As a small business owner, when you encourage healthier habits in the workplace, you increase your employees’ productivity and decrease missed work days. One way to do this is by establishing perks like wellness programs and fitness challenges, which employees tend to love. Consider holding a friendly fitness competition amongst your employees, leveraging the popularity of Fitbit devices to track progress and keep everyone inspired. One great example is a step challenge to improve employee fitness among your staff.
Benefits of a Step Fitness Challenge
You can track your employee challenge easily using Fitbit devices. Activity trackers encourage people to take more steps, which means more exercise. As each employees tracks their progress against that of their colleagues, they’re motivated to get more movement in during the day. Your employees benefit from stronger bodies and improved health, and your company benefits with increased productivity from your active employees.
Establishing a Step Challenge
When you create a small committee to organize the event, you give employees ownership in the challenge, which may increase participation. Fitbit offers a corporate challenge plan with discounts for bulk Fitbit device purchases.
If you have a small staff, you can create challenges within Fitbit for free. Adventure race challenges allow up to 30 people, while other challenge types have a limit of 10 participants. You can invite your employees to join the challenge through the Fitbit app for easy tracking. When creating the challenge, determine start and end dates and any rules or guidelines. Determine how a winner is chosen so there is no confusion or room for disagreement.
Some employees find the competition to be enough of a motivator to participate in a Fitbit challenge at work. Others need a little more motivation to participate. You might offer an incentive just for participating — maybe a water bottle, one-month gym membership, or gift cards to a healthy restaurant. This option makes the challenge more appealing to a broad audience, even those who feel like they have no chance of winning.
If you have larger prizes for the competition, you might award them to the top step taker as a reward for the motivation. Another option is to hold a drawing so all participating employees have a chance to win. You can also combine the options, with the person taking the most steps winning the big prize and everyone else going into a drawing for additional prizes.
If you’re holding an extended competition, you might need weekly motivators to keep interest high. Consider awarding weekly winners some type of prize or reward. The person with the most steps each week might win a free lunch from a nearby healthy restaurant, or weekly winners may go into a drawing for a prize at the end of the competition.
Potential Drawbacks to Consider
Not everyone enjoys fitness-based competitions, so exercise caution when creating your step challenge. Small business fitness initiatives often focus on improving the health of employees, but the people who need the health changes the most may be resistant to the idea. People who are overweight, out of shape, or who have health conditions may feel like they have a disadvantage going against their fit colleagues. Organize the competition so participation is not mandatory. Avoid punishing those who don’t participate, and look for ways to encourage participation from those who need it most.
Another consideration is the legal aspect. If you’re organizing the challenge, you potentially have access to your employees’ personal data. Avoid using that data in any way that could present a legal problem. Don’t use the information against an employee, and don’t make anyone feel bad for not performing as well as colleagues.
Hosting a step challenge is a way to add some friendly competition while encouraging employees to stay active. Organize the challenge to be fun and engaging without excluding people to boost employee morale.