Wellness challenges have become more popular than ever in the workplace, and with good reason. They offer a fun way for companies to break up the day, and encourage employees to get moving and be more mindful about what they eat. One type of challenge that has really caught on recently is the step challenge, where participants compete against each other to see who can rack up the most steps or hit a specified challenge goal.
Here at Viverae®, we’ve seen a number of our clients implement step challenges to varying degrees of success. Those that make the most of the challenge enjoy numerous benefits that help bring their employees together in ways that other activities typically fall short. And in some cases, the challenge itself can become the centerpiece of their culture of wellness.
Here are a few tips to help you get your step challenge started on the right foot:
Build Excitement: Making sure everyone knows about the challenge is a good start. But if you want your step challenge to really take off, you’ll need to get employees genuinely psyched. That could mean tapping into their generosity by supporting a worthy cause, or leveraging their competitive nature by pitting departments against each other. If your company has wellness champions, perhaps you could have them sign people up to compete or join a team.
Incorporate Technology: Many health-conscious individuals use wearable fitness trackers like the ones produced by Garmin, Samsung, or the ever-popular Fitbit to track their daily step count. Of course, that doesn’t mean that everyone owns one of these devices. If you have the budget, you could always offer free or discounted trackers to those who sign up for the challenge. Many manufacturers offer competitive bulk discount rates. And it may be a great way to generate some interest and excitement in the challenge. If not, you may want to suggest that participants download a free mobile app to help keep track of their steps.
Make Time: How can you possibly expect anyone to complete the challenge if you or your management team gives employees the evil eye every time they step away from their desks? Instead, offer some support by giving employees time during the day to complete the challenge. That could mean setting up designated break times, implementing two-minute drills, or simply taking a break yourself and asking others if they want to join you.
Share a Few Tips: For some, getting started is the hardest part. Others may struggle to maintain their momentum once the competition starts to heat up. That’s why it’s always a good idea to provide some tips to keep everyone moving. A quick online search will net you a ton of excellent tips like encouraging employees to walk in groups, designate specific times to walk, track steps with an app or device, and more. Perhaps you could send a follow-up email halfway through the challenge, or put up a poster in visible areas, like the break-room.
Award a Prize: Good health is definitely its own reward, but why not sweeten the deal with a cool prize? It could be just the thing you need to keep employees motivated to give it their all throughout the entire challenge. Besides, who doesn’t like to win stuff? Don’t have a big budget to spare? No problem. The prize doesn’t have to be expensive; it could be as simple as an extra vacation day.
Starting a successful step challenge for your workplace doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Whether you host one every year or are implementing one for the first time, sticking to these basics can help you make it a success. Good luck, and don’t forget to participate yourself.