Did you know that only 33% of employees are truly thriving in their wellbeing?
This alarming statistic reveals a stark reality: a significant number of employees, 83% to be precise, along with 74% of executives, face hurdles in achieving their wellbeing goals.
The culprits? Stress, heavy workloads, and the constant race against time.
But there’s more to this story.
The health of employees is intrinsically linked to productivity, morale, and engagement levels in the workplace. When employee wellness dips, so does the overall vitality of the organization.
This isn’t just about adding another fun activity to the office routine.
Employee wellness programs are essential tools for fostering a healthy, engaged workforce.
Among the various wellness initiatives – like healthy eating, sleep tracking, and meditation challenges – a step challenge at work is a great starting point.We're embedding health & well-being at the heart of our business strategy because our people are our greatest asset, & we recognize that a healthy, happy, &committed workforce is vital to our business success. — Alex Gourlay Click To Tweet
In this article, we dive into setting up a successful work step challenge, its benefits and gain practical ideas to kickstart your employees’ health journey.
So, keep reading to step up your workplace wellness game!
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What is a Corporate Step Challenge?
A corporate step challenge is any initiative that encourages employees to take more steps and track them daily over a specified period of time, usually a couple of weeks or months. This takes the form of a challenge among individual employees or teams to promote healthy competition and teamwork.
A workplace step challenge has an incentive attached to it, often a gift (vouchers, gift cards) or a humanitarian cause like the 1000 foot challenge. Whatever the incentive is, the goal is to get employees to form healthy habits and increase workplace wellness.
Benefits of Step Challenges at Work
A walking step challenge is a popular and easy way to boost employee wellbeing. It also shows workers how healthier they get when they build healthy habits intentionally. Here are some other important benefits of implementing step challenges at work:
✅ Increased Employee Engagement
When employees work towards a goal as individuals or teams, they relate better to each other, form team bonds, and engage in conversations that aren’t only work-related, which helps to reduce stress and increase productivity.
✅ Brand Visibility
87% of employees consider health and wellness packages when choosing an employer. That means you might be missing out on the best talent by slacking on employee wellness initiatives.
Employees are often excited to share step challenges and workplace updates on their socials. That’s a subtle way in which you share your company culture and show how intentional you are with your employees.
✅ Improved Physical Health
Going for a brisk walk for just 22 minutes a day is enough to offset the negative health effects of sitting too much.
It can help with weight loss, better mental health, and increased body metabolism. Regardless of the benefits, the last thing most workers think about after a hectic workday is exercise. However, employee step challenges help them incorporate healthy lifestyle choices while having a productive workday. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
✅ Reduced Healthcare Costs
Employees experience higher fitness levels when they participate in work step challenges. This reduces their need for healthcare and cuts down on healthcare costs for their employers.
Best Company Step Challenge Ideas
Company step challenges can be a thrilling way to engage your employees. To maintain this excitement, it’s crucial to add creativity and variety into the challenge so that it stays far from being monotonous.
Let’s explore some dynamic and creative ways to keep your team motivated and enthusiastic about stepping up to the challenge.
1 Encourage Walking Meetings
Walking meetings are simply meetings you have while on the go. If you’re wondering, walking while in a meeting doesn’t hurt the productivity of the meeting.
In fact, walking meetings can actually ignite creative thinking and prompt team members to communicate more efficiently and directly. This dynamic approach enhances physical activity and sharpens focus and idea generation.
❤️ Why we like this step challenge idea: Employees spend about 2.8 hours each day in meetings, which adds up to 5 hours a week. This time can be used to encourage healthier habits, like walking meetings. Imagine the health benefits if your team walked during their meetings for a whole month. You can start by suggesting walking meetings once a week and then slowly do it more often. This step-by-step method could really boost their overall health and energy at work.
Why confine meetings to boardrooms?
Walking meetings offer a breath of fresh air, stimulate creativity, and foster a more relaxed and collaborative atmosphere.
Combine productivity with wellness and watch ideas flourish on the move. 🗣️🚶♂️ #WalkingMeetings #Collaboration
— Never Too Old To Rock And Roll (@over60andactive) October 28, 2023
Encouraging employees to participate in a wellness challenge, especially if it’s their first, requires simplifying progress tracking. Apps like YuMuuv offer a wide range of challenges, provide custom monthly reports, and feature an attractive user interface, catering to those who appreciate visually appealing apps.
❤️ Why we like this step challenge idea: With YuMuuv, employees stay connected, track performance, and compare results. It also syncs with other fitness apps easily. Team wellness apps go beyond facilitating work step challenges; they offer lasting value by providing employees with personalized exercise and fitness plans, supporting their journey to a healthier lifestyle even beyond the workplace.
3 Lunchtime Walks
Encourage your employees to incorporate physical activity into their workday. They can take a short walk outside or engage in office exercises during lunch breaks. For added team bonding, group coworkers into teams for collective walks — this approach promotes fitness and fosters camaraderie among team members.
❤️ Why we like this step challenge idea: Spending the whole day at a desk and staring at screens can get your employees cranky; however, a short walk outside (in the company of others) boosts employees’ energy levels and sparks creativity.
4 “Walking for a Cause” Challenge
A “Walking for a Cause” step challenge is an impactful way to motivate employees, as it adds a meaningful purpose to their physical activity.
When employees know that their walking efforts contribute to a charitable cause, it increases their commitment, deepens their involvement and gives them a sense of fulfillment that their corporate wellness programs are making the world a better place.
❤️ Why we like this step challenge idea: This type of challenge is effective in fostering a sense of unity and collaboration among team members, as they work together towards a common goal. Moreover, it demonstrates the company’s dedication to social responsibility, extending its positive influence beyond the office and into the community. The knowledge that their efforts are aiding a greater cause significantly boosts morale, and creates a strong team culture as well as a more engaged and enthusiastic workforce.
In August 2023, Lancaster Charity had its Summer Steps virtual campaign, where it encouraged supporters to walk 4k, 8k, or 10k steps daily to raise money for local people affected by cancer. The participants could join a Facebook group to share pictures of themselves walking and their achievements.
You can tweak this and replicate it with your employees. This participation benefits the chosen charity and contributes to a healthier, more connected work environment.
5 “Take the Stairs” Challenge
Ready to add some pep to your step? Try launching a “Take the Stairs” challenge to break the automatic elevator routine. Imagine quirky post-its on the elevator doors, teasing with phrases like “burn calories, not electricity.” These playful nudges can steer your team towards the stairs.
❤️ Why we like this step challenge idea: Sure, the elevator might shave off a few seconds, but those stairs pack a health punch. Every step counts towards fitness goals, and before you know it, your team will be stair-stepping their way to success, hitting those step targets with ease and a bit of extra fun!
6 Select a Daily Theme
“Move It,” Monday
“Take the Stairs” Tuesday
“Team Trek” Thursday
“Finish Strong” Friday
Doesn’t that just sound like a week full of fun and fitness? But wait, there’s more! Simply naming each day in your step challenge isn’t enough to keep the excitement alive. You’ve got to infuse each day with real fun and spirit. Engage your employees by adding creative twists and seeking their feedback to keep the momentum going.
❤️ Why we like this step challenge idea: Yes, your employees might start off excited about a walking challenge, but the real magic lies in keeping that energy high. Spicing up each day with a catchy theme is a fantastic way to sustain their interest and motivation. It’s about turning a simple walk into an adventure that they look forward to every day!
7 Break Up Staff Members into Teams
Spark some friendly rivalry by dividing staff into teams for your company’s step contest. Leverage the natural dynamics of existing groups – think Marketing vs. Sales, or Logistics taking on Customer Service – to really turn up the excitement.
❤️ Why we like this step challenge idea: It’s all about bringing your employees together for a good-natured competition that boosts creativity and camaraderie. When they’re engaged in fun, health-promoting challenges, you’ll see them flourish both mentally and physically, leading to a more vibrant and productive workplace. Let the step battles begin!
Tips for Running a Workplace Step Challenge
Workplace step challenges are fun, but they are daunting if you’ve never organized one before. You might have a lot of what-ifs running through your mind. So, whether you’ve never organized one or you’re looking to revive your company’s wellness program, here are some tips:
👍 Set a Time Limit
7 days, 14 days, or 30 days?
You decide how long the step challenge should run. You want to find the sweet spot for your employees. Challenges that are too short end the fun too early. Extremely long ones? Boring and annoying.
Most challenges run for 4-8 weeks, but you can reinvent the wheel so that you have 2 weeks on the challenge, a week of rest, and the final two weeks of the challenge. Whatever your time limit and schedule are, remember that the program is for the well-being of your employees, so be sure to involve them in the decision-making process.
👍 Provide a Reward to the Winning Participant or Team
Offering rewards in a step challenge is an excellent way to motivate employees and fuel healthy competition. It’s important, however, to choose prizes that align with the challenge’s fitness goals.
While a box of chocolates might be a delightful gift, it may not fit the theme of promoting health. Consider alternatives like Spotify subscriptions for podcast enthusiasts, tea sets for wellness-focused relaxation, or journals for tracking fitness progress. These thoughtful rewards incentivize participation and support your employees’ wellness journeys.
👍 Promote Your Step Challenge Ahead of Time
Start promoting your step challenge well in advance to get your employees ready and excited. Suddenly springing the challenge on them might backfire, despite your good intentions. Approach it like you would with clients: build anticipation and excitement. Explain the challenge, its purpose, and the benefits for them.
Consider integrating this challenge into a broader employee wellness program. Invite health and wellness experts to educate your team on making healthy lifestyle choices. In doing so, you’re not just introducing a fitness challenge; you’re fostering an engaged community.
By involving employees in the decision-making process and listening to their input, you create a win-win situation. They feel valued and heard, and the company benefits from a healthier, more motivated workforce.
👍 Organize the Challenge with a Team Leaderboard
Elevate the excitement of your challenge tracking by incorporating a dynamic team leaderboard. This simple addition injects a dose of fun and competition into the mix. Imagine employees eagerly checking the leaderboard to see who’s leading the charge, kindling an inner childhood rivalry that propels everyone to go the extra mile, quite literally!
But it’s not just about the thrill; a leaderboard also serves as a powerful tool for accountability. Witness the awe-inspiring feats of those who consistently log unimaginable step counts, inspiring others to step up their game and join the ranks of the leaderboard legends.
👍 Keep It Simple
Organizing a work step challenge should be a blast, not a chore. So, keep it simple and fun.
Instead of getting bogged down in intricate details, aim to make it a memorable experience for your employees. After all, the goal is to get everyone moving, motivated, and enjoying themselves. By keeping it straightforward, you ensure that the planning process remains a breeze, allowing you to focus on the exciting part – the challenge itself.
So, why make it overly complicated when you can have a fantastic time, boost team spirit, and step into a healthier, happier workplace with ease? Remember, simplicity is the key to success in this adventure!
👍 Consider Employees with Diverse Needs
To ensure inclusivity in the step challenge, it’s essential to consider employees with walking impairments or health conditions that limit their ability to cover long distances on foot.
To encourage their participation, make the challenge flexible by offering alternative options for tracking activity beyond just counting steps. The primary focus should be on promoting overall fitness rather than solely relying on step counting.
Activities like dumbbell curls, resistance band pulls, or chest presses should also be incorporated into the challenge to accommodate diverse fitness levels and preferences. Conducting an employee wellness survey can be a valuable tool in determining the most suitable activities for individuals with specific needs, ensuring that everyone can fully enjoy and benefit from the challenge.
Common Challenges When Organizing a Step Challenge at Work
Encouraging all employees to join and stay engaged throughout the challenge can be a hurdle, as some may lack motivation or interest.
Ensuring accurate step tracking and preventing cheating or inaccuracies in reporting can be a challenge.
Accommodating employees with physical limitations or health conditions, as well as those who may not have access to fitness tracking devices, can be challenging.
Effective communication and keeping participants informed about the challenge’s rules, updates, and progress can be a struggle.
Maintaining enthusiasm and interest among participants over an extended period can be tough, especially if the challenge lasts for several weeks or months.
❗️Prizes and Rewards
Determining suitable prizes or rewards that motivate employees without breaking the budget can be tricky.
Addressing privacy concerns related to tracking personal health data or steps taken can be a sensitive issue.
Striking the right balance between setting challenging goals and ensuring they are achievable for all participants can be a challenge.
Holding participants accountable for their activity levels and encouraging them to meet their goals can be challenging without being too punitive.
Assessing the overall success of the challenge and gathering feedback for improvement can be time-consuming but essential for future iterations.
People Also Ask These Questions About Step Challenges at Work
Q: Are there any recommended apps or tools for tracking steps in an office step challenge?
- A: Pedometers or step counter apps like MoveSpring, Fitbit, and Vantage Fit are a perfect fit for you. If you’re looking to count steps only, a pedometer should be the best for you. If you’re looking for tools that give more detail about your overall physical activity, then check out the aforementioned apps.
Q: How can I motivate my colleagues to join a workplace step challenge?
- A: To motivate your colleagues to join a workplace step challenge, make it engaging and appealing. Highlight the fun aspects, such as friendly competition, team spirit, and the opportunity to improve overall health and well-being. Showcase attractive incentives like prizes, recognition, or even a celebratory event at the end of the challenge. Emphasize the inclusivity of the challenge, ensuring that individuals of all fitness levels and abilities can participate comfortably. Lastly, lead by example and be enthusiastic about it yourself – your excitement can be contagious and inspire others to join in on the step-counting fun!
Q: How do I organize a step challenge at my workplace?
- A: To organize a step challenge, start by forming a dedicated organizing team. Set clear goals, establish rules, and determine the challenge duration. Promote the challenge through various communication channels, encourage participation, and consider offering rewards or incentives to motivate employees. Use fitness tracking apps or devices to monitor progress and foster friendly competition.
Q: How long should a workplace step challenge typically last?
- A: A typical step challenge can last anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on your organization’s preferences and goals. Longer challenges may require more creative strategies to maintain enthusiasm.
Q: How can I measure the success and impact of a step challenge on employee wellness and morale?
- A: Collect feedback through surveys or focus groups to gauge participant satisfaction and improvements in morale. Monitor health metrics, absenteeism, and overall workplace wellness to assess the challenge’s impact on employee well-being.