As a new employee at the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans, one of the first things I noticed was a big, beautiful yard in front of my new building (blanketed with snow, of course, because we’re in Wisconsin). When I commented on the yard, the response back was a casual, “Oh, yeah, that’s where we hold our bocce ball league in the summer!”

Bocce ball league? What is this magical place? The International Foundation, like many other organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada, has embraced nontraditional wellness initiatives to provide a more comprehensive investment in employee well-being.

In a recent Workplace Wellness Trends survey, the International Foundation found that more unusual wellness offerings are emerging, like discounted or free wearable tracking devices, themed dress-up days, tuition reimbursement, financial education, birthday celebrations and, you guessed it, activities like bocce ball leagues.

Survey data shows that traditional initiatives that most people think of when they hear “wellness program” are still very popular:


Now for the emerging initiatives:

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From the survey results, it’s clear that organizations are starting to take a greater interest in the social and mental well-being of their employees, and it’s giving them a competitive edge. The survey reveals that wellness efforts from organizations are leading to increased engagement, reduced absenteeism and even positive effects on an organization’s overall bottom line.

In other news, I have from now until May to learn what “throw the jack into a prescribed zone” means.

Download complete results of the Workplace Wellness Trends survey.

Anne Patterson

Communications Associate at the International Foundation

Favorite Foundation service/product: The innovative member survey efforts and results from the research team.

Benefits related topics that interest her most: Healthcare (especially the inner workings of the Affordable Care Act), non-traditional wellness initiatives, employee benefit communication

Personal Insight: It’s all about balance with Anne. She loves to run and enjoys a good culinary adventure. She’ll jump at the chance to travel or to spend fun times with family and friends, but she’ll also take time to catch her breath with an occasional Netflix binge or diving into a classic novel.

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