With millions of employees working remotely since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the definition of employee wellness and workplace culture has changed entirely. Studies show that even after normalcy resumes, 7% of the employees prefer working remotely.
According to a CDC report, even before the pandemic started, almost 80% of Americans were not getting the recommended amount of physical activity for the week. With the current remote working situation, the little physical activity that came from the daily commute, walks and talks at the workplace, lunch breaks, and other workplace culture traditions have come to a halt. This lack of minimum physical activity has raised the risk of lifestyle-related diseases, thus raising the expensive healthcare costs and insurance claims.
Many employers have implemented corporate wellness programs with the best-suited wellbeing initiatives to ensure employees are healthy, engaged, and productive, even while working remotely. Corporate wellness challenges are one of the most effective employee engagement strategies that also keep your remote working teams active and healthy.
Employers can assign suitable corporate wellness challenges ideas for employees from a robust wellness program platform that is built with the latest corporate wellness technology to be flexible and scalable to accommodate specific employee wellness demands.
Here are 5 simple, yet crucial corporate wellness challenges ideas for 2021 that can help remote working teams stay healthy and active.
1. Physical Activity Wellness Challenges
Commuting, roaming around the office and other physical activities at the workplace helped employees take at least some steps in the whole day. Without those daily activities, the physical activity count has fallen down the cliff, affecting physical and mental health. Well-designed employee wellness programs, like that from Wellness360, allow employers to easily create, schedule, and assign workplace wellness challenges for exercise and movement to ensure employees get their recommended amount of weekly physical activity of at least 7500 to 10,000 steps daily.
The wellness program platform must be compatible with popular wearable devices like the Apple Watch, Fitbit, etc., and tracking apps like Strava, Google Fit, HealthKit, and others. This type of corporate wellness technology makes data integration easy for the users to log their activity details automatically and track them. Employers can also create employee wellness challenges for yoga, virtual team challenges rewarding the team with the highest aggregate step count, and likewise.
2. Nutrition Wellness Program Challenges
Eating healthy contributes to 70% of complete wellbeing. With remote working employees finding it difficult to have a work-life balance, they often tend to eat unhealthy food that is preserved, canned, fried, salty, or sweet. Also, employees who are looking to lose weight can be easily lured by the fad diet culture, which can cause more harm than benefits.
Employers must implement nutrition wellness challenges in which employees need to cook their own healthy food at home and post a picture or share the recipe to win rewards. Employers can also arrange virtual potluck lunches for the whole team to be engaged and eat healthily. Employers can also set nutrition wellness challenges on a specific day where the teams have to cook using specific ingredients, fresh seasonal produce, color-based food, or theme-based recipes to make cooking more interesting and healthy. The corporate wellness platform must support other apps that count and track calories and macros for employees to know they are having a balanced diet daily.
3. Hydration Wellbeing Challenges
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, typically a male adult in the US must consume at least 15 cups of water daily, and a woman must drink a minimum of 11 cups. Many studies show that 75% of American adults suffer from chronic dehydration, causing headaches, nausea, fatigue, and lack of concentration, impacting employee health, productivity, and overall wellbeing.
Employers can start hydration challenges in which employees have to track the amount of water they drink on the corporate wellness platform or the wellness app. They can also encourage sharing recipes for hydration like cinnamon water, green tea variants, and more to make sure they keep water healthily without sugar or preservatives.
4. Better Sleep Wellbeing Challenges
While it may seem strange about a workplace wellness challenge that promotes sleeping, it is indeed a vital factor for holistic health. Often neglected, sleep is one of the vital holistic wellness aspects. Many health organizations recommend at least 7 hours of undisturbed sleep daily for good health. Lack of sleep can cause fatigue, disturb mood, affect decision-making skills, and loss of concentration, which may lead to accidents, poor employee productivity, and chronic diseases like obesity, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other ailments.
The wellness program administrators can assign better sleep wellness challenges in which employees have to track their sleep hours every day on the corporate wellness platform. Those who seem to have trouble sleeping well can be offered coaching or other supporting resources to improve their sleeping habits.
5. Mental Wellness Challenges Ideas
There are plenty of studies that prove the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on employee mental health. A study by The Standard revealed that employee mental wellness and behavioral health declined during the pandemic. Also, remote working employees are struggling to maintain a work-life balance. Furthermore, social isolation has stressed them, affecting employee mental wellness.
Mental wellness challenges ideas can include meditation, deep-breathing exercises, yoga, maintaining a journal, home gardening, and other activities. Employers can keep a check on their corporate wellness challenges progress to offer other relevant resources. Also, conducting behavior change webinars or expert consultations can help employees overcome their isolation anxiety and deal with the situation more positively.
The health benefits of regular exercise, healthy eating, sleeping well, and a stress-free mind are endless. Be it at the workplace or for remote working employees, holistic wellness challenges can reduce the risk of chronic health issues by improving circulation, better sleep, weight loss, and a better immune system. The healthy outcomes of these corporate wellness challenges can reduce healthcare costs, insurance claims, and absenteeism rates, all leading to better employee wellness, better workplace culture, and organizational productivity.