Corporate Fitness Challenge?
October 29, 2012 6:31 PM   Subscribe

Corporate wellness challenge tips, tricks, websites? Smallish company (150 employees, scattered across country, many in one area, however) Looking to do a combo weight loss challenge (and healthy challenge for those not looking to lose weight). Mostly virtual, thoughts on administration, non-weight loss competition, tips, tricks, websites?
posted by sandmanwv to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
the wellness program here does a really good job of focusing on encouraging healthy habits (aka wellness) rather than weight loss. a few i remember from this year- they did a 'get seven hours of sleep a night' challenge, there was a 'six hundred minutes of activity in a month' challenge, an 'avoid sugar every day' challenge.
posted by noloveforned at 6:38 PM on October 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Our company purchased basic pedometers and did a 10000 steps a day challenge for 6 weeks.
posted by Edward L at 7:07 PM on October 29, 2012 [2 favorites]

Do people want to do this? I ask because in my experience there is quite a bit of risk here: people can be embarrassed, there may be confidentiality issues, and some may assume rightly or wrongly that it's more about the company wanting to reduce its insurance costs rather than being interested in staff wellbeing. So I think the first thing you might want to do is some kind of needs assessment or interest assessment, before you start moving into looking for a provider or designing a program yourself.
posted by Susan PG at 7:07 PM on October 29, 2012 [8 favorites]

I agree you run a risk of annoying the crap out of people, of accidentally running into HIPAA issues, etc.

Consider focusing on things like reimbursement for fitness plans, on putting up posters, on sending out regular email challenges, etc., rather than on a narrow competition or one-time event or whatever. Survey people to see what they'd like to have. If you do a survey and include either a "walking group" or a "running group," include the other one, too, and offer to set up a team for a local 5k or quarter marathon event in conjunction with it.

Let people pick whether they want to do the "healthy" challenge or the "weight loss" challenge. Better, quite honestly, not to do anything that combines the concepts of "weight" and "competition." Some people - especially women over about 20 years of age - have a much harder losing weight than other people; it really starts to take the fun (and health) out of it when it's a handful of young people who always win the weight loss awards.

Focus on rewarding positive activity rather than results. Consider just flat-out endorsing the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award program and the President's Challenge; if you buy the certificates and lapel pins and such you can save yourself quite a bit of work in the "how do we recognize people" department. You can coordinate your "team" from here.

This article about best practices in workplace wellness programs is a good read, as is this one about incentives.

Also, there are a lot of state-based and national workplace wellness organizations you should probably be getting resources from. There's no need to design your own posters, for instance. is an excellent portal (almost every agency connected to health stuff has something you can print out and display in the workplace) and WELCOA has a ton of things you can read over and share with people who are interested in them.

(The most popular activity my employer has ever come up with was the 5k team.)
posted by SMPA at 7:32 PM on October 29, 2012

What about starting a workplace team (or multiple teams) on Health Month? Let people choose their own healthy living goals, and then celebrate everyone who meets them.
posted by decathecting at 7:44 PM on October 29, 2012

Our workplace (the school I work at, not MeFi) uses the PATH wellness program, sort of a prepackaged deal. It's a ten week program focused on one thing per year. One year it was stress, one it was sleep, one it was exercise, and you have a certain amount of little things to do (watch this video, take this quiz) and other optional things (do peer coaching, talk to a nurse) and a few anonymous things to do (take this health quiz) and you earn points that turn into cash at the end of the year. It was nice and mostly simple and I always learned a few things and the money, while not a lot, went towards my gym membership. It was a nice simple way to sort of keep health in mind, though not specifically geared towards my specific workplace. There were team leader types who would do actual in person things like lunchtime walks and those were a fun way to get to know people. It was one of those things that some people participated in and got into and other people ignored entirely but I felt like it was useful for me personally.
posted by jessamyn at 8:19 PM on October 29, 2012

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