5 Office Fitness Challenge Ideas for Transforming Your Workplace Culture

August 14, 2020
Motivational Challenges for Office Fitness

How to Foster an Active Office Culture

So you’ve already installed standing desks or maybe even treadmill desks in your office—great first step. But simply providing the resources doesn’t guarantee your employees will start using their new equipment. The last thing an organization wants is to see the products they’ve invested in sitting idly in a corner collecting dust. Or to never hear the hum of their standing desks moving up and down. It’s an unfortunate reality, but we’ve seen it happen—all too often.

Rest assured, your organization doesn’t have to suffer a similar fate. The road to a healthy, active office culture may be a long one, but there are concrete steps you can take along the way. Take a look at these practical ideas we’ve collected from employers all over the US. We call them office fitness motivational challenges. With these in your toolkit, you’re one step closer to transforming your workplace into a vibrant, healthy, and productive place to be.

5 Ideas for Office Fitness Motivational Challenges

  • Step challenges. The American Heart Association recommends adults walk at least 10,000 steps per day for optimum health, and has many free resources to implement a walking challenge. Other organizations have opted for a “30 for 30” model, where employees are challenged to walk for 30 minutes continuously each day for 30 days. Or take a gradual pace, as we suggest in this article, increasing step count each day for 3 months until you reach 10,000 steps per day.
  • Standing desk challenges. You have to be careful implementing standing challenges because prolonged standing can be harmful, according to several recent studies. An ideal standing challenge encourages employees to use their standing desks for 1-2 hours per day, every day. They usually require self-reporting. For extra motivation, you can create a buddy-system or do a team challenge, where employees hold each other accountable for meeting their daily goals.
  • Walking meeting challenges. This one doesn’t even require active office equipment! Instead of scheduling meetings in conference rooms, encourage your employees to schedule walking meetings. Participation in walking meetings can be tracked using Outlook or Google Calendar, and the participants who schedule or attend the most walking meetings can earn prizes. Several apps like Beenote even facilitate walking meetings.
    1. Having trouble visualizing a walking meeting? Check out the City of Rockville’s walking town hall meetings. Instead of a long meeting in city hall, the Rockville Town Hall Meeting “offers a casual environment for an informal meeting between residents and city leadership and staff to address issues.” The meeting is 90 minutes, and participants walk two miles while also addressing neighborhood concerns.
    2. Still have concerns about implementing a walking meeting? Consider hiring a business/productivity coach to help your office create a culture with active meetings– there are countless consultants with this specialty across the US.
    3. Want to take your walking meetings indoors? A conference room filled with treadmill desks will allow your team to walk and talk with access to computers, conference call phones, and all the other technology your team relies on.
  • Standing at lunch. Many cafeterias and coffee shops now offer tall tables with stools. Consider standing at these tables during lunch, as they are surprisingly comfortable to eat at. A standing lunch could be worth bonus points in an active office competition, as a supplement to meeting walking goals. These challenges are usually self-reported. Want a fun twist? Employees can take selfies of their standing lunch meetings and post them on a “wall of fame” in the office.
  • Associating standing with specific tasks. If it sounds daunting to stand for hours on end, try challenging yourself to do certain tasks while standing. For example, employees could answer emails or conference calls only while standing—for a month. Even after the challenge is over, the habit they develop of standing regularly will stay with them. This challenge is best for individuals competing against themselves, rather than others.

We hope these ideas help you brainstorm new ways to engage your employees in being more active at work. With these motivational challenges, you’ll be one step closer to creating a healthy and productive office culture that is the envy of workers everywhere. It’s time to put those standing desks and treadmill desks to work!

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