Want to help your employees improve productivity? Regular workday exercise is a proven cognition and mood enhancer. Sending your co-workers to the gym may be your first thought, but not every office can afford a gym, and not every employee loves to sweat.
Read on to learn more about the everyday ways you can guide your employees get moving for better health and performance.
Here are 10 walking challenge ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
1. Find the Fun
Google’s legendary workplace perks foster a culture of fun and productivity. While your company may still aspire to Google-like perks, there’s no reason exercising has to be a drag. Even Mary Poppins turned ”Let’s Tidy Up the Nursery” into a game.
One creative company “kidnapped” teams for a 15 minute walk or “jailed” the team lead. Who doesn’t love a little forced labor when the result of the office walking challenge is comparable to giving everyone a Red Bull?
2. Walk Somewhere
Some great walking challenge ideas come to mind if you look to walking “somewhere.” Offices around the world? Set up team goals to “visit” each of them. Or pick Disneyland, the Andes or Paris. Set up a “hike” along the famous trails of our national parks. Some photos and factoids at the milestones help maintain interest.
3. Make it a Game
Video game makers know how to activate those dopamine receptors. Use the power of virtual rewards to get your employees moving. The 2023 cohort of The Outbreak reports a 94.4% completion rate. Billed as the Ultimate Corporate Walking Challenge, real life movement translates into the virtual world.
Can your employees resist avoiding zombies, or better yet, being the zombies?
4. Train Together
Lots of offices have a marathon group, but what about combining mileage for “training” ? You’re your office walking challenge a team goal. Everyone combines their personal goals and then works for team accountability. Who knows, after 6 weeks you may have a few people thinking about actually completing 26.2 miles on their own.
5. Take it Outside
15 minutes of natural sunlight daily is recommended for heart health. Coincidentally, that’s also the amount of time necessary to go for a brisk walk. Make walking meetings part of your culture and corporate walking challenge. Give incentives to reach milestones. It doesn’t have to be expensive. One office buys inches of duct tape with their miles. This is the result.
6. Reward Sweat Equity
Translate steps walked into real prizes. Can you make “step bucks” work for you? Employees earn bucks and then spend them as they see fit. How about a prime parking spot? A day off? A healthy lunch?
7. Ministry of Silly Walks
Monty Python perfected the silly walk, but maybe your employees want to tighten and tone. Several programs offer a combination of body weight activities and walking. Crazier yet, go all in on prancercise!
8. Make it Personal
Have your employees issue daily or weekly personal challenges to each other. Almost everyone can eke out ONE MORE (step, mile, etc.) than their closest neighbor.
9. Gotta Have a Theme
Let your employees go a little crazy. Decorate, dress up, make t-shirts. Really tap into your employee’s creativity. Bay to Breakers is a crazy fun run in San Francisco every year. It features costumed runners, walkers, bands and a unique competition unit known as a centipede. 12 runners and an extra are physically linked together and finish the race in step.
10. Make it a Combo
Just like McDonald’s wants to know if you want fries with that, suggest a weight-loss or flexibility challenge to go with the daily walk. Or maybe work in your corporate social responsibility goals- like that Autism Speaks walkathon or Beltline Greener Up Cleanup.
Getting your employees moving is a great idea. Better health and better performance add to your bottom line. Motivate your employees with creative challenges and incentives that go straight to their sense of fun.
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