Whether you are working remotely or in a coworking space, putting on a Wellness Challenge is a great way to bring your employees together and promote well-being throughout the staff. These kinds of challenges always offer benefits, but the events of 2020 have made something like this even more important. During difficult times, we can all come together and support each other to be the best we can be. 

Your team needs a way to stay connected and build the kind relationships that people get from working in-office.. For us, our challenge turned out to be the perfect way to do just that. In the end, our remote challenge was a big success, and we would like to share some of what we learned along the way. Specifically, we’d like to provide some tips on how you can maximize participation in your own challenge. Let’s get started!

#1 – Timing is Everything

There are a couple of key points to think about with regard to the timing of your challenge. First, you want to set a specific start and end date for the event, so participants know exactly what they are getting into. Also, you should set the start date far enough from the announcement of the challenge for people to have time to get ready. 

It’s important to establish a start and end date so people are clear on what the event will look like once it gets started. If you leave it open-ended, you’ll be less likely to get participation – employees might be worried about getting involved in something that will just keep going on and on. We decided on a three-month timeline for our challenge, but you can obviously adjust that to suit your needs. 

As far as timing the announcement, this is not something that you want to spring on your staff at the last minute. People who are interested in participating might want to get some new walking/running shoes before it starts or pick up some healthy foods from the grocery store. Allow at least a week or two for everyone who joins to get organized. 

#2 – Keep It Simple

Your employees are busy enough. In creating a Wellness Challenge, the last thing you want to do is create a headache that they need to manage day after day. The challenge should have a positive impact on their life, not something that is another source of stress. 

To keep our challenge simple, we created a dedicated Slack channel that we would use to track progress on a weekly basis. We already use Slack, so this was a natural choice for our organization. Set up something that will be easy for your employees to use and they’ll be more likely to take part. 

#3 – Emphasize Inclusion

Some people in your organization won’t be particularly competitive – they won’t want to take part in something where they feel like they have to fight to win. And, of course, that’s pretty much the opposite of the goal in a Wellness Challenge. This event should be about promoting community, support, and overall well-being. 

When you announce the challenge, be sure to focus on the fact that this is not meant to be a cutthroat competition. You might decide to give out some participation prizes, but those should be minor and secondary to the main point of building better habits and staying connected. 

#4 – Diversify Your Activities

The core of a Wellness Challenge is a list of activities that can be performed in order to earn points. It’s easy to fall into the trap of making this only about exercise and diet – but that approach is missing some key elements that could encourage more people to join in. 

For our challenge, we did have opportunities to earn points by doing things like exercising or eating veggies. However, we also had points available for doing a digital detox, getting enough sleep, doing non-work reading, journaling, etc. Creating a list of diverse activities encourages more people to participate because some of your employees simply might not be interested in making diet changes or exercising more. Adding as many different activities as you can think of will make this event more appealing to a wider audience. 

#5 – It Should Be Fun!

Simply put, this challenge should be fun – it should not feel like more work. If everything about it seems fun right from the start, more people will want to take part, because who doesn’t like fun? 

Making it fun comes down to featuring enjoyable activities and promoting communication between those participating in the challenge. In the days of remote work, you can hold periodic digital meetings to chat about your progress. Or, if you are in a coworking space, you can invite other team members to join you on a weekly basis to have a challenge check-in. Fostering a sense of community is one of the best things about going through a challenge like this, so don’t skimp on the interactive elements. 

At Service Direct, we view our Wellness Challenge as one of the best things to come out of a challenging year in 2020. The event was enjoyed by many on our staff and we look forward to doing another one in the near future – hopefully with the option of in-person events. We hope these tips get your upcoming employee wellness event off to a great start!