It becomes challenging to uphold a healthy lifestyle when one is required to spend prolonged hours at work on a daily basis. Leading a corporate lifestyle poses difficulties in consistently practicing healthy eating habits and engaging in regular exercise. Consequently, individuals worldwide struggle to strike a balance between their work commitments and maintaining good health.
Employers are increasingly recognizing the significance of employee health and its impact on organizational growth and achievements. Consequently, it is not unexpected that a growing number of employers are designing and putting into action corporate wellness programs in their workplaces.
What is an Employee Wellness Program?
Employee wellness programs are designed to aid employers in maintaining the health and fitness of their employees. These programs allow employers to introduce initiatives focused on encouraging positive health behaviors within their workforce.
Wellness programs offer numerous benefits in the long run, including enhanced productivity, lower occurrence of workplace accidents, decreased chances of chronic illnesses, and reduced healthcare expenses, among others.
Wellness challenges are crucial components of a successful wellness program as they promote healthy habits among employees. By inspiring employees to embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle, these challenges contribute to increased happiness and improved overall wellbeing. When employees are healthier, they tend to be more productive and have a reduced likelihood of taking sick days.
Companies are recognizing that a well-being of their employees contributes to an advantageous work atmosphere, enhanced corporate reputation, and overall business prosperity. Due to this reason, these initiatives gain popularity, and businesses worldwide are incorporating them for their staff. Additionally, implementing a workplace wellness challenge demands minimal financial investment.
Ultimately, the outcome entails a workforce that is healthier, more productive, and actively involved, thereby enhancing performance.
The objective of a worksite wellness challenge is to endorse healthy behaviors and prompt employees to embrace them, with a specific focus on employee health and wellness.
The key to successful challenges lies in their ability to be enjoyable, and in the presence of a supportive work environment. This positive setting aids individuals in adopting and sustaining healthy habits. Consequently, the goal is to transform health challenges into a game-like experience and provide incentives for employees who successfully accomplish them.
Additionally, the aspect of health your employees wish to enhance the most can result in challenges in diverse forms.
It is crucial to recognize the significance of enhancing not only physical and nutritional health, but also financial, mental, and spiritual wellness. Enhancing these aspects can significantly enhance employees’ well-being and overall contribution.
Things to Keep in Mind
- Be Proactive
Don’t rely solely on your employees to participate in organizing challenges. It is advisable for you, as the company leader, to actively get involved and ensure that the management also participates.
Watching you and the management team actively participating in the challenges will motivate your employees to also get involved, demonstrating your genuine care for their health and well-being.
- Ensure Safety First
It is important to ensure that challenges involving physical effort, which have the potential to be dangerous, are carried out with the guidance of professionals, and on-site medical assistance should be accessible.
Furthermore, it is important for employees to seek medical advice before participating in any activities if they have any health concerns.
Creating a wellness challenge
Designing a wellness challenge is a simple task, but adhering to it proves to be difficult. Any individual within your organization has the ability to create a wellness challenge. However, those challenges that involve the involvement of everyone at the beginning tend to be more successful.
Short-duration challenges prove to be more effective due to their focused nature, whether they are created for a week, a month, or extended for a longer period of six months to a year.
If you desire greater diversity, they can be conducted on a weekly basis. Conversely, by carrying them out monthly, you can initiate a fresh challenge every month.
The frequency of challenges can differ, but it is important to remember that being consistent leads to greater participation and overall better outcomes.
Giving Out Rewards and Incentives
Creating design challenges that acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of your employees can be a means to encourage their participation. By offering rewards that motivate engagement, these challenges can foster an environment where everyone has the opportunity to achieve success.
The provision of rewards as incentives for successfully completing challenges will help encourage employees to engage in positive actions to enhance their health and well-being.
Monetary and non-monetary rewards are both possible. Examples of monetary rewards include cash prizes and points that can be exchanged for gifts or discounts. On the other hand, non-monetary rewards may involve taking individuals out for lunch or sending appreciation letters.
Having sponsorships in place can be a fantastic motivator as it allows you to seek out individuals or businesses willing to support the challenge by providing a prize or service to the victors. When there is an enticing reward up for grabs, it significantly boosts employees’ motivation and dedication towards accomplishing the assigned task.
Assign points for completed tasks and allow them to be redeemed, or reward those with the most points.
Ideas for wellness challenges
The primary goal when designing workplace challenges is to promote the overall well-being and contentment of your employees, while ensuring that they also enjoy themselves. Below are some challenge ideas that you can incorporate into your workplace.
Without any incentive or motive, it can be quite challenging for employees to maintain a healthy diet during work. This is where implementing a nutritional challenge can greatly benefit the well-being of your staff.
Typically, in order to satisfy their hunger, employees opt for takeaway, which is quick and convenient, yet detrimental to their health. Restaurant meals tend to be excessively high in salt and sugar, with few options for healthier choices on their menus.
Encourage your employees to bring their own lunches from home, as it can help them cut costs and improve their dietary choices. Instruct them to enjoy homemade meals for at least four days each week, allowing them the option of indulging in a “cheat meal” on the fifth day, if desired.
You earn one point for each healthy snack or healthy lunch consumed and one point for every instance of avoiding fast-food.
Encourage the sharing of nutritious food recipes within your workplace and allocate one point for every contributed recipe.
Organize monthly potluck lunch contests at your workplace, wherein each person contributes a unique dish to be enjoyed by the whole team. This fosters a sense of competition and aids employees in incorporating healthier dietary habits. Furthermore, these events serve as a wonderful way to conclude each challenge and introduce fresh ones.
Healthy Living Credits
To support the well-being of remote employees, TeamBuilding offers a program called Healthy Living Credits. Under this program, staff members are allowed to utilize a maximum of $100 each month on various services like gym subscriptions, salon visits, or house cleaning. By submitting receipts, employees are eligible to receive reimbursements for their expenses.
Teambuilding provides the staff with instructions on how they can utilize the credits, while also allowing employees to make their own choices. By giving employees the option to allocate the credit towards their preferred service, they are more likely to appreciate the gesture. Additionally, the consistent provision of this perk motivates employees to sustain healthy habits.
Home Office Makeover
The physical surroundings play a role in determining one’s health. By initiating a program for renovating home offices, you can ensure that your employees have workspaces that promote healthy habits. Merely extend an offer to cover the costs of wellness equipment and furniture.
Included below are some instances of what the program may address.
- Ergonomic chair
- Standing Desk
- Treadmill or bike desk, or floor pedal elliptical
- Blue light glasses
- Light therapy lamp
- Plant subscription
- Humidifier or dehumidifier
- Chair massager
- Air conditioner
- White noise machine
The reasoning behind this strategy is to provide a substantial amount for a significant purchase. You have the option to extend this special perk to new employees, at their one-year anniversary, or upon achieving another important career accomplishment.
In order to streamline the process, offer current employees the choice between using a Google Form or an internal company store to participate in the program. After all employees have made their selections, proceed with purchasing and distributing the chosen products.
Battle of the Elements
The Battle of the Elements stands out as an incredibly enjoyable remote wellness game that transforms positive lifestyle adjustments into a cordial competition. Participants are divided into teams based on their chosen healthy changes, with each team embodying an element.
Quitting smoking is equivalent to extinguishing the fire.
Increase your water intake by drinking more water.
It’s beneficial to spend more time outdoors and get fresh air.
Make healthier dietary choices on Earth.
During the event, teams aim to accomplish specific objectives, for example, “whenever you feel the urge to smoke, perform ten jumping jacks” or “consume five portions of green vegetables today.” One point will be awarded to team members for every day they successfully achieve the goal. Ultimately, the team that accumulates the highest number of points will emerge as the winner at the end of the competition.
Clean Desk Challenge
Launching a clean desk challenge can be an effective way to promote focus and mental health among your virtual employees, as it encourages them to maintain a tidy workspace in their at-home offices.
At the conclusion of every workday or workweek, request participants to upload pictures or video clips of their tidy desks on a designated channel or form. Alternatively, you may randomly request pictures of clean desks to encourage consistent cleanliness among employees. Once the challenge ends, you can reward the team member with the highest number of clean desk pictures with a bigger prize. Alternatively, you can hold a daily raffle for digital gift cards, selecting winners from the entries received each day.
Online Group Workouts
Desk jobs are typically inactive, and remote workers may be even less active. One effective method to promote movement among employees is to organize online group workout sessions.
The optimal approach for hosting an online fitness class for staff is by sending a recurring calendar invitation that contains a video meeting link. During the class, employees gather through video call and exercise together. You have the option to either employ a fitness instructor to lead the session or enlist a member of the athletic team and reward them with a perk, such as a bonus or additional time off.
Virtual Fitness Challenge
If your staff is hesitant about participating in web-cam workouts or prefers exercising alone, you can introduce a virtual fitness challenge. Begin by establishing a goal, such as “going for a daily walk” or “engaging in ten minutes of cardio every day.” For a more engaging and challenging option, you could even consider couch to 5k. Then, decide on a specific time frame for the challenge, such as a quarter or a month.
Every day, employees will record their accomplishment of the goal. We have developed a complimentary tracking tool for this purpose. Alternatively, one can monitor progress using apps such as Map My Run or Espresa.
At the conclusion of the challenge, present a prize to employees who successfully complete the entire run. Consider giving a more noteworthy reward to the teammate who achieves the most outstanding results. If the budget permits, grant all participants a prize like a $10 gift card, as this strategy will motivate them to persist in the challenge rather than giving up after their initial failure.
Zoom Yoga or Stretch Sessions
Midday yoga or stress sessions are more likely to be attended by remote employees, as they are less likely to perspire from performing downward dog poses compared to doing jumping jacks. Zoom Yoga or Stretch Sessions are considered among the top wellness activities for individuals working from home, as yoga not only serves as a physical workout but also as a means of alleviating stress and practicing meditation.
In order to organize Zoom Yoga or stretch sessions, start by searching for a fitness instructor or colleague who is willing to lead or choose a suitable yoga routine video. Afterward, send employees a calendar invitation containing a meeting link. It is advisable to set up a 15-minute recurrent weekly event.
Encouraging remote employees to move and refocus throughout the day can be attained by taking periodic breaks for stretching or practicing yoga.
Digital Step Challenges
Remote workers tend to take fewer steps compared to their in-office counterparts due to the absence of commuting, conference rooms, lunch runs, or visits to officemates’ cubicles.
In order to encourage virtual employees to increase their walking, one approach is to introduce a virtual step challenge. To begin, establish a target, for instance, 6,000 steps each day. Most smartphones include a pre-installed step-counter that participants can utilize to monitor their steps.
Alternatively, employees can utilize various options such as apps, fitness trackers, smartwatches, or traditional pedometers. Prompt employees to keep a record of their progress and ensure regular check-ins on a weekly basis.
To add more enjoyment, consider giving out prizes based on the number of steps taken. As an illustration, those who surpass the target by 20,000+ steps could have a chance to win an Amazon gift card. It’s also possible to keep track of the total results and provide updates like, “This month, we walked a total of 500 miles – equivalent to the distance from here to New York City!”
Wellness programs hold particular significance for remote employees because the autonomous aspect of virtual work means it may take longer to detect signs of a team member facing difficulties. Additionally, telecommuters could benefit from occasional prompts to prioritize self-care.
By providing a comprehensive virtual program aimed at employee wellness, you demonstrate concern for your remote workforce, equipping them with the necessary resources to lead a more harmonized and advantageous life. This approach ultimately leads to increased productivity, higher engagement and retention rates, alongside reduced absenteeism, turnover, and insurance expenses.