What if your hardest work challenge was tied to the best thing you can do for your employees?
Fitness challenges at work are a great way to bring your team together and focus them on collective goals. Encouraging physical fitness can make employees healthier, which may mean fewer trips to the doctor. Having healthier employees can even lower how much you pay for employee health insurance!
Unfortunately, a Gallup poll found that less than a quarter of workers participate in these kinds of fitness challenges. Getting people to participate in a physical challenge can be – well, challenging. Here are some ideas to help get over the reluctance to participate.
Provide Different Options For a Workspace Fitness Challenge
The “rookie mistake” most office managers make is trying to create a “one-size-fits-all” fitness challenge. However, take a look around your office: You will quickly see a wide variety of lifestyles and fitness levels. If you provide only one challenge, then it will be easier for some employees and harder (if not impossible) for others.
That’s why we recommend “gamifying” your fitness challenge and creating different options. Gamifying means applying elements of game playing to encourage engagement. In this system, walking X amount of steps might be worth a certain amount of points, whereas planking or climbing stairs for Y minutes will be worth more points.
It’s important that the points reflect the difficulty of completing the task. By providing enough different challenge options, a good manager makes it easier for virtually anyone to play.
Set a Major Goal for Participants in a Fitness Challenge to Achieve
Every office fitness challenge needs a goal. Sometimes, these goals are things like losing a certain number of collective pounds, but this effectively rewards employees with higher metabolisms and more active lifestyles (generally, your younger employees).
Instead, we recommend setting a collective “high score” challenge for the office. Each of the challenges you create and that employees complete contributes to that score. So when the office hits a high score, everybody who completed even a single mini-challenge will know they played their part.
Promoting Involvement in a Fitness Challenge by Providing Employee Incentives
Earlier, we touched on the fact that most employees don’t participate in office fitness challenges. If you want to change that around your own office, you need to provide specific employee incentives.
The incentives should be tangible and should reflect the challenges workers are completing. For example, maybe you give someone some promotional items (like pens, cups, and koozies) just for signing up. But you offer bigger rewards (such as a free lunch at a nice restaurant or a paid day off) for completing major challenges.
To encourage a bit of friendly competition, you should have prizes set aside for the first employee to complete certain challenges. This helps motivate your most competitive employees to put even more points on the board!
Track Progress in an Office Fitness Challenge
Perhaps the most challenging part of the fitness challenge is tracking employee progress toward goals. However, doing so is a vital part of making the challenges effective.
Depending on the challenges, you may be able to track things manually. For example, having one employee verify how long another employee planked or walked around the office. If workers have smartwatches or fitness trackers, you can also collect this data.
To really keep track of everything, though, we recommend using a fitness tracking app such as MoveSpring to know where each employee stands. Workers should adjust easily to this since they are accustomed to technology in the workplace.
Don’t keep everything restricted to the digital realm, though: For example, creating a tangible progress poster everyone can see from their cubicles will help motivate them every time they look up.
Praise Your Fitness Challenge Winners
Once you set up challenges and have workers participating, it’s time for the fun part: publicly praising your winners!
To keep employees motivated, it’s important for good leaders to single employees out for praise when they complete challenges. Don’t just send an email; make a big deal announcing it to the office and presenting the employee with their reward.
Doing this encourages that worker to dive back in and complete additional challenges. Reward ceremonies may even motivate employees who have been on the fence to start playing.
Don’t Wait For Your Own Winning Challenge
Now you know how to create a fitness challenge for your work team. But do you know where you can find the challenge that you’ve been waiting for?