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  • Writer's pictureFitPros Workplace Wellbeing

Workplace Wellbeing Challenges: Benefits & How to Set Them Up

Updated: Apr 23

Organize employee wellbeing challenges to help build healthy habits at work.



A woman holding a large fish
Time to check-into wellbeing challenges.

Workplace wellbeing challenges have surged in popularity. Weekly and monthly challenges are helping employees become happier, healthier, and more productive at work. 


Example workplace challenges include seeing who can achieve the most movement in a day, stick to an evening routine, drink more water, and even challenge their culinary skills by following a new healthy recipe every week.


For challenges to be successful, employers should provide rewards and incentives for participation. Gift cards, physical rewards and prizes are often provided.


The remainder of this blog post explains how to set up a workplace wellbeing challenge and what types of workplace challenges you might want to choose.


Key Takeaways


  • Organize wellbeing challenges to encourage healthy habits 

  • Challenges can improve productivity, happiness, and focus at work

  • Reward challenge participants for the best results




What is a Workplace Wellbeing Challenge?

Workplace wellbeing challenges are mostly health based, designed to get your employees active and engaged in healthy behaviors.


Challenges can last as little as 1 or 2 weeks or upwards of 1 month. Employees are rewarded for participating, either with an overall challenge winner, a winner picked at random, or rewards given to all who complete a set milestone (such as 300,000 steps in 1 month)




What are the Benefits?

Most employee wellbeing challenges are health and fitness based—and this is no coincidence. 


Regular physical activity, as reported by one study, reduces the risk factor of numerous chronic diseases, including:


  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Diabetes

  • Cancer

  • Hypertension

  • Obesity

  • Depression

  • Osteoporosis

  • Premature death


Despite the benefits of regular exercise, recent statistics found that only 21.2% of men and 19.1% of women in the U.S. do regular physical activity or participate in sports. Encouraging your workforce to get active can improve their health and focus and productivity at work.


But that’s not all! A healthier workforce helps reduce healthcare costs and often equals a happier place to work. It’s a win for you, and it’s an even bigger win for your employee’s health!


Research shows that aerobic exercise, in particular, can improve a person’s ability to shift focus and attention for at least 2 hours after exercising. That lunch-time walk or cycle to work has benefits that translate into the workplace. 


Exercise also improves mood and can even reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. There’s a lot to gain!


And with most employee wellbeing challenges focused around healthy habits and physical activity, you can reap the rewards of a healthier and more productive workforce. Your employees are likely to feel more engaged and focused, and you might just help them develop habits that they will stick with for life.




How to Set Up a Health Challenge at Work

Organizing weekly or monthly health challenges at work requires a few key aspects to be successful:


  • The challenge needs to be accessible

  • There should be a way to track progress

  • There should be an incentive/reward system


For best participation in your challenges, ask employees to brainstorm what challenges they’d like to take part in or are motivated to do. For example, most people know they should get more movement daily, but are often limited by their schedule. But if there’s an incentive—such as a gift card—then employees are more likely to take part and stick to the challenges you set.



Organize Accessible Challenges 

Challenges should be accessible so all employees can take part. That includes remote workers!


For instance, instead of a workplace step challenge, opt for a movement challenge. As a substitute for who can get the most sleep, challenge employees to set an evening routine and regular bedtime conducive of good sleep. This means employees with children can still participate!



Screenshot of live app.
An example challenge in the FitPros Wellbeing App—Spring Into Shape Step Challenge.



Gamify Challenges and Track Progress

When hosting workplace challenges, you need a way to track progress. A lot of companies keep an excel sheet where employees can enter their data. But this can quickly become clustered and confusing.


The FitPros Wellbeing App allows you and your workforce to easily join and manage challenges. That means no messy Excel sheets or arguments over who achieved what.


Moreover, the app also gamifies challenges, rewarding badges for participants who achieve certain milestones. We can also coordinate prizes for an extra incentive for those employees who need a little push to get started!


Whichever method you choose, ensure to track progress and create leaderboards to motivate your team. The more fun you make it, the more likely employees will stick to it!



Reward Employees for Challenge Participation

A key part of any workplace challenge is the reward system. Some people are more internally motivated—they find it easy to motivate themselves, e.g., they want to participate in the movement challenge because they want to be more active and know it’s good for them. That’s all the motivation they need!


On the other hand, some people are more externally motivated—they prefer a reward such as a cash prize or praise for completing and working towards a task.


Therefore, include milestone rewards such as badges, and longer-term rewards such as gift cards to increase the participation rates of your workplace challenges. 


And even if one employee is more internally motivated, the external rewards will help motivate them as well, especially on those days when they have less willpower or are less motivated.



Employee Wellbeing Challenges



If you’re struggling with what challenges to choose, don’t fret. Here are 8 workplace wellness challenges to get you started:


Movement Challenges

Compete to see who can achieve a set number of total steps or the most movement in a full month. We suggest tracking progress weekly and rewarding employees each week and at the end of the challenge, which is usually after 1 month.


You can also organize smaller movement challenges in the workday. For example, why not see who can get the most steps or movement at lunch? The winner gets a free (healthy) lunch. All participants also make progress toward the overarching movement challenge. 


Sleep challenge

Get your employees to set a bedtime and stick to it. Points are awarded to those who consistently stick to their evening routine. Depending on the tech you have available, you can monitor sleep using devices such as Oura rings, Whoop bands, and other sleep trackers.


You can make it as complex or as simple as you’d like. If you’re a tech company, perhaps proper sleep tracking would also be more interesting for data lovers! The sleep trackers could be the incentive for employees to participate in the challenge.

For even better and long-lasting results, make sure to educate your employees on proper sleep hygiene and habits. Examples include:


  • Waking up and going to sleep at the same time each day

  • Not looking at screens before sleep

  • Getting morning sunlight to set your sleep clock

  • Setting room temperature for optimal sleep


Mental Health Challenges

There are several challenges and habits you can encourage that are associated with good mental health. For example, you could host daily:


  • Meditation sessions

  • Yoga classes

  • Journalling or gratitude sessions


When done consistently, these can develop into habits that facilitate positive mental health. 


Join FitPros LIVE for weekly meditation and yoga sessions. In addition, our emotional and mental health talks are an excellent tool for educating workers on mental health.


Drink More Water 

Employees log their daily water intake with a goal of drinking a set number of ML a day. Aim for at least 2 liters of water a day and reward those who consistently drink the recommended amount for the entire month.


Research shows that mild dehydration can negatively affect energy levels, mood, and even brain performance and can even increase tension, anxiety, and fatigue.


Nutrition Challenges 

Nutrition workplace wellness challenges are a fun way to encourage healthy eating. Hands-on food and drink team building activities teach your workforce essential cooking skills. Challenges can encourage healthier food choices, trying new recipes, and more!


You might challenge employees to cook from home at least 4 times a week, for example. Reward points for each home cooked meal. For healthier eating, reward points for healthy snacks and lunch items. Bonus points for employees who share healthy recipes!


Cycling Challenges

To encourage more daily movement, show your support to the cyclists at work. You can host challenges to ride a set number of miles over the entire month. 


Participants upload a photo from their ride or log their activity using Strava or a similar platform and compete for prizes.


For UK businesses, there’s a cycle to work scheme. Employers sign up for workers to receive discounts on a new bike. The payments are deducted from their salary and can save upwards of 13% on a new bike. Employers recover the costs of the bike within 12 months. It’s an excellent way to encourage more employees to cycle to work!


Running Challenges 

For those without two wheels, run challenges are a great way to get the workforce active. Challenge your team to run a total number of miles in 30 days, or compete for total activity time.


Reward employees who achieve milestones. 


Wellbeing Mix Challenges

Host a mix of wellbeing sessions and challenge your employees to focus on being present and healthy in mind and body. Example sessions include meditation, yoga and gratitude practices.


Host a set number of sessions a week/month and reward participants who check-in a set number of times. Also provide a reward for those who complete the challenge.



LIVE Stream Check-in Challenge, FitPros Wellbeing App


Wellbeing Challenges for Remote Employees 

Most workplace wellness challenges can be done by both in-house and remote workers. Although it's less likely that remote workers can meet up to exercise, they can still take part.


Actually, hosting wellness challenges for remote employees is an excellent way to make them feel a part of the team. The challenges provide the same benefits and more. Weekly check-ins and leaderboards get all employees involved, and prizes and incentives help your remote workers feel a part of the team.




Join FitPros to Host Your Challenges

FitPros hosts new challenges every month for your employees, from step and movement challenges to mental health and sleep. You can track challenge progress on the app and compare results on the leaderboards. We also distribute prizes for you.





Looking for more? Contact a Wellbeing Manager to discuss your organizational wellbeing needs.


 


We provide workplace teams with mindful practices, personal and professional wellbeing growth, fitness instruction, and opportunities for social connection. We aim to inspire the highest potential in people at work, in life, every day, so they can show up healthy and at their best.



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