4 Ideas for Fun Step Challenges at Work

4 Ideas for Fun Step Challenges at Work

Have fun encouraging your employees to make positive lifestyle changes using step challenges. Learn how to make the most of them here!

4 Ideas for Fun Step Challenges at Work

Over the past couple of years, workplace wellness programs have become increasingly crucial for businesses of all sizes. A healthier workforce has been proven to lead to higher productivity, lower healthcare costs, and a more motivated workforce. This is why so many companies are investing in employee wellness programs and wellness initiatives.

We understand that one of the difficulties when implementing employee wellness programs is coming up with creative challenge ideas to keep employees healthy, happy, and engaged.

One of the fun ways we encourage team-building, employee engagement, and corporate wellness is through step challenges.

This article will dive into what step challenges are, how they can benefit your workplace, and tips for making the most of your next fitness challenge!

What are Step Challenges?

One of the best ways to encourage healthy habits in the workplace is by creating a wellness challenge.

Studies show that companies that provide wellness programs see an average six-to-one return on investment (ROI). The ROI was mainly seen in reduced medical/health care costs and lower absenteeism rates, saving companies money and offsetting the cost of wellness programs.

Step challenges in the workplace are a huge "step" forward for employee health.

A step challenge is a walking challenge where employees compete against each other to see who can get in the most steps during a set period. It's a great way to create a fun competition within your team while encouraging physical activity!

The Benefits of Step Challenges

Employee step challenges are beneficial for so many reasons. They are a great way to encourage employees to get active and improve their health.

According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, employee wellbeing is the new workplace imperative. Only 33% of employees report they are thriving in their overall wellbeing, but there's room for massive improvement. The Gallup Report also found a strong link between engagement and performance outcomes, such as retention, productivity, safety, and profitability.

The benefits of employee step challenges are undeniable in that they help employees thrive in various ways, including:

Increased employee wellbeing: If you want to get involved with your employees' fitness goals, you can use these challenges as an opportunity to improve employee wellbeing.

Improved company culture: Working with your employees to achieve their goals shows that they matter to you and your company. It also helps build trust between management and employees, which is essential for any business.

Increased productivity: Studies show that physically active people usually get more done in a day than those who aren't as active.

How to Host a Step Challenge

As an HR leader, you can host your own step challenge at work no matter how distributed your team is. The key to success is to make sure your employees understand the goals, how they can participate and what happens if they reach the goal.

Employees can use a pedometer or wearable activity tracker to track steps. Another option would be for employees to use their smartphones to track progress. Many smartphones have free pre-installed apps to track steps like Apple Health for iPhone users and S Health for Samsung users.

woman checking apple watch steps tracker
Cooleaf integrates with your existing health apps

Don’t want to do it on your own? No worries, HR leaders can also host a step challenge by using our all-in-one engagement platform, Cooleaf.

Cooleaf is here to help your team launch a successful employee wellness program. We work with you to understand your goals and prescribe programming.
Try Cooleaf's engagement platform

Cooleaf uses gamification features like badges and leaderboards to make it more fun for remote and in-person employees! This gives people an extra incentive to complete their goals on time.

Ready to launch your own employee step challenge? Here's four ways to make them more fun:

1. Create a Leaderboard

Foster a fun sense of competition and camaraderie by adding a leaderboard to your step challenge.

You can do this by keeping a running tally on a bulletin board or by creating a shared spreadsheet where you can track each employee's daily step count. Make sure you include their name, the number of steps they've taken, and the day and time they took those steps.

If tracking progress manually seems a bit arduous for your team, consider a partnership with an all-in-one engagement platform like Cooleaf.

person walking
Cooleaf Step Challenge

At Cooleaf, we believe that every person deserves to feel their best—and we want your team to be able to achieve their health goals with our proven step challenges.

We make it easy to track progress by automatically syncing daily steps right through the Cooleaf app. Cooleaf’s step challenges support the following step trackers:

  • Misfit
  • Fitbit
  • Apple iPhone via HealthKit
  • Apple iWatch via HealthKit
  • Android devices supported by FitBit via MobileTrack

The app takes your steps data and generates a leaderboard that stays updated throughout the length of the challenge.

2. Rewards For Reaching Daily Step Goals

Another way to boost employee morale and get people excited about reaching their fitness milestones is to reward team members!

During the challenge, reward those who made it to the top spot by giving them reward points, gift cards or other perks like extra vacation days or flexible work hours.

One of the best ways to encourage participation in a step challenge is by rewarding those who participate the most. Offer fresh incentives for participation and top performers. This will encourage employees to take more steps during the challenge but also help keep them engaged in the process after the challenge has ended.

Cooleaf offers a variety of employee rewards, including gift cards, charity donations merchandise, team swag, and more.

3. Share Photos Throughout Team Challenge

A simple way to boost engagement and connection through wellness challenges is by having participants share photos while they’re getting their steps in! Encourage people to participate by having them share pictures on a shared platform throughout the challenge.

4. Offer Inclusive Alternatives to Step Challenges

If you have employees who can't participate in your step challenge, consider these alternative wellness challenge ideas:

Habit-Building Challenges

These types of challenges can focus on healthy habits including getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, or packing a healthy lunch to work for a week.

Mindfulness Challenges

Through Cooleaf platform, host a 10-Minute Mindfulness Challenge that encourages employees to slow down, take a deep breath, and focus on their mental health.

Digital Detox Challenges

With this challenge, provide perspective and research about the benefits of a break from the digital world. Encourage people to set manageable goals related to screen time and phone usage.

Inclusive wellness challenges ensure you engage employees of all body types and promote a culture of happiness and wellbeing.

man in a wheelchair
Cooleaf's Health and Wellness Challenges


Step challenges are a creative way to encourage good health and support employee mental health. They're easy to set up and can be tailored to fit into any workplace, no matter how busy or relaxed.

When you start setting up step challenges at your company, you can make them more fun and engaging by building incentives, adding a leaderboard, and encouraging people to share photos!

Ready to learn more about how Cooleaf can help you create a positive wellness experience for your employees? Chat with us!


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