5 Slightly Unconventional Ways to Create a Happy, Healthy Workplace

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Featuring a "bring your pet to work day" and monthly massages, here are five great ways to have a more holistic (and productive) work environment.This story first appeared on Inc.com.

By Zoë Henry (Editorial Assistant, Inc.com)

Ever dreamed of bringing your dog to work? Good instinct: there's a scientifically proven reason why you should. Animals in the workplace are shown to alleviate stress, which ultimately makes your team (and your business) more productive.

Just ask Jennifer Adams, CEO of design firm Jennifer Adams Worldwide, who implemented a monthly "bring your pet to work" day for her employees. According to Adams, the policy offers an immediate stress relief. It "brings about a light-heartedness to everybody," she says.

Jeff Platt knows a thing or two about workplace stress. In addition to helping others eliminate stress, the CEO of the trampoline park chain and Inc. 5000 honoree, Los Angeles based Sky Zone, says allowing dogs at the office has done wonders for morale. It's even made a "significant difference in employees' productivity levels," he says. "People love being at work!"

Hanging out with furry friends is just one of many ways that CEOs like Adams and Platt are integrating wellness with work. After all, why should attending to your mind and body only happen after hours? Besides the obvious benefits for employees, businesses also benefit from getting them pumped up and excited about work.

True engagement requires getting people's blood flowing, says Adams. "You have to get everybody up from their desks." In case you don't head up a giant trampoline park, here are just a handful of other ways to provide wellness at work:

Monthly In-Office Massages

At Konnect Public Relations, a Los Angeles based PR agency, CEO Sabina Gault offers a variety of complimentary services to employees: They get monthly, in-office massages, as well as two free spinning or yoga classes per week, discounted personal training and even an in-office pool table.

"Because we have very high standards for our work… we place a very high emphasis on wellness and take employee recommendations and feedback very seriously," Gault told Inc. "We believe that a positive, happy team is the key to great results." To that end, Konnect's office also includes a permanent nap room where employees can relax during lunch.

Wellness Wednesdays

In addition to the "bring your pet to work" day, Adams' employees often participate in hikes along the trails behind the company's headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona.

She also oversees Wellness Wednesdays, which includes a yoga and meditation session to break up the week.

A "Wellness" Challenge

Employees at Woodhouse Day Spa participate in CEO Jeni Garrett's "Wellness Challenge." Each team member is given an electronic wellness bracelet to track their progress (exercise, diet, etc.). And for those who don't thrive on competition, Woodhouse also offers spa services, organic juices and (you guessed it) yoga classes. 

Frozen Yogurt

What's the best perk of working for Menchie's, the friendly, frozen yogurt franchise? There's a frozen yogurt machine for employees in the office lobby, obviously. But as part of CEO Amit Kleinberger's commitment to employee morale, he facilitates a buffet lunch every Friday, as well as an annual BBQ and food truck celebration.

Kleinberger has similarly seen an uptick in productivity since implementing these wellness strategies: "If our team members are happy, our guests will be happy, and that correlates to our values of making the world a better place," he told Inc. 

The Family-First Model

The importance of family is entrenched in the DNA of breastfeeding-accessory manufacturer Simple Wishes, which was founded by four sisters who wanted to provide mothers with a better, easier, more efficient method for breast-feeding. How do the executives oversee corporate wellness? By allowing employees to choose their own hours, so long as the work gets done. At Simple Wishes, employees and founders alike share an overall understanding of the importance of family.

As health and fitness experts increasingly argue, the most effective approach to wellness is a more holistic one: It's no longer enough to get in a 20-minute workout twice a week. Instead, let your employees bring Fido and Fluffy to work, and help them find ways to achieve calm in the office. Maybe it's by way of a designated nap room, or monthly in-office massages. The point being that once you're mind and body are at ease, professional success is sure to follow – and happiness, to boot.

Check out more from Inc.com:

7 Habits of Remarkably Happy People 15 Instant Productivity Hacks You Need to Know The Surprising Truth About Workplace Happiness Photo credit: Soloviova Liudmyla via Shutterstock.


About the guest blogger: Zoë Henry is an editorial assistant at Inc. and a graduate of Brown University. She also serves as managing editor of the independent literary journal, Atticus Review. Follow her on Twitter at @ZoeLaHenry.