Workplace wellness challenges are a great way to keep your employees fit and also to cultivate their loyalty towards your company. Wellness programs that offer perks and benefits are seen to be positive reinforcements that not only help the employee to stay healthy but also develop a lot of positivity among the workforce. Employee wellness challenges are a fun way to keep your workers fit. It is also a good way to build interpersonal relationships between employees. Take a look at this article to know more about the best employee wellness challenges for 2020 and how they can work to your benefit.

1. Walking challenges

As we all know, walking is a great way to stay fit. You could incorporate certain walking challenges. These could happen at a set time, such as over the weekends, or on a daily basis. You can set challenges to make the experience all the more exciting for your employees. For instance, begin with asking them to walk between the buildings or departments at work. The next step would be to encourage them to walk to work.

Expert tip – Provide your employees with fitness bands so that their steps can be recorded. Give rewards to the people who walk the most in a day, a week or a month.

2. Cycling challenges

Cycling is another great way to stay fit. Encourage your employees to use their bicycles to commute to work, instead of driving. This would be a great way to increase their fitness levels and would also help lower the air pollution levels. Offer perks to those who cycle for the most number of hours in a week.

Expert tip – Invest in some bicycles and keep them in your office compound. Tell your employees they are free to use them to commute to and fro work and also to commute to the different departments/branches of the organisation.

3. Park-faraway-challenge

For those who insist on driving to work, encourage them to park a bit far away from the office building. Ask them to walk to and from their car to the office every day. This will be a good way to get some basic exercise done, even when they are largely sedentary.

Expert tip – If it is possible, shift the parking area a bit further away from where it is now. If your employees use a public parking space, give rewards to those who park at a lot that’s some distance away.

4. Staircase challenges

Among the easiest employee wellness challenges is the staircase challenge. Ask your employees to simply take the stairs and not the elevator. Discourage or limit the use of the elevator. Of course, this can only work if your office is located on a lower floor. It would not work if you are placed on the 25th floor of a building!

Expert tip – Make this a monthly challenge, wherein the employees who successfully manage to take the stairs each day for an entire month get a handy perk at the end of it. Keep a chart at the top of the staircase where the employees can sign as they finish their daily targets.

5. Nutritional challenges

Healthy living doesn’t just consist of physical challenges – it comprises diet modifications as well. Introduce a nutritional challenge in your office. Encourage your employees to pack their lunches from home to avoid ordering food at lunchtime. Then, if you have a cafeteria, modify the menu and include only healthy food options. The person who orders the minimum amount of outside food by consuming the home/office cafeteria food gets rewarded at the end of the month.

Expert tip – Hire a proper chef who can curate a good menu and offer delicious food at the cafeteria. Unless the food is exciting and tasty, the challenge will fail from your end.

6. Don’t-skip-breakfast challenge

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Encourage your employees to have a hearty breakfast before coming to work. Set up a healthy breakfast bar at the office to encourage them to grab a meal if they didn’t do so at home.

Expert tip – Stock up a fridge with healthy juices, fresh fruits, energy bars, etc that anyone in the office can grab on the go.

7. Hydration challenge

Drinking water is a health necessity that most people ignore. It is also one of the easiest to follow. Encourage your employees to stay hydrated. Offer perks to the department that empties the contents of their water cooler the quickest each day. Staying hydrated has many advantages and this is one of the most basic employees wellness challenges that you must look to introduce.

Expert tip – Offer clean and hygienic drinking water to the employees. Install large water coolers or dispensers in every department.

8. Workout challenges

Working out at a gym or a fitness class is inarguably one of the best and most effective employee wellness challenges. However, due to various reasons, many people shy away from undertaking this challenge. Make it exciting and more approachable for your employees by installing a small gym in the office. If space is a constraint, tie-up with a professional gym, Zumba class, etc. Offer discount vouchers to your employees to encourage them to take up the challenge.

Expert tip – Announce prizes for the “biggest loser” of the month, to honour the employee who lost the most amount of weight by undertaking the workout challenge.

9. Meditation challenges

Mental health and wellness are just as important as physical wellness. Organise meditation challenges to encourage your employees to relax and become stress-free. This will increase their productivity and will keep them happy as well.

Expert tip – Organise Yoga classes in the office. This will be a good way for the employees to meditate.

10. Sporting challenges

Playing a sport can be a great way to stay fit. It is also an excellent team-building method. Begin organising sporting events on weekends. Sports such as badminton, soccer, cricket and tennis can be played by the employees. Divide them into teams, and have them play against one another.

Expert tip – Most cities have local parks and clubs that you can hire to organise the intra-office tournaments in. Make proper arrangements and plan an organisational sporting event every once in a while.

11. Hobby challenges

This is another challenge that can work wonders for the mental wellness of your employees. Ask your employees to pursue hobbies such as baking or painting that they may have wanted to pursue long. A hobby can relax the mind to a great extent and increase the mental alertness levels of the employee as well.

Expert tip – Organise a fun-fate in the office on a weekend. Have stalls where your employees can showcase and sell their hobby-based items such as artwork or bakes.

12. ‘Quit smoking’ challenge

This is one of the most obvious employee wellness challenges. Encourage your employees to quit or reduce their habit of smoking. Smoking is bad in all ways. It affects physical wellness levels. Challenge your employees to quit the habit by offering increasing rewards on a time-basis. An employee will receive a reward if he/she completes an entire smoke-free month. A larger reward will be given at the end of the third smoke-free year and an even larger one at the end of a six-month period.

Expert tip – Make sure the employee has enough support at home. If the spouse smokes too, increase the volume of the reward when both spouses abstain from smoking together.

13. Marathon challenges

Organize small marathons or walkathons for your employees and their family members on weekends or public holidays. Keep the distance short so that it is not a tedious or intimidating event for your employees to consider participating in. Running for two or three kilometers, and preparing for it beforehand, can be an excellent employee wellness challenge.

Expert tip – Make the marathon a complete, day-long event to increase the levels of interest. Have a musical program after the run, or a buffet lunch, to ensure maximum participation.

14. Volunteering challenges

Volunteering is a great way to stay active as well as happy. Encourage your employees to take up volunteering challenges. Offer incentives such as paid-leaves provided the time is used for volunteering. Your employees could work as a team and represent your firm (for example, organise an educational workshop at an orphanage) or pursue volunteering on their own. The aim is to improve their emotional wellbeing, so give them the independence to choose the challenge.

Expert tip – Partner with NGOs so that your employees can easily volunteer their time without having to look for opportunities (provided they want to).

15. Sleep challenges

Sleeping is perhaps the most crucial wellness requirement. It is mandatory for everyone to sleep for 6-8 hours each night. Anyone who sleeps less than that risks a chance of getting high blood pressure, heart ailments and so on. Improper sleep can also result in undue stress and lack of mental alertness. This is why you must encourage your employees to get adequate sleep each night.

Expert tip – Provide your employees with sleep monitors. The employees who get enough sleep can be rewarded at the end of each month.

16. Laughter challenges

Laughter is the best medicine and people who laugh more frequently are said to enjoy stress-free, relaxed lives. Laughter also keeps the mood and atmosphere of the office positive which makes it better and more productive for the employees. Encourage your employees to laugh more. Organise stand-up comedy shows where you either bring in a professional comedian or ask your own employees to participate.

Expert tip – Start a laughter club in the office and encourage your employees to join in in great numbers.

17. Digital detox challenge

Constant exposure to a screen can cause severe headaches, eye-problems, etc for your employees. Prevent this by encouraging them to be screen-free for at least 30 minutes each day at work. Encourage them to step away from their workstations and go for a walk, stand by the coffee machine or converse with their colleagues. A digital detox can be a great opportunity for relaxation.

Expert tip – Ensure you have a fixed time period for the daily digital detox challenge, else your employees may misuse this opportunity and stay away from their workstations for long periods of time.

18. Standing challenge

Sitting at one place for long hours can cause havoc to a person’s spine and posture. Ask your employees to stand for one minute every hour. Alternatively, remove all the chairs and desks from the meeting/conference rooms and have them stand during team meetings. Standing challenges can help improve their overall wellness levels and make them more alert.

Expert tip – Conduct random checks throughout the day and reward the people standing at that time with small perks.

19. Go on a vacation challenge

Taking some time off from work at least once a year is crucial for the physical and mental wellbeing of an employee. Make vacationing compulsory for your employees. Provide compulsory vacation time in the form of paid leave that they have to take. Partner with travel agencies, hotel chains etc to offer discounts in bookings to ensure your employees complete the vacation challenge.

Expert tip – Offer the mandatory leaves to different employees at different times to make sure you have a balance between the employees present and employees absent at all times.

20. ‘Better yourselves’ challenge

And finally, encourage your employees to adopt a wellness regime independently. As an employer, you can encourage them to stay fit by offering the above-mentioned challenges, but their own well being ultimately depends on their efforts and attitudes. Ask them to adopt as many fitness regimes as possible and stick to them diligently to improve their health and happiness quotients.

In conclusion

Employee wellness challenges are an integral part of almost every company these days. A company that has a healthy workforce is bound to drive in more profits. Retaining talented employees becomes easier when the employees feel well and content. Give the above-mentioned employee wellness challenges a try and notice a positive change in your employees. You will be able to keep your employees fit while making the process an enjoyable one for everybody.

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