How to Launch a Virtual Employee Wellness Program

Posted by Karah Ehrhardt on Jul 1, 2020 9:00:00 AM

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Many employers have been forced to temporarily or permanently transitioned their workforce out of the office due to COVID-19. As healthy life professionals, we believe this provides a unique opportunity to expand on health and wellness programs, capitalizing in a space where real change can happen - at the home. This is a great time to implement intentional wellness programs to help build healthy habits and instill lasting change in your employee's lives while also building connection and competition amongst your team even while they are working apart. 


Where to begin? It’s simple, encourage your employees to move more. We all know that moving more is one of the best habits humans can implement. It can help control weight, reduce risk of heart disease, strengthen your bones and muscles, manage stress, improve mood, provide mental clarity and so much more! All of these things result in an overall healthier, happier employee too. 


A steps challenge is a great starting place to get employees moving. Here are 6 easy steps to implement a steps challenge for your employees:


  1. Determine your budget. 
    Costs can be kept to a minimum with a steps challenge, but it’s important to determine how much you are going to spend on things like prizes, registration incentives, portal/tracking costs, etc.

  2. Understand your audience.
    Who are your employees? Do they like to keep exercise private, or are they ready to publicly share? This helps pick your tracking method. What is the average age of your employees? Are they active or sedentary? This will help determine a program goal (10k, 7k or 5k a day). A survey asking some of these questions may help you to provide the right type of challenge for your employee base.

  3. Choose your tracking method.
    Will you track using a website, portal or app? We use Virtuagym for our fitness software/app solution. Or maybe the best tracking method for your audience is a spreadsheet, a daily check-in or even simply the honor system? Think about leveraging the free resources available to you and your employees like Google Sheets, Google Forms, GoogleFit, Apple Health Kit, MyFitnessPal and MapMyWalk just to name a few.

  4. Create engaging touchpoints.
    It isn’t enough to simply create a challenge and not follow-up with your employees. Think about how you will engage with your employees after the challenge starts. Will you email daily, weekly, etc? Encourage your employees via social media? Do you have a platform that will allow you to connect with your employees through the challenge? What does that look like? Can you implement a SMS to reach you to your employees? Small, engaging and regular touchpoints help to provide accountability and instill real change. 

  5. Award Prizes.
    Budgets can be tight, but we highly recommend giving out some kind of prizes for your steps challenges. It could be incentives for registration, engagement, top steppers or completion. Everyone who registers doesn’t need an incentive, think about random raffles to level the playing field or even do some fun pop-up prizes throughout the challenge. Prizes may include gift cards, giveaways from business partners or even paid time off! Be creative and have fun with it.

  6. Assess Success.
    After your program concludes, it’s important to assess the success of your program through steps, stats and surveys. We see about 30-50% of employees participate, and about 15-20% completion rates, and about a 90% program satisfaction. 


If you have any questions or want help creating a steps challenge for your employees the Active Team can help. Contact us today to learn more.


Karah_Circle Template-1Active's Director of Wellness, Karah Ehrhardt, has been with the organization since its inception and has been a part of the greater fitness industry for 15 years now. She is passionate about meeting individuals where they are by providing our sites and members with the tools, resources and products that help support their health and wellness journey.
Karah is staying safe at home with her loved ones spending time chasing around her toddler and experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen!