To improve employee health and nutrition habits, HelloFresh Canada is taking staff out of the kitchen and into an online classroom — and then back into the kitchen.

Employees of the Toronto-based meal-kit company can take interactive health and wellness courses through an online wellness portal to accumulate credits towards purchasing wellness rewards.

The courses include modules on improving sleep, eating better, managing stress and mental health. “There are a lot of key topics everybody struggles with in this day and age,” says Denisha Gunathas, HelloFresh’s human resources business partner.

Read: Five steps to promoting nutrition in the workplace

The courses span multiple days, with some going as long as a month, she says. Employees log on for 10 to 15 minutes to complete a daily activity and are assigned a task for the next day. For the sleep improvement course, for example, participants might be asked to put their phone away an hour before bed.

When participants finish a course, they receive credits toward rewards, with more credits awarded for longer courses. Rewards are related to healthy lifestyles and include a weighted blanket set, herbal teas, books on relaxation, aromatherapy diffusers and recipe books.

So far, the courses have seen high participation rates. The more popular ones — about stress management, mental health and sleep management — have helped HelloFresh tailor its in-house speaker sessions on topical wellness issues. The speakers often build on what employees learned in the courses.

Read: Healthy eating programs may affect employer health costs

“We have speakers come in and talk about certain topics every couple of months just to keep it fresh and to make sure everybody’s on the same page and to show we really do care about our well-being,” she says. “Being in a startup, sometimes it’s not as easy as working for a nine-to-five, so focusing on well-being is definitely part of our core values.”

HelloFresh employees also receive discount gym memberships and personal training through the wellness program. And the company stocks its office with healthy snack and meal options, locally sourced foods and coffee machines with decaffeinated coffee and herbal teas. Employees also receive a 75 per cent discount on its meal kits.

Read: Fidelity Canada wins award for holistic health program

“We are, of course, all about food. Everybody here loves to eat and loves to eat good food,” says Gunathas. “The well-being of our employees is a top priority. It’s so important for us to make sure our staff can access snacks and balanced meals throughout the work day.”

Many employers are responding to the demand for healthy options in the workplace. In late October, Fresh n’ Lean, an American organic ready-to-eat meals company, launched a smart fridge program for subsidized corporate wellness plans. The employees of participating companies with a fridge onsite would have access to ready-to-eat organic lunch options, including meals with fresh fish and steak, for less than US$10.

The fridges use smart tablets for quick orders and Fresh n’ Lean has them re-stocked weekly.

“Most people who work in an office gravitate toward a lunch that’s easy and nearby,” said Thomas Asseo, co-chief executive officer of Fresh n’ Lean, in a press release. “Providing affordable, accessible, wholesome meal options is one of the best things you can do for your employees.”

Read: Manulife launches wellness app for Canadian group benefits plan members

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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