Team Challenge Ideas for Friendly Competition and Active Employees
Work Wellness

Team Challenge Ideas for Friendly Competition and Active Employees

|Aug 13, 2023
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A little bit of healthy competition between employees is a good thing, especially when it encourages them to stay, well... healthy! Combining a team challenge with fitness and well-being is a great way to keep your staff active, engaged, and motivated at work. 

Managers and business owners looking for fun things to do at work that can work as fitness or wellness challenges can find inspiration right here, along with other creative ideas for promoting fitness and mental well-being in your workplace.

What Are the Benefits of Team Challenges for Employees?

Team fitness challenge ideas benefit employees, employers, and businesses in many ways. They are, of course, good for people’s well-being, as they help them to stay active and get healthy in a fun and manageable way.  

Introducing physical activity into the working day keeps people focused, alert, and productive. Taking 30 minutes to stretch, walk, or take part in a challenge can result in hours of higher-quality work. 

Challenges also encourage team bonds and mutual support, which benefits the working culture and makes a workplace a more enjoyable place to be. 

Although a high-quality ergonomic office chair goes a long way to helping keep people’s bodies supported and comfortable, it doesn’t negate the fact that sitting down for a long time is not good for anyone’s physical or mental health. It can also negatively affect productivity, focus, and work quality if people go too long without moving around.

What Are the Benefits of Team Challenges for Employees?

Is There Anything to Be Aware of When Arranging a Team Challenge?

  • Be aware of staff members with physical limitations who may not be able to participate in some of the more challenging activities.
  • Try to keep a good balance of fitness and wellness challenges to promote equal importance between mind and body.
  • If you are going to challenge people, make sure they have an incentive to take part. It doesn’t have to be something big, but some kind of reward for completion is a good idea.
  • Don’t force people to take part in anything they don’t want to do but try to create an encouraging and supportive environment where people feel safe and confident to try new things.
  • Think about your budget and how best to use it. Mix free activities with high-quality paid ones that are worth the money. This could be a professional class once a week or a paid event for your employees from time to time.
  • If you plan a fitness challenge or event, make sure people have plenty of notice so they come prepared.
  • The health and safety of your staff should always come first, so bear that in mind whenever you plan an activity or challenge.

Is There Anything to Be Aware of When Arranging a Team Challenge?

Types of Team Challenges to Consider

Team Fitness Activities

Physical activity is vital for keeping our bodies in good condition, but long hours in the office can interfere with people’s motivation to be active in their free time. Bringing team wellness activities in during working hours or occasionally outside of them can help inspire people to get moving.

Team Fitness Activities

Team Wellness Activities

A team wellness challenge focuses on mental health rather than physical fitness, which is every bit as important for healthy living. You should consider introducing team sessions and activities that encourage people to look after their well-being and reduce stress levels, especially in busy working environments. Regular five-minute wellness activities at work are a good place to start.  

Individual Goals and Challenges

Everyone is different, and sometimes a team challenge will not suit everyone. It is important to understand your staff as individuals and look for ways to encourage them as such. Avoid singling people out, but put it out there that anyone who has an individual goal they want to reach will be supported by the team.

Individual Goals and Challenges

Targeted Competitions

Set targets and goals for teams or individuals to hit, and the first team or person that does wins. These can be simple things like steps, push-ups, miles walked, or time spent standing at their desk rather than sitting. 

10 Team Challenge Ideas for Fitness and Wellness

1. Most Standing Time at Desks

Offices that use sit-stand desk setups for their employees can encourage people to spend more time standing by creating a little friendly competition. In this simple employee wellness challenge, you get people to tally up how much time they spend each day using their desk in the standing position. At the end of the week, the person with the longest total standing time is crowned the winner. 

Add an incentive such as an early finish one day, an extra-long lunch break, or a voucher reward. It is up to you how you monitor it, but having people log their times with a second person’s confirmation is an easy way to do it that doesn’t put too much responsibility on one person.  

If people share an L-shaped electric desk, they can participate in the challenge together. Promoting the use of a standing desk for home office workers lets them also stay involved in challenges.

Most Standing Time at Desks

2. Weekly Fitness Activities

You don’t have to make everything competitive- some activities can simply be used to bring the team together to take part in a health-boosting fitness challenge. Once a week, run a short fitness class for everyone in the office. Get everyone involved and make it part of the weekly schedule so everyone is prepared. 

It is best to keep the classes short- around half an hour is perfect. Also, avoid anything too high-octane that could alienate staff members who are not as fit or able. Things like yoga, light cardio, and simple workouts are best. Keep it fun but make fitness the focus, and ask for suggestions of the types of classes people would like to see. 

3. Step Counter Competition

Health-tracking smart bands are very popular. Many people have one, and- even if they don’t- smartphones usually have a step counter app that can do the trick. Run a step-counting contest for employees, with the person who has the most steps at the end of the week winning a small prize.  

Again, the prize can be anything you want- but it is important to incentivize the challenge so more people want to take part.  

The HEALBE GoBe3 Smart Band is an excellent choice for anyone looking to monitor their fitness and count their steps. It is available for a great price, and employers who want to really make health a central part of their office culture can save 8% when they buy in bulk from Autonomous.

Step Counter Competition

4. Team Healthy Eating Challenge

It is notoriously difficult to stick to diets when working long hours, especially when other colleagues come in with take-out and junk snacks that tempt you to do the same. The solution is to make it into a team challenge so that everyone can motivate one another. One of the best health challenge ideas for work is team healthy eating. 

These challenges can be office-wide or within individual teams, but the purpose remains the same. Get everyone on the same page about healthy eating and build comradery between employees as they embark on their journeys together. 

You may want to consider providing healthy snacks in the breakroom and disabling any junk food vending machines around the office to support staff during the challenge. If you have space in the budget, you could even arrange some healthy group lunches once or twice a week. 

This doesn’t need to be a competition. It works better if it is something people achieve together, and there could be a reward for teams that manage to successfully complete the challenge. 

5. Group Meditation Sessions

Mental well-being is just as important as physical health- and keeping your staff feeling great starts in the mind. Group meditation or other team wellness activities help people de-stress, unwind, and regroup, and doing it together creates a great team bonding experience.  

If meditation is not everyone’s thing- you can try other creative wellness activities such as yoga, gratitude sharing, or whatever works for your office culture.

Group Meditation Sessions

6. Out-of-Work Activities

Take it out of the office to further solidify your workforce comradery. Things like bowling leagues, football tournaments, hikes, and activity-packed days out are always popular, and they give people an opportunity to get to know each other better without all the work talk. 

If it is fitness you are trying to encourage, there are plenty of active ways to bring people together. Fun runs, local sports leagues, and group activity days are some good choices. Wellness has a whole other bunch of out-of-office options, including spa retreats, art classes, concerts, and casual get-togethers.  

7. Sponsored Challenges

Encourage your employees to be active and healthy at the same time as doing some good for the world. Whatever team challenges you arrange, you can make them sponsored adding to the motivation for people to succeed. 

Hikes, fun runs, step challenges, and push-up counters can all be made more effective by asking for sponsorship to complete the event or hit a certain goal. Whether you do it as a team or an individual decides to take it on alone, the rest of the office, their loved ones, your clients, and other associates can sponsor the efforts with donations to be made to a chosen charity. 

It can be as simple or as challenging as you want. You could say that if a team spends a certain amount of time standing at their desks rather than sitting, the company will donate. Another way to go is to arrange a team hill climb and gather donations from outside the circle. 

Either way, people push themselves physically, and a worthwhile cause reaps the benefits.

Sponsored Challenges

8. Race to the Finish Individual Challenge

Team challenges for work colleagues are great, but they can also work well to have individual challenges. Just like sponsored challenges, one person can set themselves a goal, and the rest of the team can get behind them to help them meet it. 

It is important not to push people into this, but you could put it out there that you are looking for people to take on certain challenges to achieve certain rewards. You can go down the sponsorship route or make it more personal, with the person completing the challenge gaining something in return.  

9. Office Sports Day

Now for a throwback to elementary school and playing games in the playground! Sports days are fun no matter what age you are, and if you pick the right challenges, there is an opportunity for everyone to shine.

Arranging an office-wide sports day where everyone gets outdoors, takes part in some physical activity, and has a bit of fun is great for morale and well-being. Don’t be afraid to be a little silly and go all-in on the schoolyard vibes- your staff may thank you for helping them feel young again! 

Some possible activities for your office sports day include three-legged races, bean bag toss, egg-and-spoon races, hula hooping, and obstacle courses. Alternatively, keep it in the office and choose themed activities, such as stapler relay races (without the staples for safety!), musical desks, trash-can paper toss, and wheely chair races. 

Just keep health and safety in mind, and be sure to move anything that could lead to equipment breakage or injury. You don’t want any visits to the grown-up nurse’s office!

Office Sports Day

10. Pop-up Competitions

If you need some challenges that don’t involve much preparation, host pop-up competitions with different physical challenges each time. Push-ups, sit-ups, planks, one-foot stands, yoga pose holds, jumping jacks, and squats are all easy to do beside a desk.  

Whoever keeps it going the longest wins! Have a few small prizes to give out to the winners each time. 

Final Thought

Encouraging employees to stay active and healthy and look after their well-being is easier than you may think, especially if you can make it fun and throw in a little competition and incentive sometimes. Using a team challenge to get people moving and build a sense of comradery amongst staff is effective, easy, and enjoyable. 

From smart desk standing challenges to group sponsored activities, there are plenty of ways to bring fitness and wellness into your office culture in a fun and sustainable way!

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