20 Fun and Engaging Wellness Challenge Ideas for the Today’s Workforce

wellness challenge ideas

20 Fun and Engaging Wellness Challenge Ideas for the Today’s Workforce

Wellness challenge ideas are a hot trend in today’s workforce! They offer employees a fun way to improve their health and boost workplace happiness. These challenges can cover a wide range of activities, from financial wellness and hydration challenges to detox programs. By participating in workplace wellness challenges, organizations can see improvements in employee behavior, productivity, and job satisfaction. In this blog, we’ll share 20 fun and engaging wellness challenge ideas to get your employees moving!

What is a Wellness Challenge?

A Wellness Challenge helps employees by developing healthy lifestyle habits that influence both their physical and mental health. These challenges can either be done individually or in teams. To make these challenges engaging they are rewarded with redeemable points for completing certain predefined milestones like walking for 2 miles, climbing stairs twice a day, eating healthy, etc., Workplace wellness challenges are vital for both organizations and employees. Organizations can launch several challenges or implement an activity every week. 

Wellness Challenges for Employees

Employees often experience work pressure, which can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle. To promote a healthier way of living, organizations organize wellness challenges. Below are 20 wellness challenges for employees’ well-being.

List of Top Employee Wellness Challenges

1. Healthy Cooking Challenge

Healthy food options help employees improve mood, energy, and cognitive performance. It also lowers stress and increases productivity. Organizations can encourage this by providing a variety of healthful options in meeting rooms, cafeterias, and vending machines. Organizations should encourage healthier eating choices by providing access to nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, etc., which enhances employee well-being.

Example: The company should decide on a month-long cooking challenge where teams of 3-5 employees create and share nutritious recipes. Teams cook together weekly, documenting their experiences and sharing tips on healthy eating habits. Recipes emphasize balance and cater to various dietary needs. At the end, teams present their favorite recipes, highlighting insights gained. The winning team, chosen for creativity and contribution to well-being, receives a health-related prize.

2. Pet Therapy

Pet therapy (especially dogs and cats) is one of the wellness challenge ideas that impacts employees’ emotional and physical health. Having interactions with pets lowers anxiety levels and naturally elevates mood by releasing oxytocin. They also reduce stress levels, increase productivity and attention, fostering more social engagement.

Example: If you have a pet take it to the office once a week or a month. Let others play or interact with the pet. This interaction between the pet and the employees will improve mood.

3. Stress Management Techniques

Stress management techniques help individuals recognize triggers and create coping mechanisms to reduce stress. Practicing meditation gives employees peace and mindfulness. This is one of the workplace wellness challenges that build a community of support among employees, which makes the workplace more concentrated and effective. 

Example: Hire a yoga or meditation specialist. Once a week, all employees should be gathered in the meeting room or another central location in the office. After making them comfortable, give them a 15- to 20-minute meditation session. This eases their tension, clears confusion, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and boosts morale promoting a positive atmosphere. 

4. Steps Challenge

Steps challenges are based on how many steps employees walk during the day in the workplace. They can compete individually or as teams, setting goals. Steps can be tracked by installing apps like Fitbit or Step Step Go on the phone. These apps track the steps, distance, and time and even give rewards. Furthermore, group walking sessions can also be conducted for employee well-being.

Example:  For instance, HR may decide to start the challenge with a step goal of 8,000 steps per day and increase it by 2,000 steps per day each week. After that, the employees would receive rewards for taking more steps and be encouraged to lead active lives.

5. Social Connections Challenge

Introducing social wellness challenge ideas to the workplace promotes well-being and team cooperation. These challenges develop meaningful interactions and a healthy work environment by taking small pauses from work. Employee engagement initiatives include scavenger hunts and office trivia contests, in which remote team members can take part via gaming applications. These challenges foster connections and teamwork, which builds a positive work environment that enhances overall employee well-being.

Example: Engaging in activities such as hiking, escape rooms, or paintball can enhance one’s ability to solve problems, foster teamwork, and improve communication.

6. Sleep Challenge

Employees who take part in sleep challenges have a chance to focus on their health by developing good sleeping habits. Keeping track of sleep hours each night might be a useful strategy for encouraging healthy competition to see who can get the most restorative sleep. Apps like Sleep Tracker and Sleep Bot can be used to monitor sleep hours.

Example: To improve employee wellbeing, the company should host a sleep challenge. Workshops on the value of sleep, sleep hygiene, measuring sleep patterns, and creating regular nighttime routines should all be included. 

7. Digital Detox Challenge

Introducing digital detox as a part of wellness challenge ideas is necessary as it reveals excessive screen usage, with adults spending around half of their waking hours checking their phones 150 times daily. Employees can set manageable goals and earn points for achievements. Apps like Off Time, Flipd, App Detox, etc., help lock your phone for the hours you set.

Example: Non-tech meetings, one-screen limit, screen breaks, tech-free windows, and no notifications are some ways to avoid distractions from phones and laptops. Ensure employees refrain from checking their phones or laptops for at least two hours to maintain their eye health. 

8. Reading Challenge

Reading is pivotal in the job because it develops creativity and intellectual well-being. It also enhances vocabulary, critical thinking, and communication. Companies can support this by setting up work libraries and encouraging employees to share books, which can improve empathy and create a healthy work environment. 

Example: Find the right topic, carefully choose the book, read it every day for half an hour, and know what’s in it. And also discuss with your fellow teammates what you have read for engagement. This will help the employees improve their reading, thinking, and communication skills.

9. Employee Recognition Challenge

Recognizing and thanking employees is a highly effective way to improve job satisfaction, lower stress levels, and raise morale. They can be given orally or through prizes, bonuses, awards, or incentives, which validate their effort and commitment and help them feel valued and appreciated. A culture of excellence and a healthy work environment are promoted by putting in place a systematic award program.

Example: Think about putting up a board or designating a wall where everyone may post encouraging notes to their colleagues. In addition to encouraging workers who have received recognition to keep up their excellent jobs, this can assist create a positive work environment where team members encourage one another’s performance and success.

10. Hydration Challenge

Hydration should be a top priority for employee wellness programs to successfully maintain general health. Establishing a hydration station or canteen, enforcing water breaks, using software to post hydration reminders, and providing water bottles are some ways to include hydration in workplace wellness plans and encourage easy access to water for staff members.

Example: A five-day water challenge week can be used to encourage employees to stay hydrated, with progress recorded on a whiteboard or communication app about the number of glasses they drank. Based on this incentives such as gift cards can be given to encourage participation. For a cool twist, make sure there is infused water available in the break room so that everyone benefits from hydration.

11. Financial Wellness

The 2019 PwC Employee Financial Wellness Survey found that 59% of employees are stressed about finances, impacting their work performance and health. Financial Wellness Challenges help by assessing employees’ finances and offering private sessions with financial consultants, webinars, and seminars. Incentives like medical insurance and reward points are provided to support employees in managing their finances effectively.

Example: There are a few ways on how to implement financial wellness initiatives in the workplace. Encourage saving by setting challenges to reduce impulse spending and celebrate achievements together. Utilize mobile apps for engagement and host virtual Q&A sessions led by HR or finance departments. Clarify benefit changes during financial challenges to promote financial literacy among employees.

12. Gratitude Challenge

A gratitude challenge at work encourages employees to acknowledge and share the good things that come from their experiences, coworkers, and work environment. It usually lasts for a predetermined amount of time, during which participants concentrate on recognizing and naming workplace blessings. It also raises morale, increases employee engagement, and cultivates a healthy work culture.

Example: Make a list of the three things you are thankful for. Name three good traits you think your supervisor possesses. Take a complete day off from complaining and express your gratitude to your coworkers for their assistance.

13. Volunteering

Employees who volunteer gain confidence, develop new abilities, are happier, and are more likely to become leaders. Employees who have paid time off or flexible scheduling feel more empowered to support important causes. By engaging in volunteer initiatives, they can enhance and distribute their skills within themselves. Additionally, volunteering has been connected to higher levels of contentment, which boosts output. In general, volunteering improves community impact, employee growth, and satisfaction. 

Example:  To encourage employee engagement in volunteer work, they should be divided into teams to compete to do the most hours of work in the allotted period. Organizing charitable events, taking part in neighborhood cleanup projects, and helping at shelters are examples of activities. Incentives are given to the team that puts in the most hours, encouraging cooperation and involvement in the community.

14. Zumba Session

Zumba Fitness, a popular dance-inspired workout, has gained global popularity for its fun and effective approach to fitness. This dance form can be incorporated into workplace wellness challenges as it helps in core strength, flexibility, and weight management. In the workplace, Zumba reduces stress and boosts productivity among employees. These corporate programs offer a dynamic way to enhance employee well-being and workplace culture.

Example: Incorporating Zumba classes and weekly workshops led by trained teachers into the work environment after work or during lunch breaks promotes physical exercise. Also, Zumba’s challenges with rewards promote involvement and help employees meet their fitness goals. 

15. Skill Exchange

For good reason, the practice of “skill swapping” has grown in popularity in the workplace in recent years. It is an easy and efficient technique to raise productivity in a company. The idea is simple: workers exchange skills with one another so that everyone can learn new things and broaden their expertise. This offers chances for both professional and personal development, as well as the possibility to forge closer bonds with coworkers.

Example: For instance, a social media marketer and a website designer could exchange skills. While marketers may learn how to create better websites, designers can learn how to enhance their social media presence.

16. Tobacco Cessation

A study conducted by COMMIT(Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation) involving smokers from 20 communities in the US highlighted that workplace tobacco cessation programs have proven highly effective. These initiatives offer comprehensive support services, including counseling and nicotine replacement therapy, empowering employees to quit tobacco successfully. Participants experienced reduced dependency, increased quit attempts, and positive shifts in attitudes toward tobacco. With incentives and rewards for success, these programs promote engagement and adherence, ultimately fostering healthier workplaces and communities.

Example: Implementing workplace tobacco cessation programs is crucial for employee health. This includes offering structured cessation programs, educational workshops, and tobacco-free policies. Providing access to resources like counseling, nicotine replacement therapy, and peer support groups is essential. 

17. Sustainability Challenge

Sustainability challenges in the workplace promote employee well-being by fostering a sense of purpose and engagement. By addressing social and environmental concerns, employees feel empowered, leading to higher job satisfaction and morale. This, in turn, enhances overall well-being, contributing to a healthier and more fulfilling work environment.

Example: Sustainability can be obtained by organizing programs like energy-saving campaigns, recycling initiatives, and waste reduction. These cooperative initiatives improve team dynamics and connections in addition to fostering a pleasant workplace culture. 

18. Flexible Working Hours

In the modern days, workplace wellness challenges like flexible work schedules are a game-changer because they address the stress that comes with set work hours. Employers can greatly reduce this stress by enabling workers to schedule work around their personal lives. This can be achieved by reduced workweeks, flexible start and end schedules, or telecommuting. Employees are empowered to work during their most productive hours because of this flexibility, which also raises job satisfaction, and boosts general well-being. 

Example: One example is “flextime,” which allows employees to customize their workday’s start and end times to suit their schedules. Additionally, some firms offer flexible or limitless paid time off. Another is “flex place”, sometimes called telecommuting or teleworking, which enables them to work remotely from home or another location. Certain individuals work from home 100 percent of the time, while others could visit the office a few days a week. They and their team members can decide on specifics like working hours and how they will interact with clients and coworkers under this arrangement.

19. Gym Challenges

Balancing work and health can be tough, especially finding time for exercise. Encourage 

employees to set personal fitness goals and commit to training five days a week, rewarding each day completed. Bring in personal trainers to create tailored workout plans and guide employees. Offer flexible scheduling to support exercise routines and promote a healthier work-life balance.

Example: One excellent way to keep up employees’ mobility and fitness levels is to challenge themselves to a 30-minute workout every day. Exercises for this 30-minute workout can include lunges, planks, burpees, etc. 

20. Self Care

Promoting self-care in the workplace is crucial for preventing burnout. Incorporate short meditation breaks between tasks using apps like Insight Timer or Headspace. Take regular breaks every 90 minutes for relaxation, such as listening to music or calling a loved one. Keep a separate journal for expressing emotions to identify stressors and coping patterns.

Example: Self-care techniques in the workplace include putting work-life balance first, taking regular breaks, and engaging in mindfulness exercises. During breaks, employees can practice deep breathing exercises, stretching, or quick walks to refuel. 

Conclusion 


In conclusion, wellness challenges in the workplace offer diverse opportunities for enhancing employee well-being. The 20 challenge ideas presented cover various aspects of wellness, from physical fitness and nutrition to stress management and financial health. By engaging employees in these challenges, organizations can promote healthier lifestyle habits, boost morale, and improve overall job satisfaction. Having platforms like Wellness360 streamlines participation and supports a culture of health and happiness, benefiting both employees and the organization.

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