When you consider that many of us spend the majority of our time in an office or behind a desk every day, it’s no wonder that employers are beginning to realize the importance of implementing health and wellness challenges. Successful businesses understand that happy, healthy employees can positively impact the company’s bottom line through things like fewer sick days, increased focus and productivity, and a more positive outlook.
Studies show that retention is greater in companies where employees feel like they are valued as a people rather than just cogs in a wheel, not to mention that working together on health and wellness challenges can foster a feeling of community and camaraderie among co-workers.
Depending on the size of your company or number of employees involved, health and wellness challenges can be as simple as tracking steps, or as big as putting a team together to compete in a local 5K or other physical challenge. The important thing to remember is that not everyone is at the same fitness level so make sure your challenges are set up so that everyone can participate and feel successful.
Offer incentives at various milestones throughout the challenge, and acknowledge things like most improved, most consistent, or most enthusiastic, as well as just overall winners. And remember, health and wellness extends to more than just the physical. Challenges to unplug for 10 minutes per day can also be extremely effective in overall employee health.
Below are a few ideas for challenges that will engage employees in a way that is both fun for them, and functional for your company as a whole.
Take A Walk
Although it may not be the most glamorous, tracking steps is by far the easiest challenge to implement. You can set a goal for total steps by a specific date or create a distance challenge by tracking total miles over a designated period of time.
Step Up Your Game
If you work in a multi-level building, try a stair challenge. You can award points for every time an employee takes the stairs instead of the elevator, or you can track the total number of flights walked by an employee over a week or month.
Here’s To Hydration
Sluggishness, foggy brains, fatigue, poor digestion and many other ailments can be attributed to dehydration. A water challenge can be a fun way to make sure employees are staying hydrated, while also encouraging fewer trips to the vending machine for a sugary soda. Set a goal of total ounces consumed by department, individual, or team over a month and watch as your employees develop a new healthy habit.
Unplug To Recharge
It can be hard to unplug in a fast-paced office environment, but creating a “tech time out” challenge can work wonders in helping employees to take a minute to breathe, regroup, and still their brains so that they can be more effective in the long run. Challenge employees to turn off devices for 5-10 minutes at least twice a day and offer points per every minute they unplug. Bonus points for stepping outside for some fresh air during the time out.
Keep a basket of healthy snacks including fruits, raw veggies, protein bars, yogurts and more on hand in the break room. Award points for each time an employee bypasses the vending machine and snacks smarter.