How to build a wellness culture at work (without a wellness budget)

I didn’t set an alarm this morning.

It’s been a busy week of work and I decided to take some time back for myself, because I can.

I’m lucky enough to work for a company that allows me that flexibility. Not to mention we’re in the middle of a company-wide sleep challenge this week. Taking a leaf out of neuroscientist, Matthew Walker’s famous work (Why We Sleep), we’re all trying to get a minimum of 7–9 hours sleep per night.

Why? Because for the past couple of months, we’ve made wellness a priority at Amiqus.

I’ve been a wellness and self-development nerd for as long as I can remember. For a long time, I saw it as an entirely selfish past time (without any guilt at all). But as time has gone on, I’ve found joy in sharing what I’ve learned, in the hope that it will help those around me in some small way. When I started working for Amiqus a few months back, I saw an opportunity and volunteered to take the reins on wellness.

As a values-driven company with an open-minded team, Amiqus is the perfect breeding ground for a wellness culture. There was already a lot of good work being done in this area, including yoga and mindfulness classes, but definitely room for more consistency.

The challenge

We’re a lean team of 30+ with limited time and at least 50% based remotely across the UK and EU. We also don’t have a budget for wellness.

I’m sharing this because I think time, money and accessibility are challenges that are relevant to almost all businesses. I also think that what we have implemented is achievable by everyone.

So, here’s what we’ve done so far:

Wellness Slack channel

We use Slack heavily as our company communication tool and this provided me with a perfect space for our wellness conversations to live. But what if your company doesn’t use Slack? Well, how about a wellness WhatsApp group or a weekly internal email?

Wellness Wednesdays

Every Wednesday at 1pm UK time, we host a 20-minute, company-wide wellness exercise or discussion on Zoom. It was important that these sessions could be attended by anyone, regardless of if they were physically in the room or not. So far we’ve covered everything from meditation to gentle desk yoga and progressive muscle relaxation to a discussion around the importance of sleep.

I spend no more than 30 minutes each week researching our wellness topic and have no shortage of ideas thanks to the input I’ve had from the team in our Slack channel. We also record the sessions and share them with the rest of the team for anyone that was unable to make it. As a result, we now have a company wellness library that people can come back to whenever they please.


Our wellness library starting to take shape

Monthly wellness challenge

Finally, we introduced a monthly wellness challenge. Last month, we were all challenged to drink 6 glasses of water per day during working hours. A little bit of competitive spirit went a long way in keeping the team hydrated. We tracked our progress in a very simple (and free) Google Sheet. There was no need for us to implement any fancy technology or purchase water bottles for the entire team.

We change up the challenge each month and as I mentioned, we are currently all focusing on getting 7–9 hours of sleep. I am personally feeling very well rested.

I’m so proud to work with people that have embraced this wholeheartedly and used it to make a positive impact in their lives:

I’m really enjoying our wellness sessions and the exercises we’re learning. I’m not normally one to switch off from work very easily so it’s great that Amiqus is actually helping me to do this. It’s making me think a lot more about taking time to make sure that I’m looking after myself. The more I do this, the more productive I feel. Plus, all of the exercises are so simple and short , so of course I have time for that.

Lucie Scrimgeour, Account Manager

Whilst the culture at Amiqus is certainly unique, I know for a fact that the desire to feel better at work is pretty universal. Is there anything in this article that you could implement in your place of work? I hope it inspires some change, however small.

Happy World Mental Health Day, everyone.