Employees are ready to engage in workplace wellness initiatives. But they need a range of engagement options that goes beyond the one-size-fits-all approach often taken by wellness plans. And they are far more likely to try a new activity and continue with it if they can sample it for free.

This message came through loud and clear in a survey by Corporate Wellness 365, which offers incentive products and partnerships designed to foster workplace wellness.

“The results of this new survey provide fresh evidence that employers need to offer a broader range of fitness/wellness activities,” said Claudia Rimerman, senior vice president of Corporate Wellness 365. “And the data clearly shows that when people try a variety of wellness activities, the vast majority reports they’re motivated to try more.”

The company reviewed input from more than 600 office-based workers, some who had access to wellness plans and some who did not.

One overarching result: 90 percent of employees exposed to a new fitness/wellness activity tried it again and a third stuck with it regularly. And these employees were far more open to trying other fitness related activities or classes. Further, if the activity is offered at no cost to the employee, they are more likely to try it and continue with it.

The new activities led to an overall better physical feeling in 85 percent of those engaged in them, while 72 percent said it made them feel mentally healthier and less stressed. More than a third credited the new activity with increasing both their happiness and productivity at work.

On the downside, respondents said they were often disappointed with their workplace wellness program because activities weren’t free to them, so they weren’t incentivized to try new activities to promote their health and relieve stress.

“Employees in corporate wellness programs were only modestly more likely (64 percent) to have ever been gifted/given free fitness or wellness activities than employees in companies without one (56 percent),” the study said.

Does offering a free activity work? You bet, at least according to this survey.

“Ninety-one percent of employees that have received a gift of a fitness/wellness activity tried the activity again, with 27 percent reporting they now do it on a consistent basis,” the study found. “And these numbers are relatively consistent for employees with or without a corporate wellness program.”