Is the health of your employees the topmost priority of your company? If it isn't, you must change that right away. And, if you are an employer who really cares about the health and wellbeing of your workforce, you should keep finding ways to make your workplace a healthier place.
Workplaces are one of the easiest places to get into an unhealthy lifestyle- eating junk food, smoking, sitting all day without any physical activity, etc.
But if made use of properly, they can be the best place to motivate employees to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Working in a group dedicated towards better health can be extremely motivating and inspiring.
The first step to make sure every employee in your organization is health-oriented is to create a corporate health and wellness program. With the help of a wellness program, you will be able to educate your employees on the benefits of good health and help them become healthier and fitter. Furthermore, wellness programs will show your concern for your employees, helping them feel valued in your organization.
To learn how to create and implement a successful health and wellness program in your workplace, read our comprehensive guide on corporate wellness program.
An essential part of a wellness program is a wellness challenge or activity that helps employees adopt healthy habits. Wellness challenges can be of many types, such as a weight-loss challenge, fitness challenge, step challenge. But in this blog we'll learn specifically about office weight-loss program and how to create one.
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How to Create a Office Weight-Loss Challenge?
An office weight-loss challenge will foster engagement and teamwork, help to create a fun and social work environment, and will keep employees motivated.
But it’s important to create your weight loss challenge in such a way that it does not encourage unhealthy behaviors and unfriendly competition. Also, you should not just create a “Biggest Loser Challenge”, where an individual who loses the most weight is rewarded. Instead reward everyone participating in the challenge for their effort and dedication.
Also, body shaming is a strict no! Everyone has their personal fitness goals and preferences and that should be respected.
Therefore, to help you out create the best possible weight loss challenge I have listed down some very important points for you. Here, I'll not only help you host just a weight loss competition, but a friendly contest where teamwork, discipline, and dedication is emphasized.
Planning and Preparation
The first thing you need to do is to inform your employees about the benefits of creating a weight loss challenge in the workplace. Assure them that you plan to create a weight loss challenge because you care for their health and wellbeing. After everyone is informed, you can start the preparation and planning process.
Decide if you want your challenge to be a team or individual based one. If it’s a team-based challenge, then divide teams into groups of four or five. Team-based challenges will make sure employees keep each other motivated and it will build team-work.
Start researching and collecting proven diet and exercise tips and strategies.
Create an infographic which enlists the tips and strategies. Send soft copies to everyone via mail and pin a physical one to your office bulletin board.
Publicize the challenge among all your employees in the organization by mailing flyers, sticking banners in your workplace. Don’t forget to include in the previous month’s company newsletter.
Buy a weighing scale and get the official pre-contest weigh-ins. Make sure to check if it functions properly and does not show fluctuating values.
Decide on the incentives your employees will be provided after successfully completing the challenge. You can also keep a grand prize for the winning team, just remember to reward everyone else as well for their efforts. Some great reward ideas are gift cards, fitness tracking devices, gym memberships, paid vacations, etc.
Setting Parameters and Ground Rules
So, you have made all the arrangements and preparations to get your office weight loss challenge up and running. Now it’s time to set the parameters and rules for the challenge so that everyone can participate fairly.
Determine how long you want your challenge to run. 2 or 3 months are ideal durations, but if you want you can even keep it running as long as 4-5 months. Remember, long term challenges will yield the best results and it will make sure no one takes drastic measures to win.
Set a specific time on a specific day every week when official weigh-ins will be taken. You can also appraise the employees who have shown the most commitment. Perhaps, you can reward them with a healthy snack each to keep the interest in the challenge high.
Declare that you will determine the winners according to the percentage of total weight loss, not total kgs or pounds lost. To determine the percentage of weight loss, divide the amount of weight lost by the initial weight. This will make the challenge equal for everyone as otherwise heavier people would have had an advantage if they lost more kgs or pounds compared to a lighter person.
Also, this would be more sensitive way of announcing winners, as the percentage of weight loss will be publicized, not actual weight lost.
Disqualify participants who use unfair weight loss methods such as starving themselves, taking diet pills, water pills, laxatives, and illegal drugs.
Discourage participants from tempting each other with junk foods and unhealthy treats.
Tracking Progress and Announcing It
Now that you’ve set the rules and parameters for your challenge, you can now go ahead and start it. But, you need to track the progress of your participants and announce the highlights of the challenge.
Assign a person to collect and keep track of all the data such as initial weights, weekly weigh-ins, and the final results. Choose someone who is honest, unbiased, and able to work with confidential data, preferably an HR executive.
Take individual pictures of all participants at the start of the challenge and ask them to provide pictures of their progress. They could also share their experiences on what and how they feel during the challenge.
Make announcements weekly as the challenge progresses. Highlight the efforts and achievements of participants.
Making Use Of The Weight Loss Challenge Time Frame
As your weight loss challenge progresses and everyone in your office is in a “fit and healthy” mindset, make use of this time to plan similar activities to help in team building and engagement.
Here are some great ideas -
- Cycle to Work Days
- Healthy Cooking Classes
- Office Exercise Days
- Office Yoga Classes
- Outdoor Game Days
- Healthy Potluck Lunches
Summing up and Celebration
So, everything has been taken care of and your weight loss challenge has come to a successful end. It’s now time to get everyone together, announce the winners, and have a little celebration.
After announcing and rewarding the winners, here are some things you can do to follow-up on your successful weight loss challenge.
Signify the success of your weight loss challenge by announcing the number of total participants.
Ask everyone to share their experiences, stories, and how their lives have changed since the beginning of the challenge.
Sum up the total pounds or kilograms of weight lost by all participants collectively.
Mention the activities and exercises done by participants to lose weight such as kilometres ran or cycled. Also, ask them to share their diets and the number of healthy meals consumed throughout the process.
Instead of just celebrating weight loss, mark the celebration by signifying the success of effort, teamwork, and discipline.
You can reward and honor personal achievements as well, such as “Best team player”, “Strongest Willpower”, “Most Disciplined”, etc.
Encourage all your employees to maintain the pursuit of healthy living to keep reaping the benefits of healthy weight levels, healthy eating and regular exercise.
So go ahead and make use of these weight loss challenge ideas to create a successful and exciting contest in your workplace to keep everyone engaged.