Wellness Challenges in the Workplace


As a provider of healthcare protection, health and wellness is at the core of everything I do. Don’t get me wrong, I love my champagne and cheese but I balance out my guilty pleasures with green smoothies and exercise to ensure I’m living a wholesome and well-balanced life.

At Expat Insurance, I work with a team who are also quite health conscious. Salads, fresh juices, talk of cleanses, new gym classes and Bali health retreats aren’t uncommon in our office. But as a leader, there’s a fine line when it comes to encouraging a healthy lifestyle, which is why I’ve decided to share my top advice for leaders looking to implement a wellness challenge in their workplace.

Keep It Simple The death of all wellness challenges is confusion. If your team don’t understand one element of the program, they will choose not to participate. Keeping it simple in every aspect of the program is critical. This includes how the challenge is scored and winners are determined to the rewards and prizes available to win. Keeping it simple will help you keep the communication simple, which is a must. I suggest running your challenge structure by some employees before you launch. If they don’t “get it” within a few minutes, it’s time to simplify.

Recognition is Cool

Although it may seem fair and intuitive to recognize and reward the top finishers of a challenge, the real winners should be those showing consistency, or week to week improvement as opposed to the almighty triathlete who kicks butt each time. Try to recognize the cool success stories publicly and find a way to make them eligible for rewards. Set aside prizes for the top finishers of challenges as well as those who put in a good effort. If you have a tight budget, allocate some of it to raffles for all participants so everyone has an opportunity to win a prize.

Accessible To Everyone Having a simple program isn’t enough. Employees want participation to be easy. Having to log in everyday to record your activity on a site that isn’t mobile friendly will result in frustration and low participation rates. Do everything in your power to make the participation as easy as possible for employees. For example, a company step challenge is an excellent way to encourage the team to move more each week. Using their own fitbits and mobile devices, everyone can independently track their weekly step count. Then, at the start of each week, all individuals write their total steps for the previous week on a chart for all to see. Make this a fun opportunity to bring the team together and garner some team spirit and encouragement! Wellness should be fun, not painful!

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