(10) Workplace Wellness Challenge Ideas That Work

Workplace Wellness Challenge Ideas

Companies could all be better for focusing on their people’s personal health and wellness. When employees are healthy, not only do they feel better, but they’re also more productive and more likely to take fewer sick days. A healthy workforce leads to a healthy business.

Workplace wellness challenges are a great way to encourage employees to live a healthier life. If your employee wellness program needs more engagement, this is a great way to build it. The idea is to make wellness challenges fun and rewarding, this will help members stick to their health and wellness goals. 

Challenges can take many forms depending on which area of health your team members are most committed to improving. While a lot of employers will limit their challenges to just health, we recommend focusing on mental and financial health too. 

We’ve compiled a list of 10 workplace wellness challenge ideas to get you started. Check them out below.

1. Walk Or Bike To Work

This is a great challenge for employers within the city. You can invite your team members to leave their vehicle at home to take up walking or biking. Ask employees to walk or bike one day per week for a full month. 

Walking and biking are great for your health, plus it’s great for the environment, not to mention saving the gas money. For this specific challenge, you can reward team members by giving every employee who walks or bikes a small incentive for each day they walk or bike to work. When employees complete the 30 day challenge, give a gift card to an athletic outfitter.

2. Meditation

Mental wellness is an important part of an employee’s overall health and meditation is a great way to improve overall wellness. There’s a number of different ways employers can get involved, such as meditation classes, quiet rooms, yoga passes, or free memberships to meditation centres in their city. 

Try challenging employees to incorporate meditation into their healthy lifestyle by offering lunchtime yoga classes. There are also a variety of meditation apps that can help team members get started in their own free time. Check out apps like Headspace and Calm to get started.

3. Take It To The Stairs

While this may not be for every employer, for those of you that have sets of stairs at work, invite your employees to take the stairs. A good 30 day challenge would be a great start. You can make it fun by having everyone track how many stairs they’re climbing. You can place a chart at the top of the stairs where team members can put a checkmark next to their name for every day they take the stairs. For employees who use the stairs every day, you can reward them with a healthy lunch.

4. Workout Challenge

Exercise plays a key role in any healthy lifestyle. However, our schedules are busy and it can be tough to find the time needed to exercise. With work, bills, kids, hobbies and everything in between, it can be a challenge to find time to run to the gym. Employers have the opportunity to help give your employees the time they need to get healthy! 

There’s a bunch of fun ways to make it happen. 

  • Fitness Passes
  • Creating Workouts For Work
  • Trip To The Local Track
  • Workout Equipment At Work
  • Personal Trainer At Work
  • Health Coach At Work 

This is a great time to get feedback from your employees. You’ll have the opportunity to ask employees what their health goals are, where they feel they need the most help, you can ask about cardiovascular health, flexibility, strength training, or overall wellness. 

If you invite them to choose their own goals and rewards, the challenge will be personal to them and you’re likely to get more participation. To help motivate one another, you can assign buddies, allowing everyone to team up in pairs of twos.

5. Pack Your Lunch To Work

When it comes to eating out, it’s more expensive than making meals at home, plus it can be worse for your health. Most people are aware of how bad fast food is. However, restaurants often use a lot of salt and sugar when cooking, it can be a challenge to find something healthy. 

Rather than eating out, you should try challenge team members to pack their own lunches. Give them the opportunity to choose the number of purchased meals they’d like to replace with homemade ones, but a realistic suggestion is four days per week. That leaves one lunch open for “cheat days” or lunch meetings.

For a further incentive, reward employees who stick to their healthy eating goals with a gift card at the local organic grocer.

6. The 10K Challenge

The 10K Challenge is a great way to start your employee wellness challenges. Most experts recommend at least 150 minutes of exercise per week. This adds up to around 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you’re familiar with Fitbit, they start everyone off with a 10,000-step goal. Why? Well, it adds up to about five miles each day, which includes about 30 minutes of daily exercise. 

While some people may think walking doesn’t have much health benefits, it truly does. In fact, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that 30 minutes of walking each day can cut stroke your risk by a minimum of 20 percent.

If you’re going to use pedometers, they’re fairly affordable to buy. You can give one to each employee and reward those who surpass the 10,000 steps per day for a full month. You can give a main reward to the employee that takes the most steps.

7. Water, Water, Water

Most people are aware that water is important, but a lot of employees find it difficult to hydrate at work. As an employer, you can help your employees by making sure they have access to clean water in the office, work stations and break rooms. 

You can also have water challenges. This is a great way to get your employees engaged, invite them to track how much water they’re drinking each day. For those who are drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, you can have an award, such as a gift card, hour of paid time or an additional break.

8. Get Involved In Sports

There’s a wide range of sports you can get your team members involved in, it can be fun, builds chemistry among your team and it’s great for exercise. 

  • Football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Golf
  • Badminton
  • Swimming
  • Track

Your company’s wellness challenge could be to encourage employees to create sports teams or join existing ones. Your business could even “sponsor” the teams by getting them jerseys with your logo on them.

Sports are not only a fantastic way to get exercise, but they are also a great opportunity for cross-departmental communication and relationship-building.

9. A Hobby Is A Great Idea

Most people are aware that “stress’ is not good for you. Any activities that will reduce your stress is going to benefit your wellbeing. In a great article written at Psychology Today, they discuss how important hobbies are to reducing stress. Not only can they reduce stress, they can foster social connection and can help you become more efficient at managing time. 

Even when a wellness challenge doesn’t involve diet and exercise, encouraging employees to cultivate new hobbies could have a big positive effect on their wellness. We love the fact that this wellness challenge idea focuses on mental health.

Try asking your employees to challenge themselves to start a hobby they’ve always thought about. There’s many things that can be considered a hobby; such as collecting coins, painting, sports cards, collectibles, sports, art, sewing or writing. 

You can incentivize them by helping to subsidize the cost, or connecting them with other people who work in your organization who might have a similar hobby and getting them to challenge each other.

10. Stop Smoking

Most men and women are aware that smoking is dangerous to your health. In fact, it’s one of the most addictive substances on Earth. Smoking is a tough habit to kick, you likely have employees right this minute that would love to quit. 

In many cases, people needed help to quit smoking and your challenge may just be what your team members need to quit smoking for good. We recommend rewarding employees daily as most of them won’t be able to quit cold turkey. However, if they can go a full day without smoking, that deserves a reward. Even if employees are just not smoking at work, that takes a lot of effort and it’s going to benefit their wellbeing.

Another great idea would be to reward employees who make it to 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and a full year without smoking with increasingly large rewards. For this challenge, make sure they have the resources they need and even invite them to bring their family members in on the challenge. For example, if someone’s spouse smokes, ask them to share in the challenge as well. We’re more likely to shake bad habits if we eliminate the impulses from our surroundings.

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