When you have to sit long hours at work every day, it’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s hard to eat healthily and work out regularly when you lead a corporate lifestyle. As a result, employees around the world have a tough time balancing work and good health together.
Employee health is a big concern for employers, as it is crucial for the development and success of an organization. Thus, it comes as no surprise that more and more employers are creating and implementing corporate wellness programs in their workplaces.
What is an employee wellness program?
Employee wellness programs are programs that help employers keep their employees healthy and fit. They enable employers to implement initiatives to promote good health behaviors among their workforce.
In the long term, the benefits of wellness programs are manifold, such as increased productivity, reduced workplace accidents, reduced likelihood of chronic diseases, reduced healthcare costs, and so on.
Wellness challenges are one of the essential parts of an effective wellness program. They are the activities that encourage healthy lifestyles among employees. They engage employees to be healthier, happier, and more active. Healthier employees are more productive and less likely to take sick leaves.
Companies acknowledge that a healthy workforce leads to positive work culture, better company image, and better business overall. This is why such challenges are becoming popular, and companies worldwide are starting to include them for their employees. Moreover, creating a workplace wellness challenge requires very little investment.
In the end, the result is a healthier, productive, and engaged workforce that performs better.
The goal of a worksite wellness challenge is to promote healthy habits and encourage employees to adopt them. It focuses on employee health and wellness.
Challenges are only successful when they are fun, and a supportive work environment is present. Such a positive environment helps people to adopt and maintain healthy habits. Therefore, the objective is to gamify health challenges and reward employees who complete them.
Also, challenges can take various forms depending on the aspect of health your employees want to improve most.
So, it is important not to limit yourself to just improving physical and nutritional health. Improving financial, mental, and spiritual health can also help employees feel better and contribute to the overall well-being.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Be Proactive
When organizing challenges, don’t just leave them up to your employees to participate in. It would be best if you also got involved as the company leader and make sure that the management also takes part.
When your employees see you and the management take part in the challenges, it will inspire them to join. It also shows your concern for their health and well-being.
- Ensure Safety First
Challenges that demand physical exertion may require employees to engage in physical activity that is potentially hazardous. You must make sure they are done under the supervision of professionals, and medical aid should be available on-site.
Also, if any employee has any health issue, make sure that they consult with a doctor before participating.
Creating a wellness challenge
Creating a wellness challenge is easy; sticking to it is the hard part. Any person in your organization can design a wellness challenge. But, one which has everyone’s participation in its inception is usually more successful.
You can create challenges for a short duration (a week or a month) or a long period (six months or a year). Short-duration challenges are more effective as they are more focused.
If you prefer more variation, they can be done weekly. If done monthly, you can start a new challenge every month.
The frequency at which challenges are done can vary. However, it is worth noting that consistency yields higher levels of participation and better results overall.
Giving Out Rewards and Incentives
Design challenges in a way to reward the efforts of your employees. Rewards to incentivize engagement in the challenges make it possible for everyone to succeed.
Rewards for completing challenges will aid in motivating employees to take positive action to improve their health and well-being.
Rewards can be monetary or non-monetary. Examples of financial rewards are cash prizes, points that can be redeemed for gifts or discounts, etc. Examples of non-monetary rewards are taking them to lunch, appreciation letters, etc.
Sponsorships are a great incentive. You can find someone who will sponsor the challenge and offer a product or service to the winners. When there is a good reward for grabs, employees will be more motivated and serious about completing the task.
Allot points for tasks completed and make them redeemable or reward the ones with the highest points.
Ideas for wellness challenges
When creating challenges for your workplace, the main motive is to help your employees live healthier and happier. Also, remember that employees should have fun at the same time.
Here are some challenge ideas you can use in your workplace -
It is pretty hard for employees to eat healthily at work without any incentive or motive. This is where a nutritional challenge can do wonders for the health of your employees.
Usually, to curb their hunger, employees order takeaway, which is fast and efficient but unhealthy. Restaurant foods are loaded with salt and sugar, and healthy items are rarely there on their menus.
Challenge your employees to pack their lunches from home. By doing this, they can save up on money and eat more healthily. Tell them to eat homemade meals at least four days a week. This way, they can choose to have a “cheat meal” on the fifth day if they want to.
Give out a point each for every healthy snack or healthy lunch consumed and one point for each fast-food avoided.
Share healthy food recipes in your workplace and assign one point for each recipe contributed.
Create monthly potluck lunch competitions in your workplace where everyone contributes a different dish to be shared by the group. This creates competitiveness and also helps employees implement healthy eating in their lives. They are also a great way to end each challenge and introduce a new one.
Water Drinking Challenge
In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, we forget to drink enough water regularly. This creates lots of health problems in the long run. For optimal health, it is essential to drink sufficient water daily.
Make sure that your office has access available to safe and clean water throughout its premises.
Create a water drinking challenge where employees keep track of how much water they drink daily at work.
Set a standard, for example, eight glasses daily, and reward employees who reach that goal.
Ask employees to replace a soda or juice per day with water.
Challenges that require physical activity
Create challenges that promote physical activity among your employees. Tasks, like taking the stairs, riding to work, or walking challenges, are easy to do and go a long way in improving employee health.
Challenge your employees to ride a cycle or walk to work as it helps the environment and also helps your employees stay healthy and fit. Ask them to do this at least once a week. Reward them each day with points and the person with the most points in a month with a prize or cash reward.
If your office building has an elevator, ask your employees to take the stairs instead. Ask them to keep track of the number of steps on their own or with a fitness tracker app like Vantage FIt. Reward the person with the most number of steps in a week or a month.
Encourage your employees to sign up for 5K runs, marathons, or team obstacle course races. Ask all your employees to take part and try to at least complete them. Plan a party to celebrate their successful run, and you can reward the ones with the best times with special prizes.
Sports are an amazing way to get fit and to create networking opportunities among people. There are many team sporting events available in every city. Encourage your employees to create teams and take part in these events and reward the winners accordingly.
It is tough to balance work life and good health at the same time. Physical exercise is an essential part if you want to lead a healthy lifestyle. But it is hard to find time for the gym when we have to balance work life with family and personal life.
Ask your employees what their personal goals are and what they want to achieve. Tell them to create their own goals.
Challenge your employees to train at least five days a week and reward them with one point for each day.
Invite personal trainers to your workplace to create workout regimes for employees and guide them.
Form teams with similar goals and create challenges among them. Reward the teams that complete the most challenges.
If required, offer your employees a more flexible schedule so that they have time to exercise.
Sufficient sleep is important for overall health, and it helps reduce stress and the risks of health problems. Not getting enough sleep has dire consequences. Lack of sleep affects mood, judgment, physical and mental function and even shortens life expectancy.
Make sure your employees are getting enough sleep regularly. Challenge them to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night for 30 days and reward the winners with prizes to keep them motivated.
Stop Smoking Challenge
Everyone knows the risks associated with smoking and how bad smoking is for health in general. Smoking is very addictive, and once you start smoking, it's hard to stop doing it.
You can help employees who wish to quit smoking by creating challenges aimed at stopping smoking slowly and steadily. As most people can’t quit smoking at once, you can break down rewards into different parts.
Create challenges and rewards in a progressive manner. For example, break down the challenges for not smoking for one month, three months, six months, one year, and so on. Reward the employees for completing them with increasingly bigger rewards.
Also, try to eliminate influences from their surroundings. For example, encourage their peers or family members who smoke to join in on the challenge.
Challenges that facilitate self-improvement
Complete wellness consists of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. By creating challenges that involve employees’ self-improvement, you can make a sure approach in the improvement of their health.
Encourage your employees to enroll in a class, seminar, or program which will help them learn personal or professional skills. Reward the ones who do with days off or other prizes.
Ask your employees to engage in a community event that will do something involving self-improvement. This will also create a positive company image.
Encourage your employees to meditate to improve their mental health and reduce stress. Reward every 10 minutes with a point.
Tell your employees to give undivided time to their family members and show them gratitude.
Challenge your employees to go to a religious institution like a church at least once every week. Reward each day with a point.
Mental health is as important as physical health. When you are healthy mentally, you have a better outlook towards life, are happier and stress-free in general.
Meditation is a fantastic way to achieve good mental health. It helps to calm the mind, makes us focused, and reduces stress.
Challenge your employees to meditate regularly at least for 5 minutes. You can also offer meditation lessons in your office or provide free memberships to meditation classes in your city.
Being optimistic is one of the best ways to be stress-free and keep diseases at bay. Positivity is contagious and does wonders for increasing productivity and morale.
Challenge your employees to state one thing every day for which they are grateful. Encourage them to share it with their colleagues.
Reward the employees who have consistently shown their gratitude over the period of a month. You can give them a paid day off to spend time with their family and loved ones and show them gratitude.
There are various apps on which you can create challenges and take part in them. Such challenges are fun and inspiring. People have a great time competing and keeping track of their progress and the progress of their colleagues on their smartphones.
Vantage Fit by Vantage Circle is such an app that, besides being a fitness and nutrition tracker, helps you to create group challenges for your employees. You can create fitness-related challenges and also nutritional challenges for your employees to take part in.
Moreover, winners are given points which can be redeemed later from various outlets.
So, create a wellness challenge of your own and take a step towards the improvement of your employees’ health and wellbeing.