According to DataReportal, average Americans spend around seven hours and 11 minutes looking at a screen every day. That’s an enormous amount of computer time, and we often spend it sitting down. A corporate culture that overemphasizes productivity often forces workers to deprioritize physical activity.
However, the latter is far more important to our physical and mental health. We don’t need to tell you all the benefits of exercise right now — the new question is, how do you help your employees (and yourself) get the exercise you need throughout each day?
Step challenges are an excellent way to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Whether walking or running, at work or home, most people can make time for steps. Let’s discuss how you can implement a 30-day step challenge at work and make it a success!
First, let’s define a step challenge: a challenge requiring participants to track the number of steps they walk or run until an end date (e.g., after 30 days in this case).
There are generally two kinds of step challenges. One is where individuals try to reach daily, weekly, or monthly goals and compete against each other, or where participants team up and calculate their total number of steps. Both have their advantages; it just depends on what motivates your employees or coworkers to participate more. You don’t have to make it a friendly competition, either; sometimes, not competing at all and achieving personal goals is satisfying enough.
Before you get too far, the most critical thing you can do is ask your employees and coworkers what they want out of a 30-day step challenge. You don’t want to launch a program that isn’t made with its participants in mind. Otherwise, no one will want to partake, and it won’t do anyone any good.
Send out a survey announcing your intention to start a step challenge. Now is a perfect opportunity to ask your team members their preferences: what motivates them? How do they like to be encouraged? Would they prefer to compete solo or work in smaller teams? The more you know, the better you can design your challenge, so people enjoy it.
It’s essential to recognize that not all of your colleagues and employees will be able to participate in a step challenge. Individuals who use wheelchairs and other mobility devices and those who live with chronic pain or conditions that make standing for long periods of time difficult won’t be able to partake in the same way — but that doesn’t mean they can’t participate at all.
Ask them what else they’d like to measure (if anything) and support their goals. Maybe they’d like to measure general movement or upper-body workouts instead of steps. Your wellness program needs to be inclusive, so work with team members who have disabilities to find ways for them to engage in whatever physical activity they’re comfortable with.
This is the fun part — offering rewards! Incentives are an essential component of any workplace step challenge template because they encourage people to join. Some individuals may choose to participate because they’re mindful of physical health (and the benefits of exercise for mental health), but others may need more motivation.
Whether your challenge is for individuals or teams, offer winners prizes like:
The better your prizes are — and the more you tailor them to what your employees want — the more motivated participants you’ll have.
Now it’s time to write your challenge’s rules. Fortunately, step challenges don’t really have any typical rules you have to follow, so you can make your own! Your rules, however, will govern how your program operates and what determines success.
For example, participants can agree to meet daily goals, like the recommended 10,000 steps each day. Or, you can set a goal of 300,000 steps a month so people can allocate their steps as they please (for example, 5,000 steps one day and 15,000 the next to make up). If you’re doing a team-style challenge, it’s best to ensure specific team members aren’t doing most of the work while others slack off, so maybe establish a maximum step count participants can submit toward their team’s total.
Does your office or work-from-home job entail sitting down all day? There’s no reason you have to be at your screens to be productive. Instead of giving team members no choice but to get their steps in before and after work, why not make fitness part of the workday? Give walking meetings a try. Rather than sit in a conference room or together via Zoom, take your meetings outside or use an app like Spot if you’re apart. Walking meetings are an excellent way to incorporate steps at regular intervals. Plus, going for a stroll gets you outside, and walking is known to boost your creativity and problem-solving abilities.
Determine how you’ll count steps. Fitbits are an option (albeit expensive, so you’ll have to buy them for your employees), as are apps for mobile devices (which offer varying degrees of accuracy) or tried-and-true pocket pedometers. The more precise your counting method, the more accurate your results will be — and the less likely anyone will demand a recount.
The final stage of setting up a 30-day step challenge is promoting it! The effort involved will depend on the size of your company, so determine the best channels for raising awareness and drawing attention. Social media, internal message boards, online workspaces, email, and even posters for in-office workers are all possibilities. Many workplace step challenges fail because not enough people know about them, so the more people you tell, the more engagement you’ll have.
30-day step challenges are excellent team-building opportunities that promote physical and mental health. Check out Spot’s blog for more information about the benefits of walking during working hours and how you can make fitness a part of your daily routine.
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