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A New Kind of Wellness Challenge

We’ve all participated in our share of step challenges. It wasn’t that long ago that we were wearing clip-on pedometers and sharing stories with colleagues about jumping in the pool with them or forgetting to charge it so the steps “didn’t count”. But we’ve come a long way in understanding what drives total well-being for individuals, why companies should care, and how organizations can support. So let's challenge ourselves to take a new spin on our next wellness challenge.

Spread kindness – I worked with a client that loved a good engagement activity. One day employees came into the office to find an envelope with $20 on their desk and a note to "spread kindness" and report back. The stories that came in throughout the day were endearing – the man who purchased a fire extinguisher for his coworker who casually mentioned his new condo didn’t have one, or the woman who bought gas for her nephew who was helping a neighbor get to and from the hospital, or the young man who purchased new golf balls for his foursome since he had a proclivity for losing them often. The ideas were as unique as the people who carried them out and the kindness lasted beyond the $20 and the day.

Support local and minority-owned businesses – Share ideas of local restaurants or shops owned by women and BIPOC individuals. Build a physical (or virtual) board so others can share their local favorites and/or discounts and coupons. Have your team write favorable reviews for the places they enjoy. Back up your messaging by sharing what corporate diversity suppliers you are partnering with.

Learn/teach a new skill – Learning something new is important to the ongoing relevancy and innovative thinking in any company. Continuous learning is important and is a high-value retention technique. Subsequently, teaching is also important in building confidence in individuals and cross-training your employee base. Build a challenge where everyone must learn (and teach) one thing in a week. Keep the parameters loose and you may be surprised what people have to share. I’m not kidding when I say I once learned how to milk a cow from a coworker! And it made me love my place of employment even more.

Calendar clean – How often do you end the day or week thinking, if I only had more quiet time to actually get my work done! Challenge the team, or organization, to clean up their calendars. A challenge could include solid time management hacks such as checking for recurring meetings – are they still relevant? Should the cadence be modified? Does the attendee list need a review? Encourage calendar blocking by setting time to get “the work” completed in discrete, identified time blocks. Or ensure employees have their next vacation blocked on the calendar so they don’t forget to use their time.

Finally, consider how you will bring it all together at the end. Find a way for employees to share what they did during the challenge or what they discovered about themselves. Encourage recognition and publicly congratulate others for doing something for their well-being and health. Incentives are fine, but sometimes the ability to be better can be just as rewarding.


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