It’s no secret that healthier employees are making larger contributions in their homes, communities and workplace. Employers have taken notice and are looking for ways to support employees in developing positive lifestyle changes. One of the most successful and affordable ways companies can help their employees live healthier is by implementing a wellness challenge.
Wellness challenges are usually 3-6 weeks in length where employees can participate in a virtual competition with their peers. By design, challenges encourage the adoption of one or more healthy habits often through gamification and rewards for goal achievement. Common wellness challenges include walking challenges where members must complete a certain number of steps each day in order to achieve the goal. Options for wellness challenges continue to expand beyond walking challenges to focus on overall well-being to include financial, stress management, mental health, and more.
Here are some of the key benefits that implementing a wellness challenge can have for your organization:
1. Increase Social Connectedness
Participating in a wellness challenge increases opportunity for employees to connect with each other outside of work. Challenges can be designed to promote teamwork, bonding and healthy competition, three key factors in the health and success of an organization and employees. Research shows that employees who are socially connected to their colleagues have greater job satisfaction, increased productivity and are more committed to the organization long term. 
2. Improve Morale
Supporting a wellness challenges for employees shows members that the organization has concern for them individually and are invested in their long-term success and happiness. Employees who perceive that their employer cares about them are much more likely to stay and are more engaged both in and outside the organization.
3. Lower Risk for Chronic Disease
Wellness challenges promote the adoption of long term, sustainable healthy habits. Such habits can include regular walking or activity, increase in fruit and veggie intake, sleep improvement, stress management and more. Healthy habit formation has been shown to improve cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. This in turn reduces long term risk for developing heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, the most common chronic and preventable diseases in the US.
Ready to learn more about how to implement a well-being challenge at your organization? Contact us today and speak with our team to get started. We’re here to help your population on the path to achieving their health goals.
 From Evidence to Practice: Workplace Wellness that Works. Institute for Health and Productivity Studies Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 9/15.