What Is a Company Wellness Challenge? (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 12, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you want to improve employee morale and productivity, implementing a challenge to improve your wellness may be a good idea. These challenges can also encourage teamwork, decrease turnover rates, and reduce the number of sick days employees take. Learning more about the different challenges available to improve workplace wellness can help you choose one that suits your environment and goals. In this article, we explain what a wellness challenge is, offer ideas for challenges you can implement, explain how to plan these challenges, and offer tips to help make them more successful.

What is a wellness challenge?

A wellness challenge is a short-term contest or team activity designed to incentivize employees to change their behaviour and improve overall company morale. Companies give employees the opportunity to support one another as they pursue their wellness goals. Employees may complete these challenges independently, as part of a team, or even competitively between departments. There's generally a reward at the end for the winner to motivate everyone to participate.

Related: 8 Important Wellness Activities to Include at the Workplace

Challenge ideas for your workplace

There's a wide variety of challenging wellness ideas you can implement right away in your workplace. Here are a few ideas of specific challenges you can try in your workplace:

Smoking cessation challenge

If members of your team seem interested in quitting smoking, creating a smoking cessation challenge may be a good idea. Smoking can be a difficult habit to break, so turning it into a challenge where colleagues can support one another may incentivize them to complete the act. You can reward employees who reach certain milestones, such as one month without smoking.

Related: 7 Types of Goals to Help You Succeed (With Examples)

Meditation challenge

Regular meditation has plenty of health benefits, so encouraging employees to meditate when possible may help them feel better physically and mentally. You may decide to meditate together, such as after a meeting, or offer a designated time when everyone can meditate in their own workspace. If possible, you can even offer meditation classes at work or in a studio to employees who want to participate. This can help teach them skills they can use to minimize stress, improve their mood, and increase productivity.

Related: What Is a Corporate Wellness Program? (With Examples and Tips)

Sleep challenge

Many adults don't get enough sleep, as they're busy with their professional and personal lives. Employees who lack sleep may not be able to produce the same high-quality work or may struggle with their productivity. Encourage your team to get better sleep by offering videos, articles, or seminars about improving sleep quality. Consider rewarding employees who participate in furthering their knowledge.

Related: What to Do if You're Always Tired at Work (With Tips)

Water challenge

Encourage your employees to hydrate properly by hosting a water-drinking challenge. Invite them to track their water consumption each day and reward those who meet or exceed the recommended amount of water per day. Give employees who agree to take part in the challenge a water bottle so they can easily track their water intake. Reward the individual or team who consumes the most during the challenge.

Sustainability challenge

If the organization you work for values sustainability, creating a challenge that promotes sustainability may be a good idea. Meet with your team and brainstorm sustainable acts they can complete, such as walking to work instead of driving or bringing their own water bottle instead of buying a plastic one. Then, challenge them to complete at least one sustainable act a day.

You can reward the employee who completes the most sustainable acts by the end of the time period you select, such as a week or month. Host another meeting at the end of the challenge to discuss what sustainable acts each employee plans to continue to improve their life and the world.

Social challenge

If your team works independently, they may be lacking social contact at work. This is especially true for teams who work remotely, as they don't see their colleagues in person. To counteract this, implement a social challenge that encourages your team members to get to know each other better and socialize more in a professional setting.

One example of a social challenge is pairing two employees who don't normally interact, such as two people from separate departments, to work together and complete an action. You may ask partners to participate in a quiz, scavenger hunt, or any other activity that encourages them to work together. This can improve teamwork, help employees socialize, and increase employee satisfaction.

Positivity challenge

To help your employees be more optimistic at work, you may implement a positivity challenge. To do this, ask participants to write something they're grateful for each day. It can be anything they want, such as being grateful there was no line at the coffee shop that morning or celebrating the end of a challenging project. Tell employees they can share their gratitude list with a colleague or keep it private. After 30 days, meet with participants and reward those who listed at least one aspect they're grateful for each day.

10,000 steps challenge

Walking 10,000 steps each day adds up to about eight kilometres for most people. Walking more can improve your health and reduce the risk of diseases like strokes or heart attacks. Pedometers are inexpensive to acquire. Give one to each employee who agrees to take part and reward everyone who walks a minimum of 10,000 steps a day for one month. You can even divide employees into teams and award a grand prize to the team who walks the most steps in the month.

Related: Jobs for Health and Wellness Professionals (With Duties)

How to implement a wellness challenge

The most important part of any challenge is to get as many employees as you can to participate. Not only does it make the challenge more fun, but it can also better improve the morale of the company as a whole. Here are the steps you can use to encourage the greatest participation:

1. Let employees choose the challenge

Generate a list of company challenges you believe may benefit employees and improve their wellness. Once you have approval for them, give the approved list to employees and let them decide which ones they're most interested in trying. You can even have the employees rank them and start with the challenge that garnered the most interest.

Related: 9 Steps to Implementing Employee Wellness Programs

2. Promote the challenge regularly

Start promoting your chosen challenge to employees well before the start date to give them plenty of time to sign up. You can implement a deadline so that you have additional time to order materials like water bottles or pedometers, depending on the challenge. Make it clear what the point system is, how you plan to track these points, what the reward is, and how employees can participate. Use signage throughout the workplace or e-mails to remind employees about the challenge. Ask managers to talk about it during meetings to encourage their teams to participate.

3. Make it easy to participate

Make it as easy as possible for employees to take part. You might use wellness tracking software that automatically uploads activity for the employee. Whichever method you choose to track progress, know that the easier you make it for employees to verify their participation, the more likely they may be to take part.

Related: What Is Inclusive Leadership? (With Definition and Tips)

Tips for wellness challenges

Here are some tips you can use to improve your challenges and make them more effective for employees:

  • Remind employees that the challenge is meant to be fun. The point of a wellness program is to make improving employees' health or productivity fun for everyone. Look for ways to make the challenges more fun and inclusive for everyone to participate.

  • Invite employees to suggest challenges. Find out what your employees' personal wellness goals are and encourage them to suggest challenges you can try together as a company. Helping to create the challenges may make employees more likely to participate.

  • Check resources before starting. Before starting any challenge, check in with employees to ensure they have all the tools and resources to participate. If they don't and you start the challenge, they may not want to join at a later time than everyone else.

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