A growing number of people around the world live sedentary lifestyles, meaning they’re not getting enough physical activity. There are dangers to not exercising: too little activity increases the risk of heart diseases, high blood pressure, strokes, and more.
A significant reason why people aren’t sufficiently active is because they are sitting during the workday.. Many jobs' nature expects employees to sit in front of screens for several hours every day, typing, analyzing data, and communicating with colleagues. Workdays are long — humans aren’t made to sit for eight hours every day — so many people don’t feel like they have the time or energy to work out before and after their shifts.
If you’re an employer, you are in a prime position to impact this “culture of sitting” for your employees. Besides catering healthy lunches and subsidizing gym memberships, something significant you could do is implement a step competition. There are many benefits to walking even though it’s a light form of exercise, so you can incentivize your workers to get more activity by giving them the time and space to do so and rewarding them with prizes.
There are many step-challenge ideas out there, so how do you know what works best for your organization? Some of the most practical workplace step challenge templates you can follow include:
This kind of step challenge is the simplest and one of the most common formats. You and your employees (you should always participate in your own challenges, otherwise, why would anyone else?) can use a pedometer to count your steps — you can use a specific device or a smartphone app — and submit your total number at the end of the month. Whoever has the most wins a prize! It’s also fun to set up a leaderboard so everyone can hold each other accountable and keep track of who is winning.
You can also track your steps while walking on Spot! After connecting the health data from your mobile device, you can track how many steps you’re taking during your walking meetings.
Another version of this workplace step challenge template is having everyone set a shared goal, such as 10,000 steps per day (which many health professionals generally recommend). Whoever achieves this goal gets a lower-tier reward, and the individual and runners-up who exceed it the most win something more substantial.
If you have employees who can’t walk but still want to participate, ask them what they’d like to measure instead and what you can do to motivate and encourage them.
Want to turn your step challenge into a team-building activity? Instead of having everyone compete solo, divide your company’s participants into teams of equal sizes. Each individual still tries to walk as many steps as they can, but each team’s total steps is what counts. Whichever team gets the most steps一you guessed it一wins the prize.
Light competition can be a good motivator, but it’s not for everyone. Your employees may prefer to set individual goals and only worry about reaching their own instead of concerning themselves with anyone else’s. In this case, you can reward challenge participants whenever they reach their weekly or monthly goals.. Another option is having everyone set a shared goal, like 12,000 steps per day, and rewarding whoever reaches it most frequently. This way, multiple people can win something — maybe even everyone.
This workplace step challenge template is particularly beneficial for employees who get discouraged easily. Some people may see that they’re at the bottom of the leaderboard and decide there’s no way to catch up, so pushing themselves wouldn’t be worth it. A non-competition removes intimidation and lets everyone focus on the goals that are more feasible for them.
Another way to motivate participants and add an extra dose of fun is to make your step challenge a fundraiser. Whoever wins (or the top three) gets to donate company money to their favorite charity organization. Or, everyone gets a smaller amount to donate to their nonprofit of choice if they achieve their individual goals set at the beginning of the month.
Like many 5K walks and runs, you can also “sponsor” employees and contribute to their preferred charities according to their number of steps. The exact amount will vary between individuals this way, but the more they want to donate, the more employees will walk.
Perhaps a step challenge isn’t enough for your employees — they want more. Fortunately, there’s no reason why you can’t incorporate other activities into your wellness program! For example, you and your employees can establish goals to walk 50,000 steps a week, run for 10,000 of them, and bike ride for 10 miles. You can even count minutes spent working out at the gym, playing intramural sports, swimming, skiing, or other kinds of activities that workers enjoy. A combination challenge is an excellent way to shake up your fitness challenge and make it as fun as possible for everyone involved (as long as you don't require them to partake in activities they aren’t fans of).
Before you determine which workplace step challenge template is suitable for your company, keep these tips in mind:
Workplace step challenges are advantageous for supporting your employees in living healthier lifestyles. For more ways to make your work life less sedentary and how to make activity part of your typical day, check out Spot’s blog.
SPOT FOR TEAMS