This year, it’s fair to say we all experienced a case of the January blues. Christmas was behind us and the weather was cold and dark, not to mention the fact that we’d just entered our third national lockdown. For most of the UK, there wasn’t much to do outside of work, which is why we knew we needed to implement some team initiatives to boost everyone’s morale and keep us all happy and motivated despite such challenging times.
So, we introduced two wellbeing initiatives (a cooking challenge and a fitness challenge) that helped us think like a team, maintain company culture, and stay healthy. Because we found these methods so useful, we wanted to share them with you, so that you and your team can challenge yourselves and boost your wellbeing in the process.
Our first challenge encouraged everyone to experiment with healthy food ingredients by making some delicious meals for themselves and their households. Each week in January, we were given three different ingredients that we had to incorporate into a healthy meal. We could use recipes we knew of, do some research, or simply experiment ourselves and see what we came up with!
We then all posted our creations into a dedicated Microsoft Teams channel so we could discuss our dishes, helping us to stay social and feel connected. Small prizes were also awarded for the most consistent chef and the tastiest looking dish.
Over lockdown, cooking has become a source of comfort and enjoyment for many. Participating in this challenge helped our team to stay inspired in the kitchen, using ingredients they may never have thought to use before. The ingredients chosen also encouraged healthy eating; helping us to improve our physical health and boost our mood.
Here’s one of the dishes we came up with using week one’s ingredients: black beans, tomato puree, and peppers!
We also completed a fitness challenge. Our challenge was to travel the distance from Lands’ End to John O’Groats as a team, a whopping 874 miles! We could do this by walking, running, cycling, rowing, you name it – any form of exercise contributed to our end goal, meaning everyone could take part.
We each individually tracked our miles each day which all contributed to our overall total. No matter where we were or what our fitness level was, we could all work together to travel the distance and reach our goal.
This challenge was especially important because getting outside to exercise each day massively contributes to both mental and physical health. Even when the weather was cold and rainy, having the challenge in mind encouraged us all to push through and get a few miles in. In fact, Sarah, our Marketing Manager, managed to exercise every single day of the challenge! Meaning she was also awarded with a prize for her efforts.
Just because our challenges have been completed doesn’t mean we’ll stop encouraging each other to exercise regularly and eat healthily. In fact, we will soon be implementing new initiatives to help us all keep active.
To celebrate completing our challenges we also made a donation to mental health charity, Mind. We hope our donation will help contribute towards more resources and education regarding mental health, especially considering how incredibly difficult the pandemic has been for all of us.
If you think a cooking or fitness challenge could help your business stay connected, we thoroughly recommend it. If not, we’ve included a few more ideas below to help your team stay engaged during this challenging time:
- A Great British Bake-Off style challenge – the best cake wins, there could also be a healthy spin on this, for example using fruits and vegetables to make sweet treats
- Habit-building challenges – e.g. encouraging employees to drink a certain amount of water per day for a month
- Access to wellbeing resources – at Netstar we have access to a wellbeing hub where experts provide us with information on staying active, eating well, and sleeping better. You can find out more about this here.
- Mindfulness challenges – a meditation webinar could help boost productivity and happiness for employees. You could also challenge them to complete 10-minutes of yoga or meditation per day, there are plenty of free resources and apps you can use.
- Sustainability challenges – with fewer things to do at the moment, it’s a great time to focus on fighting climate change. You could challenge employees to reduce the time they spend driving where possible or encourage them to get out and about litter-picking – not the most glamorous challenge but certainly positive for physical health, mental wellbeing, and sustainability!
We hope these ideas have inspired you to implement initiatives that will help your team stay connected whilst boosting collective wellbeing.
For more information on maintaining positive wellbeing when working from home, we’ve also compiled our own 10 steps for a better working day.