre’ offers healthy meals free of charge, and a dedicated ‘Silent Zone’ promotes meditation and rest during the working day.


The global consultancy uses a leader-driven, holistic ‘Wellness Strategy’ that focuses not only on its employees’ professional wellbeing but also their personal health.

Leaders must recognise and reinforce a healthy, balanced and safe working environment across three key tiers: mind, body and purpose. It is, says Deloitte, only through carefully balancing these three elements that employees can realise their full potential in the workplace.

Workers are offered gym and fitness classes, ergonomic environment options, massage and therapy sessions, extensive wellness programmes, and more.


The idea of motivating your employees to work by telling them they don’t have to can seem odd. Netflix prefers to avoid conventional policies and rules in order to encourage its employees’ wellbeing, fulfilment at work and creative spirit.

The company’s holiday policy, now being more widely adopted elsewhere, is that there is no policy. Employees are free to take as much, or indeed as little, holiday as they wish, whenever they wish. The only stipulations to this ‘formal’ plan are that work must be covered and managers must know where employees are.

This article is from the latest ‘Well Working’ edition of the Odgers Berndtson magazine, OBSERVE.

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