How to conduct a successful wellness challenge at work

What can you do to ensure that your wellness challenge really makes an impact? How do you get your employees to engage? And how do you get those who normally don’t exercise to move more?

What can you do to ensure that your wellness challenge really makes an impact? How do you get your employees to engage? And how do you get those who normally don’t exercise to move more?

Sometimes, the best workplace initiatives are hard to implement, even when everyone agrees it’s a great idea. This is often the case when it comes to exercise and movement so we’re sharing 7 tips to help you host a successful wellness challenge at work.

1. On everyone’s terms

Take a step back from the confines of a traditional step counting competition and move toward a broader, more dynamic health challenge with the ability to work for more people. The best corporate wellness challenge is one that works for all participants - regardless of the sport or activity. Workouts are more likely to occur when participants get to choose the way they move.

Lack of participation in your company health challenge can happen if employees feel like it’s unfair; that those who regularly exercise already have an advantage. That’s why a challenge that takes individual traits into account is the best wellness program for work. We suggest a fitness app that takes gender, age, and weight in consideration with plenty of activity options for the participants to choose from. The mission is a more inclusive and fair fitness initiative.

2. Provide opportunities to exercise

As the employer, you impact the challenge enormously by actually creating space for movement to take place. Give gym memberships, encourage lunch time strolls, walk instead of sit at coffee breaks, even hire a personal trainer to lead a class after work. What if you considered approving some exercise during the work day?

Leverage the power of the group and be sure to use terms like “more movement” rather than “hard workouts.” It’s important that the challenge is approachable for those who aren’t used to regularly exercising. When the bar is set too high, it can feel overwhelming to participate. Make it easy to join in but also give employees the freedom to adapt their workouts to what suits them best.

And of course, lead by example! Naturally, the leadership team should participate in your company challenge.

3. Measure and set goals

Setting measurable goals and communicating expectations is a great system to have on the job - a tactic that works for physical activity, too! Tasks that are measured, are then prioritized, and completed.

That’s why it’s important to set clear goals for your workplace wellness challenge and the team building activities that will accompany it. Have realistic expectations and don’t set goals that are going to be hard to achieve. Consider the length of challenge, target points or steps accumulated, and distance goals. An adequate time frame for a workplace fitness challenge is 4-8 weeks.

4. Up the value of your company challenge

Incorporate some fun prizes that everyone is eligible to win. At the end of the challenge, you want all the participants to feel good, no one should feel like a loser. Celebrate those who completed your company's health challenge, not the people with the most workouts. This may be easier said than done, but it’s important for participants to feel proud of themselves.

Attract the people who don’t regularly exercise by connecting your company challenge to a charity goal. Points accumulated during the challenge can be turned into money that participants pool together to donate to a philanthropic effort. Doing good for ourselves and others, gets more people to join.

5. Use the power of teamwork

We tend to value the whole above the individual so being a part of a team is a powerful motivator. Competing as a team of colleagues yields better results than individual challenges.

With group structure, you can count on the natural support and encouragement of team members to tackle activities large and small. By competing in groups that also represent individual traits, common goals are clear and easy to achieve - despite different strengths and weaknesses among team members. Or maybe thanks to them?!

A company fitness challenge can therefore be as much a team building exercise as a health challenge.

6. Inspire and provide knowledge

Get employees to talk about fitness, good habits, and how they’ll get started. Provide a platform for participants to follow along with the challenge and showcase their achievements with each other. This naturally feeds into more ideas for everyday exercise and can even lead to colleagues finding common interests.

Empower them with knowledge and give plenty of good examples, tips, and ideas. Invite a speaker or coach at the kickoff or half-way point of your challenge to get participants fired up. By the way, did you know that the paceUP! team offers wellness lectures?

Make sure the challenge always feels fun and rewarding!

7. Make it a part of your company culture

Make health, exercise, and wellness a part of your company culture by setting long-term goals for sustainable employee wellbeing. This continuous investment gives you a greater opportunity to provide ongoing support to employees and inspire those who don’t regularly exercise. If your staff is healthy, so is your company!

Your goal of a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle should be reflected in your company’s values, internal communication, and your business team building activities. Help an employee quit smoking, treat their neck pain, commit to regular physical activity, or provide them with the knowledge to achieve a balanced lifestyle.

While the company challenge is underway, make sure it stays top of mind. It should be your most important company goal at that time. Motivate by sending messages, tracking and sharing the standings, even keep water bottles on your desks.

A concept for successful health challenges

paceUP! wellness challenges were created using the mechanisms that motivate a life in motion. A challenge should act as a springboard into physical fitness and inject new energy into regular workouts.

Achieving goals together while respecting the individual is the driving force of our platform. We strive to bring an active lifestyle to the forefront of our work by adding value and setting achievable goals. Focusing on simplicity, accessibility, while weaving in a social element is paramount. We’ve gamified the fitness experience as a fun and inviting way to set more lives into motion.

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