Let’s be real: maintaining a healthy lifestyle can feel tough even at the best of times! But the pandemic has made eating well, moving consistently, and getting adequate sleep significantly more challenging for many of us. Healthy habits boost engagement, performance and productivity at work, but if your team has struggled to maintain them, they’re not alone.
In fact, our recent workplace survey revealed that 45% of respondents feel that managing their health has been their greatest personal struggle since the pandemic started. The good news? Your team might be one workplace wellness challenge away from getting back on track. Keep reading this article to learn ten simple ways everyone can start winning at wellness again in the office or remotely!
“It’s all the little things that make it count. That’s how you incorporate wellness into your day. As a team, you can start by encouraging each other through wellness challenges.”
– Quote from Sangeeta Prasad on Thriver Podcast Ep.19
A Quick Note on Wellness Challenge Inclusivity
We’ve packed this article with our best recommendations for in-office (or remote) fitness and other challenges, BUT at the end of the day, your team’s health needs are unique. Before you settle on any particular activity challenge, we suggest taking the time to gather your coworkers’ ideas.
Some may prefer high-energy activities; others may like slow, mindful movement. Some may not be ready to start exercising yet and would rather focus on developing better eating habits. If everyone’s interests and priorities vary, it may be best to run different challenges for smaller groups.
Try our polling tool to gather feedback from your team’s wellness challenge and go from there!
10 Wellness Challenge Ideas for the Workplace
5,000+ Steps Per Day Challenge
Walking is a seriously underrated exercise. Contrary to popular belief that the only way to develop fitness is through hours of intense weight lifting and circuit training, a few short walking sessions each week can do wonders for our health.
Try brainstorming some walking challenge ideas to get your team off to a small yet effective start. For instance, start a “5,000 Steps Per Day for 30 days” competition where consistent participants can win fabulous prizes (e.g. brand new workout gear from a favorite store).
You can use a board or excel file to create a template for this workplace fitness challenge, but apps will make things a lot easier if you have a large group. WalkerTracker and MoveSpring are two fun, easy-to-use platforms for creating company-wide steps and many other challenges (including a few more that we’ll share below)!
Stair Climbing Challenge
Nothing gets the lungs pumping like stair climbing. Another group fitness idea challenge is having everyone take the stairs instead of using the elevator for a week (regardless of what floor your office is on)! And since climbing stairs counts as steps, feel free to combine this with the previous company fitness challenge suggested!
Water Drinking Challenge
Dehydration can cause issues with digestion, appetite control, dry skin, and even infections. But unfortunately, many of us are addicted to tea, coffee and other beverages, so it’s often difficult to discipline ourselves to drink enough water during the day. If your coworkers have the same issue, try creating an employee wellness challenge to support a habit change in this area.
How much water should they drink? Health experts recommend varying amounts, often from two litres to a gallon per day. Keep in mind that the proper water intake for an adult depends on several factors, so it may be best to start with small improvements (e.g. drinking two bottles per day or replacing one sugary beverage with some water).
Bonus tip: present your team with high-quality branded water bottles to create a sense of unity and belonging, AND encourage them to hydrate before they caffeinate!
Wellness isn’t just about being physically fit; it’s also vital to embrace activities that boost mental health. Meditation is a fantastic way to slow down, regain a sense of peace and improve overall cognitive performance.
Looking to start a low energy yet highly effective wellness competition? Even just a few minutes of meditation per day will significantly improve your colleagues’ ability to concentrate and help them feel more grounded (especially during stressful times).
To learn some basic techniques for achieving maximum results, we recommend signing up your team for Meditation 101. After that, challenge everyone to meditate every day for 21 days and notice how their peace of mind improves.
Healthy Eating Challenge
This next corporate wellness challenge suggestion is crucial because we can’t talk about health without discussing nutrition. You know the saying, “You can’t out-train a bad diet?” It’s true! Our bodies (and minds) need proper nutrition to perform optimally. Yet, in North America, many of us struggle to maintain a balanced diet despite the vast abundance of food choices available in most areas.
Encourage your team to improve their eating habits for the next several weeks. For instance, everyone can commit to cooking one or two healthy meals at home each week instead of ordering junk food.
Better yet, empower them with tools and techniques to make cooking exciting and rewarding! You can do so by registering your team for a healthy cooking masterclass where they will learn how to make nutritious, tasty meals from the comfort of their homes.
Detoxing allows us to remove impurities from our bodies, often leading to better energy levels, internal organ performance and mental wellness. Our bodies are well-equipped to do this naturally, but we recommend creating an employee wellness challenge to help them develop habits that support the detoxification process.
Note that there are several myths around this process, so first, it may be a good idea to register to learn how to detox from experts who will share how to make mindful lifestyle choices.
Daily Stretching Challenge
Our days often involve sitting down for many hours at a time, which not only negatively impacts our posture but can also cause other health concerns. A simple way to change this? Stretching! Stretching is a simple, effective technique for reducing stress, improving flexibility, and increasing blood flow.
For the next 30 days, challenge your coworkers to stretch for a few minutes once an hour or so. They’ll feel better and notice a spike in their concentration levels!
Healthy Sleep Challenge
Believe it or not, getting the right amount of sleep is a worthy health goal to set. Lack of proper rest drains brain power, making it hard to concentrate and make effective decisions. It can also cause other mental health challenges like depression and physical ailments like heart disease.
Encourage your team to fight sleep deprivation by first teaching them how to sleep properly and then challenging them to start getting enough hours each night. You can select a sleep tracking app to make this challenge more manageable and insightful.
What’s one of the top reasons people struggle to stay fit? A lack of time. Between work and personal responsibilities, it’s easy to let exercising fall by the wayside. A fitness challenge is a perfect way to get everyone on the right track. You can support your employees by designating a group exercise session a few times a week during work hours. That will remove the pressure of finding time outside of work to move.
If you’re looking for a great starter class that suits all fitness levels, sign your team up for this HIIT Fitness Class!
“You’re fostering that sense of community at the workplace. It’s almost like an internal support group – where you are encouraging each other to connect, to motivate and to inspire.”
– Quote from Sangeeta Prasad on Thriver Podcast Ep.19
Self-care has become a popular buzz term, but that doesn’t overrule its importance. Self-care is simply a set of specific actions for promoting mental, physical and emotional well-being. This can include taking a relaxing bath at the end of a long day with candles, a good book, and soothing music. It can also involve journaling, staying away from social media, or cuddling with a beloved pet.
The last wellness challenge for your employees can simply include taking an hour each evening to do something that relaxes and recharges their souls – whatever that looks like for each person.
7 Wellness Challenge Prize Ideas
What’s a wellness challenge or competition without a little incentive? We touched on a few ideas earlier, but here are seven more:
- Care packages with healthy snacks
- Paid subscriptions for meal delivery services
- Gift cards to high-quality athletic stores
- Paid gym or fitness class memberships
- Kitchen equipment and cookware to encourage healthy cooking
- Cool sports gear and equipment (like mountain bikes or hockey sticks)
- Spa treatments for self-care and relaxation
The idea is just to reward your coworkers with something practical, health-related and fun to motivate them to meet (or exceed) your chosen challenge requirements!
Invest in Your Team’s Health and Reap the Rewards
Remember, your most valuable resource is your human capital. While wellness habits are a personal choice, helping your employees make healthier choices will benefit your organization in the long run. And it doesn’t have to be that complicated – simply start a wellness challenge and watch everyone’s habits improve over time!