Office workers are more sedentary than ever. The average employee with a desk job spends hours and hours on a computer every day, even though the human body isn’t meant to be stagnant for so long. We need motion to be healthy, which is why doctors recommend we walk at least 10,000 steps every day.
Companies that care about their employees’ health understand that too much sitting is harmful. Fortunately, many organizations are starting to host “step challenges” to get them up and moving and support their physical and mental health. A step challenge entails setting a goal and walking that number of steps every day or week. You don’t want to stop at asking your employees how many steps they’d like to take, though — you need to involve the whole office and make it fun.
Step challenges are an opportunity to help your team to live healthier lifestyles. Most people would if they had more time, but work consumes large portions of our days and often prevents us from making time for exercise. If you’re an employer or manager, or even an employee wanting to motivate yourself, initiating step challenges and allowing people the time to do so can boost productivity and cultivate a more positive company culture. A friendly, low-stakes competition or team effort builds morale. Plus, walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise there is — you’re not asking anyone to participate in a weightlifting competition!
Here are a few creative ways to execute an office step challenge:
Meetings are a normal part of most people’s workdays, so taking them outside is an excellent way to exercise throughout the day instead of waiting until work is over. Why sit at your computer or in a conference room when you could go for a stroll through your neighborhood or nearby park? Fresh air will rejuvenate you and help you tackle the remainder of your tasks.
Walking meetings are easy to incorporate into step challenges. If your goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day, then any opportunity to get closer is a good one, especially if you can multitask by conversing with your colleagues at the same time. You can use an app like Spot to ensure your meeting technology is designed with walking meetings in mind.
Have you ever watched the Amazing Race? You don’t need to send your team around the world, but you can send them around your office’s neighborhood (or employees’ respective neighborhoods if they work remotely) on a fun scavenger hunt. Put people into teams and give them all kinds of fun tasks, clues, and challenges that require them to move around and work together. An activity like this is also advantageous for building closer relationships and creating a team that works more in sync with each other.
One of the most popular reasons for initiating a step challenge is fundraising. Your team can use an app to connect with charities or solicit from family and friends. Ask them to sponsor your challenge, such as by donating an amount of money for meeting different step thresholds or overall goals. This method is especially motivating because you’re collecting funds for a cause you care about, pushing you to meet your objectives, so the charity receives as large a donation as possible.
A typical step challenge entails meeting a step count goal, such as 8,000 steps per day (if 10,000 isn’t feasible) or 40,000 steps per week. You don’t have to structure your challenge in a set way, though. Instead, try running a “virtual” marathon: use an app that tracks your progress walking 26.2 miles over a given period. It’s obviously not the same as walking a full marathon in a day because you can spread it out over several, but you might find the distance objective more motivating than a step count. Even though virtual marathons aren’t the same as traditional ones, you still get to be proud of yourself for walking a marathon distance.
You don’t have to count steps themselves, either. To make the challenge more inclusive, you can measure details like minutes spent exercising or distance traveled without a vehicle. Not everyone can walk, so identify an activity your whole staff can participate in that still encourages exercise and team bonding.
Is the challenge itself not motivating enough? Nothing makes people want to walk more than when their pets are around! Have everyone bring their dog or other walkable animals to work and go for a stroll that gets your steps in. Remote workers with pets have even less of an excuse not to walk, so you can ask them to take photos and videos of themselves with their furry friends while exercising.
Your step challenge doesn’t have to last for a week before your team calls it quits. Instead, set a recurring goal to meet each day, week, or month, so you stay active and have more subjects to bond with your colleagues over. If you offer a prize to whoever walks the most or meets a shared goal the fastest, hosting multiple step challenges every year opens the possibility for everyone on the team to win at some point.
Ready to get your team moving with its next step challenge? As mentioned previously, it helps to have the right tools for working and walking simultaneously. Spot is an advantageous solution that encourages you to walk in the middle of the day and helps boost your productivity. Learn more about Spot here.
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