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How Your Company’s Step Challenge Enhances Health and Community Spirit

Boost Your Employees’ Health with Fun. Step challenges are an effective strategy for enhancing employee health and fostering a sense of community.

Is a step competition the right initiative for your company, or are you already planning one for your team?

In this guide, we will explain why step challenges are beneficial for companies, what makes them stand out, and how you can successfully launch an exciting competition in your workplace.

What is a Step Challenge?

A step challenge, often referred to as a step competition, is an initiative designed to promote health at the workplace. By using gamification elements, employees are motivated to be more active at work and in their daily lives. Steps are collected both individually and in teams. This measure not only raises awareness for a more active lifestyle but also strengthens team spirit and collegial solidarity within the company. Typically, a step challenge is implemented via an app, which is especially convenient since most smartphones today come equipped with built-in pedometers.

Where Did the 10,000 Steps a Day Recommendation Originate?

The recommendation to walk 10,000 steps a day originally came from a marketing campaign in Japan in the 1960s, launched ahead of the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. A Japanese doctor named Dr. Yoshiro Hatano set this easy-to-remember number to motivate people to move more. He conducted studies showing that walking 10,000 steps a day could help reduce the risk of various cardiovascular diseases. The name of the first pedometer developed for this campaign was “Manpo-kei”, which translates to “10,000 steps meter” in Japanese. Although this figure was not based on extensive scientific findings, it has become a simple and effective rule of thumb for active health care worldwide.

What Are the Motives for a Step Challenge?

Physical inactivity significantly impacts our health. Studies confirm that we are spending more and more time sitting.

DKV-Report 2023 Schritte Challenges
How healthy does Germany live? This is being investigated by DKV Deutsche Krankenversicherung AG in cooperation with the German Sport University.

How Healthy Is Germany? An Analysis by DKV and the German Sport University

The latest report from DKV Deutsche Krankenversicherung AG and the German Sport University Cologne, led by Ingo Froböse for the seventh time, reveals troubling trends in the health and physical activity behaviors of Germans. The study indicates that Germans are increasingly spending more time sitting—an average of 9.2 hours daily, which is half an hour more than in 2021. For individuals aged 18 to 29, the average sitting time even exceeds 10 hours per day. Moreover, less than 40% of respondents meet the recommended levels for endurance and muscle activity. The findings on mental well-being are also alarming, indicating serious health concerns. For example, the report highlights that young adults up to 29 years old spend an average of 10.5 hours a day sitting, while those aged 30 to 45 and 45 to 65 average 9 and 8.5 hours, respectively.

This analysis underscores the need for initiatives like step challenges, or step competitions, which can significantly contribute to improving physical activity levels and overall health. Step challenges encourage participants to increase their daily steps, thereby promoting a healthier lifestyle and fostering community spirit within organizations.

Understanding the Distance: How Far Are 10,000 Steps?

The number of kilometers that 10,000 steps equate to can vary, as each person’s step length differs. Generally, it is assumed that the average step length is about 0.762 meters (or approximately 76 centimeters). Based on this estimation, 10,000 steps would correspond to about 7.62 kilometers. This measure highlights the importance of step challenges or step competitions in promoting physical activity and encouraging a healthier lifestyle across diverse populations.

Physical Inactivity as a Comprehensive Health Risk

Cardiovascular issues, obesity, and diabetes are just a few of the diseases that can be exacerbated or even caused by a lack of physical activity. This issue is prevalent among Germans, especially younger individuals who exhibit significant levels of physical inactivity. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends engaging in at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week. This recommendation does not necessarily pertain to vigorous sports; even less intense activities like walking or cycling are sufficient to meet these guidelines.

Health Experts’ Concerns About Physical Inactivity

Health experts view the trend of insufficient physical activity with significant concern. Not only does a lack of exercise increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer, but it also affects the immune system, digestion, and mental health. Thus, physical inactivity becomes a risk for both physical and mental health.

The negative impacts are not limited to individuals but ultimately affect the entire organization. Employees can only perform at their best and succeed professionally if they are healthy.

The less physically and mentally well the employees are, the higher the likelihood of illness-related absences and decreasing productivity.

A step challenge highlights the importance of an active lifestyle and enables individuals to become aware of their movement behaviors and make necessary changes. This benefits both employees and employers alike.

How a Step Challenge Is Conducted

1. Defining the Duration of Your Step Competition

For successful planning of a pedometer competition in the company, it is crucial to establish the basics such as the start date and duration of the challenge. Ensure that there are no major events during the challenge period that could affect participation.

It is also important that the challenge does not coincide with holiday seasons, as your employees may want a break from work and might not focus on the competition while on vacation. In addition to the start date and duration, you should also choose a suitable name or motto for your challenge. If you plan to award prizes during the challenge, decide on what these will look like.

2. How Are the Steps Tracked?

Step challenges are typically conducted through an app. App-based solutions are advantageous because nearly every smartphone already comes equipped with a built-in pedometer.

Changers Fit App mit eingebautem Schritte Zähler

Connecting Wearables or Allowing Manual Entries

Many employees may already use a wearable device or have a favorite app. Ensure that data from these digital tools can be integrated into your challenge, making it easier for all participants to join. Also, consider those who prefer not to use automated electronic tracking. The provider should offer the option to manually enter steps via a website, accommodating everyone’s preferences and ensuring broad participation.

Comprehensive Tracking Features of Changers Fit

  • Steps
  • Kilometer
  • Walking an Running
  • Cycling
  • CO2 savings in kg: green Mobility including public transport usage
  • Health Coins: for participating in Additional Sports
  • Health Coins: for making healthier food choices.
  • Health Coins: for participating in activities that promote mental well-being
  • Health Coins: for participation in workplace safety
  • Health Coins: for engaging in sustainable practices.

Tracking Options in the Changers Fit App

The Changers Fit app offers a comprehensive array of measurement tools to accommodate various preferences and technologies, ensuring that every participant can engage effortlessly. Here’s a breakdown of the available tracking methods:

  • Built-in Smartphone Pedometer: Utilizes the smartphone’s inherent capabilities to count steps directly.
  • Manual Entry via a Secure “Challenge Website”: Allows participants to manually input their activity data on a customized website.
  • Integration with Apple Health and Google Fit: Leverages these health ecosystems to pull data directly into the app.
  • GPS Tracking with Start and Stop Verification: Confirms the beginning and end of an activity session via GPS, providing precise tracking of movements.
  • Connection to Wearables and Fitness Trackers: Compatible with popular devices like Garmin, Misfit, and Fitbit, ensuring seamless data synchronization.
  • Linking Additional Trackers through Apple Health and Google Fit: Extends compatibility to other trackers that integrate with Apple Health or Google Fit.
  • Connecting to Apps like Runtastic, Strava, etc., through Apple Health and Google Fit: Allows data from specialized fitness apps to be integrated, offering a versatile and inclusive approach to activity tracking.

With these varied options, Changers Fit ensures that all users, regardless of their preferred tracking method or device, can participate in challenges and monitor their progress effectively.

Simplified Tracking Technology Selection in Changers Fit App

The Changers Fit app provides a user-friendly and transparent interface that shows users which technology is currently measuring their activity data. This feature allows users to easily switch their tracking technology directly from the app’s home screen.

Whether they prefer to use a built-in pedometer, connect to wearables, or use GPS tracking, changing settings is straightforward and accessible, enhancing the user experience by accommodating personal preferences and ensuring accurate activity tracking.

3. Ensuring Effective Communication for Your Step Challenge

Schritte Wettbewerb Floor Sticker
Floor Sticker für den Eingang und die Kantine. Motivierende Texte für die Teilnahmemotivation.

To achieve high participation rates in your company’s Step Challenge, it’s crucial that every employee is well-informed about the upcoming event. Therefore, launching an effective communication campaign prior to the start of the challenge is essential. Depending on the structure of your organization, you may involve your internal communications department to collaboratively decide on the content, channels, and formats for dissemination. If you are organizing the challenge in collaboration with an external provider, it’s advisable to coordinate with them to determine how they can assist in the creation and distribution of communication materials. This strategic planning ensures that all employees are engaged and prepared to participate in the Step Challenge.

Motivationsposter für Ihre Schritte Challenge
“Motivational poster for your step challenge

Changers Fit provides a wide range of communication materials that you can directly use for your competitions. These include posters that you can easily reproduce on your office printer and distribute as PDFs to other branches. Additionally, we offer motivational floor stickers that can be placed within your company premises to remind and motivate your staff about the ongoing Challenge. Moreover, our eye-catching roll-ups are essential for high-traffic areas such as entrances, cafeterias, or common rooms. Most of these materials can be customized with your logo, or we can tailor them for you. Feel free to contact us for further customization and support in enhancing your communication strategy for the Step Challenges.

RollUps mit Motivations-texten für Ihre Schritte Challenge
RollUps mit motivierenden Texten für Ihre Schritte Challenge

4. Structuring Teams to Boost Engagement and Collaboration

When your goal is to enhance corporate culture and foster team spirit, selecting a challenge format that allows your staff to form various teams and collectively accumulate steps for their team is crucial.

occupational Health and climate protection

Involving Colleagues

Consider in advance what the maximum team size should be for your Step Challenge. We recommend keeping teams small to ensure that the contributions of individual participants significantly impact the overall results, thereby boosting the motivation of all team members.

Designating Teams or Allowing Self-Setup

Team Challenges zwischen Niederlassungen, Abteilungen und frei wählbaren Teams in der Changers Fit App

Decide whether employees should form their own teams or be assigned to pre-determined teams. For a leaderboard involving branches or departments, it makes sense to assign teams and leave the minimum and maximum number of participants open. However, in a separate leaderboard with freely chosen employee teams, it can be motivating for participants to have the option to create their own teams. Here, setting a minimum and maximum number of participants per team is advisable. This approach can help your Step Challenge spread organically throughout the company as team captains strive to recruit members to meet the required minimum. Moreover, competition between teams of roughly equal sizes tends to be fairer.

5. Building a Health Community Within Your Step Challenge

Inform all employees about the challenge, including its rules and objectives. Clear communication is essential to foster engagement and motivation throughout your organization.

Utilizing Community Features in Your Step Tracker App

Changers Fit App HOME View
Sich austauschen und zum Laufen verabreden in der App eigenen Community Wall

For your Step Challenge, consider using a community app or a step counter app that includes community features. This allows participants to connect and arrange walking meetings directly through the app’s own community wall.

Transforming Motivation into a Social Event

It’s crucial to turn the motivation for physical activity into a social event. This enhances interpersonal exchange and improves the workplace atmosphere. Participants can share updates about their progress, post pictures of their walking routes, healthy meals, or other activities with their team. A vital feature of the Step Challenge app is the ability to schedule joint activities, turning standard meetings into “Meet and Walk” events or organizing group runs around the lake in the evening.

Secure and Compliant Communication with Changers Fit App

The community function within the Changers Fit App provides a GDPR-compliant and secure communication platform where employees can control whether their communications are visible to everyone or just their team members. Participants can also post images, text, and funny GIFs, as well as comment and give “likes” to posts, adding an extra layer of dynamism to your health initiative. This feature not only boosts participation but also significantly contributes to the social bonding and overall success of the Step Challenge.

6. Developing Motivation Strategies for Your Step Challenge

Motivate participants during the Step Challenge with regular updates, reminders, and progress reports. Changers Fit allows you to integrate an iFrame banner displaying all relevant data directly into your own website.

Utilizing a Data Dashboard on Your Intranet

Changers Fit Daten Dashboard für Ihre Challenge Website

Keep all employees informed and motivated with a data dashboard integrated into your intranet. This dashboard provides visible, up-to-date metrics that encourage continuous participation by showing daily activity levels.

Ausschnitt eines umfangreichen Daten Dashboards zu Ihren Challenges
Ausschnitt eines umfangreichen Daten Dashboards zu Ihren Challenges mit der Möglichkeit des CSV Datendownloads.

Regular Updates and Push Notifications

Post regular updates on the app’s own Community Wall and utilize push notifications to reach participants either within their specific teams or across the entire organization via the home screen. This strategy not only keeps participants informed but also continuously re-engages them, maintaining a high level of enthusiasm and participation throughout the challenge.

Integrating Custom Rewards and Raffles in the Changers Fit App

Schritte Challenge Prämien und Verlosungen
Eigene Prämien und Verlosungen in die Changers Fit App einstellen

Incorporating prizes increases participation among your workforce. To ensure that not only the physically active employees are recognized and motivated, we recommend conducting raffles among all participants. Raffles give everyone a chance to win, making the competition inclusive and engaging.

Earning Health Coins in the Changers Fit App

The Changers Fit App awards Health Coins for kilometers walked and participation in health activities. In the raffles, tickets are purchased with Health Coins, giving everyone a fair chance to win the grand prize. Regular participation in activities allows individuals to earn more coins, thereby increasing their chances of winning the grand prize. This approach is both fair and enjoyable.

Furthermore, we have configured the raffles in the Changers Fit App so that each participant can only win once per raffle. This ensures that as many participants as possible can win prizes, which keeps them motivated to continue participating in your Step Challenge.

7. Linking a Social Project with Your Step Challenge

Connecting Achievements to Social Good

Consider linking the achievement of goals in your Step Challenge to the funding of a social project. Doing good together not only unites participants but also adds a higher purpose to participating in your step competition beyond personal benefits.

Integrating Social Contributions in the Changers Fit App

In the Changers Fit App, you can link the achievement of goals to environmental initiatives such as tree planting or individual donation contributions. With the premium subscription, a quota for tree planting is already included, which you can utilize at any time for your challenge. This integration not only enhances the appeal of the challenge but also fosters a sense of community and social responsibility among participants.

Nachhaltiges BGM Mitarbeiter einbinden

8. Evaluation and Feedback for Your Step Challenge

Assessing the Impact of Your Step Challenge

After completing the step challenge, it’s important to evaluate the results and share them with participants. Collect feedback to improve future step competitions. Within the administration area of the Changers Fit App, you can compile comprehensive reports and download them as CSV files.

Step Challenges as Support for Your Corporate Health Promotion (BGF)

A step challenge provides the perfect opportunity to introduce or enhance measures for corporate health promotion. For instance, you could organize regular running meetups or active lunch breaks at the beginning of the challenge, where employees gather to walk and collect steps together. These meetings can continue even after the challenge ends and become a regular part of your health promotion activities.

Moreover, you can use the launch of the challenge to host a health day or a special health event. This helps highlight the importance of physical activity for both physical and mental health, not only raising awareness but also emphasizing the value of the initiative.

Step Challenges as a Kickstart to Greater Climate Protection

A step challenge can also serve as a kickstart to making your company more climate-friendly. Consider linking the step competition with information about what your company is already doing in the area of sustainability. Talk to your CSR department or sustainability management. The step challenge is a great opportunity to consider whether every journey needs to be made by car. Perhaps the first available parking spot is better for the climate and personal health than the one right at the front door.

With the Changers Fit App, you can also receive a CO2 balance for all distances, depending on the mode of mobility used. This raises awareness and motivates, whether for personal health or the health of our climate, to do a bit more. At the end of every challenge, everyone wins: employees feel better and are sick less often. The company benefits from a healthy and motivated workforce. The climate benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions, as some journeys are made on foot.

Conclusion: Step challenges are always a win for the people in your company and for the company itself.

Implementing a step challenge can bring significant positive effects to your company and your employees. The playful nature of the challenge helps increase physical activity among employees and enhances awareness of their own health. The joint activity strengthens team cohesion and revitalizes team spirit. Especially in times of increased home office and flexible working models, this can be of great significance.

If you are looking for effective ways to promote motivation, health, and climate protection, the Changers Step Challenge is a straightforward solution with high added value.

Do you have questions? Contact us!

We look forward to getting to know you and exploring the potential of the Changers Fit App for your company together.

Daniela Schiffer Ansprechpartnerin Changers Fit

Daniela Schiffer
+49 172 367 40 38

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