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7 Ways Wellness Challenges Can Benefit an Organization

Looking to boost morale and support employee well-being at the same time? Sponsor a wellness challenge! Wellness challenges bring the workforce together with a fun, healthy activity, and offer lasting benefits for both employees and the organization. Read on to learn more about the benefits of wellness challenges in the workplace and why now is the perfect time to host one.

Giving employees workplace flexibility has been one of the biggest and, arguably, most positive changes to emerge from the pandemic. While these new working arrangements help employees better manage the demands of work and life and often improve well-being, they come with a potential downside: the erosion of corporate culture and difficulty keeping employees engaged and connected to the organization they work for.

A good way to spur engagement and increase employee connection is to hold a wellness challenge. Wellness challenges are events that focus on specific areas of well-being for dedicated periods of time, and can be done individually or as part of a team. The challenge can center around any aspect of well-being—from physical health to mental health to social justice and the environment. At WebMD Health Services, our popular challenges among clients include steps, water intake, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, and gratitude challenges.

Here are seven ways wellness challenges improve employee health and well-being and also benefit the organization.

1. Wellness challenges bring employees from different parts of the organization together.

When everyone was in the office, we got to see coworkers from other departments in the hallway or cafeteria. Now, with so many people working remotely, it’s hard to keep up with those “weak ties.” A wellness challenge team with members from different cross-functional groups helps employees rekindle relationships with people beyond their immediate team, and may even foster new relationships.

2. A challenge is a great way to keep employees connected to the organization’s mission.

Employees—especially those in younger generations—want to feel that their work has meaning and is about something bigger than themselves. It’s an important aspect of feeling engaged with an organization, and it impacts retention rates. A wellness challenge that ties to either your corporate mission or a cause the organization cares about reminds employees why they chose to be a part of your company. Recently, we have seen wellness challenges focused on social justice, climate change, and sustainability.

3. Hosting wellness challenges demonstrates your commitment to a culture of well-being.

People are becoming more selective about the kind of employer they want to work for and are choosing jobs based on more than just pay or the role. They want to work for employers who truly care about their health and well-being. Regular wellness challenges show prospective employees that well-being is an organizational priority.

4. Wellness challenges boost social connections among employees.

Remote and asynchronous work has only exacerbated the loneliness and lack of social connections many Americans experienced before the pandemic. Wellness challenges give people a reason to stay connected to their colleagues as they track their individual or team progress. As a participant in our client SummaCare’s challenge relates: “I had one teammate, Dawne, who consistently checked on the entire team every day, asking if we entered our steps, keeping us informed of where we were with our competitors and just encouraging us every day.”

5. You can increase overall engagement with your well-being program.

A wellness challenge is a great way to reap the value of your investment in a well-being program by exposing participants to all the resources it offers. For example, when participants log on to record their steps or water intake, they’ll see other programs that might be helpful to them. Or, they may start a conversation with a health coach to learn how to keep the momentum going after the challenge ends.

6. Wellness challenges provide the ongoing motivation and accountability people need to achieve health goals.

The saying “it takes a village” applies to well-being, too. Joining others in a wellness challenge keeps us motivated and accountable to our goals—whether that’s walking more, drinking more water, or taking time to meditate. Some wellness challenge teams stay together long after the challenge ends to continue benefitting from the group’s support.

7. Employees who participate in wellness challenges often see improved quality of life.

Wellness challenges have something for everyone. For example, new exercisers can start a healthy habit in a non-threatening, fun way; regular exercisers can mentor team members and enjoy the mental health benefits of giving back to others. Bonds between coworkers might even get stronger—and we know that better work relationships help reduce stress and increase overall productivity. Finally, wellness challenges that get people outside offer the stress-busting and mood-boosting effects of spending time in nature.

Wellness challenges are an excellent way to keep employees engaged and connected to the workplace, especially when they’re not sitting together in the office every day. Even better, wellness challenges continue to pay dividends to employees and the organization long after the official event is over. Want to learn more about how to set up a wellness challenge for your company? Visit our website or contact us at connect@webmd.net.

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