Recap: How Our Remote Wellness Challenge Helped Bring Us Together
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a tough year that’s caused many changes all around the globe. These changes vary from undergoing total business transformations and teaching the kids at home to having panic attacks about the lack of toilet paper and buying way more hand sanitizer than you ever thought possible. Though some of these changes may have been enlightening, there’s no doubt that both businesses and people have faced obstacles adjusting to the shifts in their day to day. Luckily, there are some creative ways to ensure both you and your employees are finding time for self care and community in a time of isolation.
When looking at the definitions of health and wellness, health is more focused on physical, mental, and social well-being. Wellness is more focused on a constant effort toward a fulfilling lifestyle. Our team at Service Direct decided to start a friendly competition to encourage the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle for the body, mind, and spirit. Even though health and wellness will look different for everyone, what we all have in common is a necessity to prioritize mental and physical health.
What is health and wellness during a pandemic?
When the universe decides we can no longer spend time with family, friends, or coworkers, it’s difficult to do anything other than curl up on the couch with a box of Domino’s Pizza, a pint or two of your favorite ice cream, and have recurring dates with Netflix in the same shirt you’ve worn for three days in a row, right? Sometimes life isn’t pretty. But eventually we all have to take in the judgmental stares from our so-called loving pets and start thinking about our next move. Needless to say, the idea of getting off the couch for anything other than a soda from the fridge this year was a long shot for some of us.
As much as moments like relaxing on the couch and indulging in our favorite foods might be exactly what we need at times, there are many ways to ensure health and wellness in a time where isolation is imperative for the safety of yourself and others.
For example, one of the best ways to increase health and wellness is exercise. Exercise has been proven to reduce stress and increase positive chemicals that ultimately result in feeling happier. The best part is this could be any exercise that you enjoy, whether that’s weight lifting, dancing in your living room, running, or just going for a walk outside. In fact, just 30 minutes of exercise a day has proven to have major health benefits! But exercise isn’t the only thing that benefits your health. Things like drinking more water, meditating, reaching out to friends, and reading have a huge impact on our overall health and wellness. Naturally, we wanted to incorporate all of these in our wellness challenge journey!
How To Create Community When Working Remotely
Service Direct went from being a small office to a permanent work from home business, which challenged us to find more creative ways to support and encourage our employees to take time for themselves, especially during a pandemic.
A big thing missing from our company was the daily conversations we’d have with our fellow coworkers, which had us thinking about how we can all still share meaningful moments with our community without seeing each other in person.
Going completely remote meant all communication was done through Zoom meetings or Slack, an online chat tool which gave us the ability to create a #wellnesschannel and post all of our daily highlights, things we’re grateful for, and our favorite photos. What better way to connect with people than to share the things you’re doing to stay sane during a pandemic? There’s nothing more comforting than being a part of a community that shares their goofy pet photos, things they’re grateful for even during quarantine, and highlights of their day even if it’s as simple as eating a cookie or listening to the rain. It was a great reminder that connecting with people is not only possible face to face, and there’s still ways to encourage community, productivity, personal goals, and overall positivity in a remote work environment.
We decided to come up with a list of challenges for everyone to participate in and make it a game for some extra fun and friendly competition. At the end of the challenge, everyone received a wellness challenge t-shirt, the top three winners received fun prizes, and we all attended the wellness challenge wrap up party via Zoom to discuss other ideas for future challenges and talk about our favorite things the challenge encouraged us to accomplish.
The Service Direct Wellness Challenge
Our Wellness Challenge consisted of daily challenges over the duration of 3 months from July 1st to September 30th. First, we decided on our main challenge activities and assigned them points based on level of effort / impact. Then each participant would update their points when a challenge activity was completed. Each week we would announce the scoreboard in our #wellnesschallenge Slack channel so people could see the place they were in based on our point system.
What Our Participants Have to Say About it
We asked some of our participants a few questions about the challenge and how it impacted them. Here’s what they had to say!
Q: How has the wellness challenge impacted you during this time of isolation?
Ariel Owens, Client Success and Support Specialist
My favorite thing about the wellness challenge was having that extra incentive and push to be more healthy and practice better self-care.
The wellness challenge encouraged me to start journaling again! I used to journal but stopped a while back. Since starting the challenge I was inspired to start and have found it very therapeutic.
The wellness challenge helped to keep me on track with my fitness and mental wellness goals. I think the major impact it had during isolation was still being able to feel connected through everyone’s posts and highlights. I got to know a lot of my coworkers better and found things out I do not think I would have otherwise.
Molly Weybright, Content Strategist
My favorite thing about the wellness challenge was increased mindfulness with regards to my health. A lot of the challenge elements were things I already did every day, but calling attention to the health benefits of those activities really boosted my morale and helped me push myself further.
The hardest thing for me with the wellness challenge was the 4 hour digital detox task. I remember looking at that the first time and thinking, “No technology for four hours?! That's just impossible.” And to be completely honest I haven't done it as often as I would've liked. But, the times that I did, it really helped me feel refreshed and more connected to myself, the world, and the non-digital things that I love. I hope to carry that with me past the challenge.
Prior to the challenge I was doing a lot of these things on my own because I was hyper aware of how isolation/quarantine could affect my health. That being said, I feel like the wellness challenge was impactful because it brought me together with my coworkers in a way that not only served to promote my healthy lifestyle but that also made it generally more fun. It was like having twenty workout buddies or wellness coaches. That coupled with the daily gratitude posts really helped me center myself and focus on the positives in this crazy time.
Matt Buchanan, Co-Founder and CGO
Although I slacked off the last half of the challenge, I did want to mention that COVID-19 has obviously been a huge challenge for me mentally and emotionally, and gratitude exercises always help put things into better focus.
So seeing things that make team members happy and things they are grateful for throughout the day have really helped me come back to a better place mentally.
Start Your Own Wellness Challenge
If a wellness challenge sounds like something you or your business could benefit from, we created this handy dandy Google Sheets Wellness Challenge Tracking Template to help you get started. It'll save you a lot of time in the beginning, trust us... Just input your challenges, team names and the data ranges for each week. Feel free to add on or change any challenges you think would encourage participants to reach goals. For example, you could add a creative outlet like playing an instrument, creative writing, or drawing as those are all stress relievers and great skills to have!
We hope this challenge has as much of a positive impact on your team as it did ours. Here’s to new challenges, and always moving and improving!