A wellness challenge is a fun addition to any corporate wellness program that helps increase user engagement. A wellness challenge cultivates healthy competition among employees while encouraging positive lifestyle behaviors, such as working out or eating right.
Challenges can be fully customized depending on the needs of the employees or the company. While some challenges may be as simple as tracking steps, others – like weight loss or stress reduction – can last several months or perhaps even indefinitely.
Each challenge should have a quantifiable goal depending on the theme: get seven hours of sleep every night, work out for 30 minutes a day, eat a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily, etc. The target should be clear and reasonable to encourage maximum engagement and low burnout among the participants. Depending on the theme, challenges could be team or individual based.
Challenges can cover a wide range of themes and health goals:
- physical fitness
- diet and nutrition
- emotional and mental wellbeing
- workplace culture
- financial wellbeing
Gamification of challenges boosts participation and increases user satisfaction. Employing a platform that incorporates individual profiles, social walls, and achievement badges helps to engage employees and encourage their progress. Many wellness programs and challenges incorporate data gathered from personal wearables, such as FitBits, to streamline the process and reduce unnecessary participant effort.
Offering incentives and rewards, however small, also increases participation and rewards healthy behaviors. Employees who receive prizes for winning or completing a challenge will be more inclined to participate in future challenges.
Wellness challenges can be as unique and creative as their designer and can be tailored to nearly any health topic or issue. One popular challenge is daily physical activity; even this simple competition can be made more appealing by converting minutes spent working out into virtual milestones trekked across the United States. Some examples of other fun challenge topics:
- Step-counting competition
- Eating fruits and vegetables
- Meditate every day
- Protecting the environment
- Promoting charity and community engagement
- Getting enough sleep
- Increasing your savings
- Weight loss
- Drinking enough water
The Benefits of Implementing Wellness Challenges
Wellness challenges, when designed and executed properly, have a wide variety of benefits for both the individuals and the company as a whole.
Advantages for employees:
- Promotion of healthy, lasting habits
- Better mind-body health
- Increased work satisfaction
- Improved interpersonal relationships
Advantages for employers:
- Boosted wellness program engagement
- Reduced health care costs
- Increased employee productivity
- Healthy workplace culture and team building
Building a Winning Wellness Challenge
Creating a wellness challenge does not have to be complicated, but it does require some careful consideration and planning in order to be successful.
Before the challenge:
- Assess employee health needs
- Choose a topic or theme
- Set a goal or target
- Set a reasonable deadline
- Promote the challenge
During the challenge:
- Lead by example; participate!
- Engage and motivate participants
- Encourage healthy and respectful competition
After the challenge has ended:
- Distribute congratulations and rewards
- Analyze results and determine success
- Plan for future challenges
Wellness challenges are an excellent way to harness the power of human nature; everyone has an inner competitor who can achieve great things when given the opportunity and motivation. Challenge employees to improve their own health and happiness while fostering camaraderie in the workplace and reaping the benefits of health cost savings. In the end, everyone wins – and has fun doing it!