7 Best Corporate Wellness Challenges
Happy and healthy employees are a company’s assets. Not only are they more productive but they have lesser sick day leaves. Employees spend most of their time at work. So, as part of corporate wellness programs, workplace challenges are a great opportunity to change the health behavior of employees. These challenges encourage the employees to stick to their health and fitness goals. Some contests may be in the form of individual short-term behavior changes whereas others may be in the form of team activities designed to improve employee well being and morale. Corporate wellness providers have realized that such employee wellness corporate solutions have a long-term impact on employee health and wellness and also healthcare costs.
Movement at work improves mood, focus, energy, engagement, and decreases fatigue. Small changes in the dietary pattern can do wonders to one’s health. Employee wellness programs can be made exciting and fun by adding gamification and competitiveness to encourage greater participation amongst the employees.
Here is a list of 7 fun wellness challenges that can be implemented by any corporate organization for corporate well being:
1. No / Less Sugar Challenge: A high-sugar diet impacts both physical and mental health. An employee can decrease or avoid sugar in the cups of tea or coffee that is consumed during the office hours. Sugar is also present in alcohol, processed, packaged or refined foods. An employee can set individual targets for each of these. Decreasing the sugar intake can bring about positive changes in the health of the employee.
2. Walking Challenge: To create more awareness about the importance of physical activity, employees can be encouraged to walk more. If the workplace is near home, instead of using a car or any other mode of transport, walking could be encouraged. If workplace is away from home, using the public transport up to a point and then walking the rest of the distance should be encouraged. One of the ways to run a walking challenge is to record the number of steps each day. In terms of reward, the employee can earn a reward for completing a certain number of steps each day for a specific period of time and also invite him / her to challenge his / her peers to raise the level of the challenge. This will help improve their health by increasing their mobility.
3. Weight loss Challenge: Losing excess weight alone can be a daunting task if not motivated enough. A voluntary weight loss challenge can be taken up for a span of 8-12 weeks at the workplace by corporate wellness providers. A tracking form can be maintained for each employee. Monitoring of the body weight or the inches of the person can be done at regular intervals in the program to assess the efficacy of the program. This challenge can be picked up as a team or as an individual. A weight loss challenge is a good way to introduce wellness in a group of individuals.
4. Daily Habit Challenge: This can be a challenge wherein employees work towards adopting healthy eating and lifestyle habits. For example – eat minimum 2 fruits a day or reduce a cup of coffee / tea from their daily routine, or carry a homemade lunch to work, etc. Here, instead of creating an environment of competition, the challenge could work well in a ‘buddy’ system, where two to three colleagues or a small group of colleagues can motivate each other to reach the goals and at the same time keep adopting healthier habits along the way.
5. Drink more water challenge: Sometimes, employees just forget to consume enough water during the day at work. Attractive water bottles could be provided at the work desks to encourage adequate water consumption. Alternatively, the employees could be asked to replace a glass of sugary drink / juice with a glass of water to encourage drinking more water. Employees could be asked to track how much water they drink in a day and rewards could be given to those who complete or exceed their set targets. A reward for this challenge could be a nice reusable water bottle for daily use.
6. Smoking cessation challenge: It is difficult for people to quit smoking. There are numerous health risks associated with smoking so employees should be encouraged to give up the habit, if the habit exists. The organization can introduce a challenge to reduce the frequency and number of cigarettes an employee smokes in a month, 3 months, 6 months and so on. With this, awareness programs can be introduced to highlight the elevated health risks of smoking. This will educate the employee and inspire him to adopt healthy practices.
7. Eat real food challenge: Foods that are highly processed can create a havoc in our bodies. These foods when consumed regularly can increase the risk of chronic diseases like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, etc. Today more and more people are turning towards fast and processed foods for their taste and ease of availability. Employees are often stressed at work due to constant meetings and upcoming deadlines. It is here that the comforting processed and packaged foods come in. Challenging the employees to replace at least one processed food with one real food in the first week and then gradually bringing in only real foods in the diet is also a great way to start with a wellness challenge.
Corporate wellness challenges can be a great way to initiate lifestyle changes in employees. Each challenge should have a component of education and awareness, motivation and the tools to bring about the change. Rewards at the end of the challenge keep the employees motivated to go through the challenge. Healthy employees work better and a healthy workforce leads to increased business. The ideal challenge(s) for each organization will depend on the specific goals and objectives of the organization. Whatever the challenge, creating a health culture within the organization should be the key goal.