The 5 Best Wellness Challenge Ideas For 2024


There are plenty of different wellness challenges you can use to boost your employees’ mental and physical wellbeing, but we’ve found that the most successful ones are relatively simple, and meet the following criteria:

  1. They’re easy to implement across the entire company. It should be relatively simple to administer and track the challenge across the company.
  2. They don’t require advanced skills for employees to participate. If employees need to be relatively skilled at something to enjoy participating, it probably won’t be successful.
  3. They can be executed in any country/culture and work for both in-person and remote teams: This is particularly critical if you have a global, hybrid, or fully remote team.

You can find hundreds of unique wellness challenges online, but keeping them simple and easy to execute is key to making them a success in your company..

Instead of trying to devise a creative wellness challenge idea that’s complicated to implement, select a simple wellness challenge and focus on improving the execution of it, and how to optimize employee engagement.

Below, we’ll introduce you to the five best wellness challenges based on the above criteria, and provide specific execution tips and tools to help you ensure they’re successful.

Idea #1: Nutrition Challenge

A challenge encouraging healthy eating habits is a great way to help employees build more personal connections with one another, while simultaneously participating and raising awareness of healthy eating habits and their benefits.

Some companies implement meal-tracking apps, but many employees don’t feel comfortable about sharing their eating habits at such a detailed level with their co-workers.

So instead, you could create a Slack or Microsoft Teams channel where employees can share nutritious recipes and photos of their completed dishes. Then, you can award points to employees based on the number of photos or recipes they’ve shared and offer a prize to the most engaged participants.

There isn’t a specific tool we know of, or can recommend, that automates the implementation of this challenge, but it’s relatively easy to manually track each employee’s uploads to a specific Slack or Microsoft Teams channel.

For example, you could:

  • Use an existing Slack, Teams or Viva Engage channel for this, or create a new one
  • Ask employees to share their favourite recipes, take photos of their meals, or share what they learned about nutrition from an Eat Well Bright Break to earn entries into a prize draw

You can also offer nutrition workshops or courses and reward employees for attendance. If you don’t want to organize these workshops yourself, you can simply recommend that employees attend a session from the Eat Well category in Bright Breaks.

In addition to the seven-minute live nutrition sessions led by dietitians, employees can also access longer, on-demand content that provides them with healthy tips and recipes curated by dietitians.

Pro tip: If you do plan to offer a nutrition challenge, avoid tracking weight loss or encouraging employees to ascribe to a standardized or conventional way to nourish themselves. This can be triggering for some employees, which might cause the wellness challenge to backfire by not being inclusive. Any challenge you offer should be focused on meeting employees where they are at currently, whatever that looks like for them. .

Idea #2: Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are excellent wellness activities to encourage in the workplace, as they give employees valuable tools to manage stress more effectively.

These skills can make them more productive in the workplace and increase their overall happiness and satisfaction inside and outside of work. Encouraging employees to practice self care through mindfulness and meditation can directly improve critical metrics like employee retention, and even referrals.

These types of challenges are an excellent wellness and engagement tool because they are easy to implement across your company, and employees don’t need any skill to begin practicing them.

Mindfulness and meditation challenges can be implemented in a few ways. You can:

  • Ask employees to self-report the number of minutes they participated in meditation, breathing exercises, journaling etc.
  • Track employee activity in a meditation or mindfulness app that your company provides to employees
  • Invite employees to share the mindfulness and meditation tips that work for them with their co-workers in a Slack, Teams or Viva Engage channel

Bright Breaks offers a wide range of live and on-demand mindfulness and meditation sessions for employees to take their own journey, or join sessions with their co-workers.

Using Bright Breaks’ internal challenge feature with a dedicated leaderboard makes it simple to encourage employees to practice self-care, and include mindfulness and meditation in their work day.

Idea #3: Water-Drinking Challenge

Everyone can get on board with the fact that drinking water is good for us as humans. Hydration challenges are a great way to encourage a very basic but important wellness habit that all employees can easily participate in.

Plenty of apps (for example, Yumuuv) make it easy to implement the water-drinking challenge by automatically tracking employee participation and progress. If you want to take it to the next level, you could also offer bonus points for abstaining from sugary drinks like sodas.

You could reward employees based on the number of days in a row that they hit their recommended daily water intake, or for every day they have hit their personal goal

If no app is available for a water-drinking challenge, asking employees to self-report in a shared communication channel is as effective as it is engaging.

Idea #4: Step or Active Minute Challenge

As most employees are seated for the majority of their work day, step challenges can be a great idea to help remind your team that movement is the key to enhancing their overall well-being

Plenty of different apps (e.g. MoveSpring, MyPace and TerryPace) make it easy to implement and track a step challenge.

As some of your employees will be naturally more active than others, avoid only rewarding employees with the highest number of steps or active minutes. Doing so often discourages your less active employees from participating altogether.

To get around this, you can reward employees with a draw entry for hitting a certain threshold of steps or active minutes, and have a separate prize category for top performers in the challenge.

Idea #5: Take A Break Challenge

Many remote employees feel guilty taking breaks. Without cues to take breaks such as those that exist in an office setting like lunch rooms, and colleagues inviting each other for coffee breaks, it can be easy for employees to work non-stop for hours on end.

There’s plenty of scientific evidence which shows that taking breaks can vastly improve employee productivity, while not taking enough breaks can contribute to employee burnout.

Running a “take a break challenge” (pausing work for wellness breaks a few times each day) is a great way to encourage employees to recharge during their work day so they can return to their desk feeling refreshed. To maximize the benefits of each break, make sure they’re interactive and wellness-focused.

In addition to giving employees a much-needed mental break during their work day, interactive breaks also help deepen co-worker relationships and communication by allowing them to learn more about one another’s personal interests.

These shared personal experiences lead to stronger team culture, and contribute to increased employee happiness and productivity.

For example, you can set up 15-minute calendar invites for video calls where the team partakes in yoga, breathing exercises, or a fun game together. Track the employees that attend each session and then measure general employee engagement to see how these breaks impact critical communication, collaboration, and productivity metrics.

Incentivizing based on reaching a minimum number of breaks taken and doing a draw, as opposed to rewarding top break attendees, is encouraged to motivate as many employees as possible to participate for a chance to win a prize.

If you don’t have the bandwidth to schedule these virtual events, host them, and track metrics, you can use a tool like Bright Breaks to handle the whole process for you.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Set up the challenge: Determine the prize, pick a theme (if any), and set the start and end date for your company’s internal challenge. Bright Breaks has a library of pre-made challenges that can be used as is or customized, along with promotional materials.
  2. Employees schedule their own breaks: 300 live breaks a week are available to attend throughout the day, meaning employees can schedule them at their convenience, or coordinate with colleagues to attend sessions together.
  3. Employees join breaks : Each live break is seven minutes long and led by wellness educators. The activities employees can choose range from yoga and breathing to stretching and learning. There’s a sizable library of pre-recorded breaks available as well that employees can participate in anytime.
  4. Watch the progress on the leaderboard: Bright Breaks automatically tracks engagement and participation metrics for employees to follow on a leaderboard that is updated in real time.
  5. Choose and reward your winners: Determine the winners and celebrate with your team on completion of a successful challenge!

How to Maximize Engagement For Each Wellness Challenge

The efficacy of your wellness challenge depends on the number of employees who participate, so we always recommend offering an incentive for people to get involved.

There are a few different ways you can structure your incentives depending on your goals, but here are a few of the most common methods:

Incentive Goal Incentive Structure Example
Increase Total Employee Participation Offer an incentive to each employee that crosses a certain participation threshold. Give a reward to employees who take at least five Bright Breaks within a two-week period. Those who reach this goal enter a drawing for a reward.
Increase Team Participation Offer an incentive to each team, department, or group that crosses a certain participation threshold. Reward the department or team that had the most employees reach a break goal within a specified challenge time period (i.e., the team with the most employees who took at least five breaks within a two-week period)
Encourage Friendly Competition

Note: This is not as strongly recommended as the first two challenge ideas as it will only reward the top participants and not encourage occasional or new users to participate.
Offer an incentive to the employees that participate the most. Reward those who have taken the most breaks over a specified time period (a week, a month, etc.) with prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Once you’ve decided on a goal, offer a compelling incentive that anyone in the company would enjoy. In general, an Amazon gift card or PTO are great incentives, as anyone in the company can enjoy it.

If your incentives are too specific (e.g. tickets to a ball game, a coupon for a massage, etc.), your employees likely won’t view them as equally valuable. In fact, some employees might disengage because they don’t want to win and waste the incentive.

Why You Should Start Offering Wellness Challenges

Most HR professionals understand the benefits of encouraging employees to engage in wellness paired with an incentive, but they usually don’t offer them because of the logistical headaches involved with organizing a challenge — especially for remote teams.

That’s why we built Bright Breaks.

It’s a plug-and-play solution that makes it easy for HR to offer employees hundreds of different seven-minute break sessions, ranging from meditation and yoga, to nutrition and learning activities —without the ongoing challenges of directly managing these sessions.

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