It’s said that laughter is the best medicine. At consultancy Accompass Inc., a good belly laugh, among other activities, is earning employees extra points they can translate into dollars for their wellness accounts.

“We do focus on wellness with our clients, and we really wanted to ramp up what we do in-house,” says Judy Buckley, vice-president of benefits and health at Accompass. 

Read: Is there a place for humour at work? 

The first challenge was a physical competition tracking employees’ daily steps. They were able to align the program with their digital fitness trackers, such as a Fitbit. One employee started getting off the subway one stop early on his commute to work, and now has continued to do so even after the challenge came to an end, says Buckley.

The current challenge includes five daily activities that employees can use an online tool to track. The activities include: setting aside a moment to take 10 deep breaths, a 10-minute stretch break, a 10-minute walk, having at least one good belly laugh, and practising a random act of kindness, such as holding the door or grabbing a coffee for someone. The activities aim to reduce daily stress by providing moments for employees to pause and put smaller, daily problems into perspective, says Buckley.

Read: Why employers should promote workplace walking

In addition, employees can write down things they’re grateful for and post them around the office. “The little stresses we come into every day are just that; they’re small in comparison to all the big things that we’re grateful for,” says Buckley.

Each activity is worth 10 points, which add up to a possible daily total of 50. If employees complete every part of the challenge every day, they receive $100 to add to their wellness account.

At the start of the wellness program, Accompass conducted an online questionnaire, with 98 per cent of employees participating. Its aim was to ask,”What is troubling our population?” says Buckley. “How do we help people to get engaged to change some of the behaviour that the survey showed they were willing to change?”

It was important to identify areas where real process was possible, she notes. “Just because they have a poor eating habit, doesn’t mean they’re willing to change their eating habit.”

Read: A creative way to use wellness credits to boost productivity

Copyright © 2018 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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