Mini Wellness Challenges You Can Run in Your Office

In the Wellness Challenge that we run online with offices across North America, employees are given daily tasks to complete that cover topics ranging from boosting energy and optimizing brain health to managing stress and increasing productivity. We take a holistic approach and incorporate nutrition, mindset and movement related challenges. Employees group into teams and every day of the week they have a new challenge to complete. At the end of every week we award a prize for the top team and the top individual.

If you’ve been interested in implementing a similar health and wellness challenge in your office but aren’t sure where to start, or if you’re trying to gauge the level of interest, testing out a mini challenge that focuses on one task can be a great place to start. Below, we’ve assembled a few of our favourite challenges that be “mini challenges” on their own.

In order to implement these challenges you need a way to track points. During the HEAL Wellness Challenge employees log points on the online scoring portal, however you could easily get started with any of these with a whiteboard, poster or even a spreadsheet.

We also recommend incentivizing not only participation but engagement as well. For example, you could give out small prizes to employees who are able to achieve the challenge X amount of times or have employees group into teams where you award the top scorers. Alternatively, you could simply reward the office for participating. Lastly, we have found corporate wellness programs to be the most successful when upper management participates or is engaged in the program as well.

Mini Wellness Challenges You Can Run in Your Office

Drink 2L of water daily

This is one of the easiest challenges to implement in an office and often where many companies start. From an energy perspective, water helps regulate your energy levels. A mere 5% drop in your hydration levels can result in a 25% drop in energy! By the time you feel tired from not enough water, you are generally quite dehydrated.

To do this challenge, all you have to do is create a poster or grid for the month and have employees check off every day that they have reached their hydration goals. Plus, if the results are out in the open it will help everyone stay accountable.

Goal Setting

One of the things we have employees do in the Wellness Challenge is to set a health goal every 4 weeks. Every Friday participants get a point if they achieve that goal. The goals are personal and we recommend they be stretching but not unattainable.

For example, a goal could be:

  • Stick to my exercise schedule Monday-Friday
  • Bring my lunch to work Monday to Friday
  • Walk to work every day
  • Be in bed by 10 p.m. on weeknights
  • Turn off blue light 30 minutes before bed

With one of our clients, teams shared their personal goals among themselves and they commented that this accountability and camaraderie among colleagues was the main reason they were so successful.

If you have a close knit office or team, doing something like this could be a really helpful team building exercise. Alternatively, employees can keep their goals personal but the checking off of their goals public.

Step Challenges

One of the easiest ways to get moving is by simply walking. In a meta-analysis from University College London, walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and improved blood markers on cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress. Not to mention getting some steps in during the day is a great way to boost energy!

In order to do this challenge everyone simply needs to track their steps (most phones have this built in). Then, set a number everyone needs to reach. Usually 10,000 steps is challenging but attainable as it equates to about 1 hour and 20 minutes of walking. 

Do 10 minutes of meditation today

This is a challenge we have implemented during the HEAL Wellness Challenge and our HEAL Mindfulness Challenge. Somewhat surprisingly, it has ended up being one of the most popular challenges and one participants aren’t willing to give up once the challenge is over.

One team was able to stick to it because they booked a room in their office to do the meditation together, guided by an app like Headspace or Whil, which both have free trials. Other companies have meditation rooms or have organized a weekly guided meditation at the office by a professional. If you want to implement something like this you could start with a weekly meeting guided by a free resource or app or hire a professional to run it with you if it’s within your budget. You could also have employees do the meditations on their own time using an app like Headspace which tracks your sessions, and then have them submit their sessions to be in the running for a prize.

Some of the proven benefits of meditation include reducing anxiety, improving marital quality and communication, and initiating structural changes in the brain involves in focus and self-control.  

Have a brain snack

Many people experience the energy lull mid-afternoon (some more than others) dubbed the “afternoon slump”. During this time it can be really convenient to have something sweet to get your energy back up. The problem is that this habit can lead to blood sugar imbalances over the long term that result in brain fog, low concentration and focus, and weight-gain. Alternatively, having something healthy on hand can help to balance blood sugar levels to increase energy, improve mental clarity and help you get over the afternoon slump.

In order to help employees overcome this period of sluggishness, try implementing a weekly snack exchange where everyone brings one healthy snack for the week and everyone exchanges them to have for the day or for the week. Alternatively, divide up the days of the week so everyone is responsible for one day. This doesn’t need to be a competitive challenge but if you wanted to award a winner, have everyone choose who they thought brought the best snack.

If you’re wondering what constitutes a brain snack, ideally it:

  • Contains no refined sugar, as sugar impacts concentration and energy
  • Has some healthy fats (from nuts or seeds), which research suggests boosts cognitive performance and stabilizes mood
  • Ideally, isn't packaged or highly processed
  • Has some protein

In our HEAL Wellness Challenge, we provide all participants with a weekly meal plan that have snack ideas to achieve this challenge.

Establishing a healthy corporate culture is a challenging process and we know that running one-off programs have to be part of a wider initiative. However, running a mini challenge like any of the above can be a great way to gauge interest in broader programs.

That being said, we also know that HR professionals are busy and likely already spread very thin.  That’s where we come in. The HEAL Wellness CHallenge is turnkey, and we take care of everything from the sign ups, to the kickoff event, to managing prizes and answering questions. We also make sure every challenge will work within the framework of how your company operates. Click here to get connected and learn more about HEAL’s corporate wellness programs.

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