Organizational Wellness

How to Create an Office Weight Loss Challenge

Oct 31, 2022
Last Updated May 9, 2024

Teams do their best work when they feel connected, especially outside of just work. One of the most rewarding aspects of team building is giving people opportunities to get to know one another, cheer each other on, and improve as a group. Still, it’s not always easy knowing what will bring team members together.

Another part of taking care of your team is ensuring that their health needs are taken care of so that they can feel and perform their best. Work life can be demanding enough that it prevents employees from prioritizing their health and fitness. So, if you’re looking for a way to inspire and unify your team, challenge them to achieve new goals, and prioritize employee health, then one creative solution is to start an office weight loss challenge.

A weight loss challenge may seem daunting at first, but there are some awesome benefits that your whole team will appreciate. This article is going to cover the whys and hows of organizing a work weight loss challenge, so let’s get into it!


Organizing an Office Weight Loss Challenge

An office weight loss challenge is a workplace wellness initiative that provides incentives for employees to lose weight. Employees typically participate in weekly weight check-ins over the duration of the challenge. A winner or group of winners is usually determined by the highest percentages of overall weight loss.

Here are the basic steps to start an office weight loss challenge.


You may need to secure buy-in from your Human Resources team or other areas of leadership before you can begin promoting your weight loss challenge in the workplace. This is often easier if you first define the overall goals of the challenge, how long the challenge will run, and whether the program will be individual or team-based. Consider presenting these plans to your HR leader, along with your promotional plans and how you will measure the program’s success, from total prounds shed to participation rates.

Invite Participants

First, it’s time to rally the troops! Find out who’s interested in taking on the weight loss challenge. You can encourage joining the challenge with fun or unique rewards, a great community to connect with, and other enticing benefits.

Remember: this is an invitation that should encourage all of your employees to participate if they feel comfortable doing so . Do your best to destigmatize what weight loss must look like—all bodies are different, and getting to a healthy weight isn’t just about being skinny. 

Genetics, lifestyle, body type, mental health, outstanding health concerns, and many other factors play into both health and weight, so make sure your challenge is imbued with positivity, inclusivity, and sensitivity. Employees shouldn’t see this as stressful or demeaning, but instead as an opportunity to feel like their best selves while connecting with coworkers.

Set the Scene

While inviting your team members to participate, establish rules and expectations for those who join the challenge. What are the goals of your challenge? Who will collect data, like starting weights and weigh-ins? How often will you gather that data? It’s important to find a discreet way to gather this information so you aren’t putting people on the spot. Find the best way to track data in your office so that people will participate and feel safe while doing so. 

You’ll also need to establish the timeframe with a clear start and end date—anywhere from 6-12 weeks is a reasonable period to see a difference without dragging the challenge out a bit too long. There is a fine balance between keeping people engaged and focused compared to cutting people off before they start getting the results they’ve been working for, so you won’t likely need to exceed 12 weeks for the challenge.

Create a Community

Finally, stay in touch with people! One of your primary goals is to build up your team and help people bond, so try to open up several different social and communication channels. You could use a literal channel on Slack to post motivating content, set weekly progress meetings to discuss successes and frustrations, or connect on social media.

Why Hold an Office Weight Loss Challenge?

There is a lot of power that comes with completing a challenge as a group and even bringing out the competitive side of each person. Weight loss challenges at work provide a unique opportunity to collaborate and compete while working toward a common goal, and these are some ways that you’re going to see your team thrive by participating.

Team Building

First and foremost, an office weight loss challenge is going to foster teamwork and excitement when working together. Not only will your employees have better connections and morale, but your business will also benefit from better teamwork and collaboration. In fact, one study showed that teamwork and workplace collaboration can increase company sales by 27% . Happier teams, better results, and a healthier workforce? It’s not too good to be true— team building is going to elevate the way your company serves the members of your workforce and the external community.

Promoting Wellness = Promoting Happiness

Did someone say: “living my best life?” Offering more support at work for healthier lifestyles is one of the best ways to help people have a fulfilling life. But if you’ve ever tried to boost your fitness or lose weight, you know it’s no easy task! Social support can be a compelling force when it comes to staying motivated and committed to weight loss, especially because peer support can be a great source of positive reinforcement . When you do a weight loss challenge at work, you’re reminding each other every day that they don’t have to make wellness efforts all on their own. 

A 2021 survey found that 79% of employees thought that their company’s wellness programs helped them be as productive as possible, while about 4 out of 5 also believed such programs had helped them avoid getting sick. So not only will employees be more effective at work, but they and their employer are likely to see some healthcare savings too. Now that’s a great cherry on top!

Engagement, Trust, and a Little Competition

Connecting with others is a great strategy for staying committed to your goals. At the same time, it can foster trust and deep, lasting bonds within your team. Did you know that almost two-thirds of employees feel that trust has a direct impact on their sense of belonging at work? That sense of belonging can seriously affect employee engagement, productivity, employee retention , mental health , and even recruitment. Getting to know people more individually through healthy competition is a great way to empower your employees, both at work and in their personal lives.

Work Weight Loss Challenge Tips

Once you’ve got your employees pumped and ready to get started, you can offer more support, exciting rewards, and uplifting messaging by following these tips. Here are the dos for your challenge!

  • Do: Determine a winner by the percentage of total weight lost, not total pounds. Weight loss looks different for everyone, so this is the easiest way to declare a winner fairly.
  • Do: Organize fitness activities to complete as a group. Not everyone is going to know quite what to do, especially on their own. Find ways to be active together!
  • Do: Promote body positivity! Celebrate all body types and efforts made to improve. Also, be sure to prohibit any kind of toxic or unhealthy weight loss behaviors, like using diet pills, starving yourself, or obsessively working yourself to exhaustion.
  • Do: Encourage long-term habits. Remind employees that lasting weight loss comes from healthy, sustainable lifestyle changes, so as they make the right habits, they can continue to work out, participate in wellness programs at work, etc. 
  • Do: Encourage the use of health benefits. Employees are not on their own when trying to lose those pounds. When you offer reliable and unique employee benefits, like an on-site gym or a break room with yummy, healthy food, your employees will be more successful in improving their health.

Now for the things you should not do when implementing your office weight loss challenge.

  • Don’t: Hold in-office weigh-ins. Use the honor system and let people choose how much to share or keep private.
  • Don’t: Force participants to share their progress. Weight loss can be a very personal experience for some, so don’t make anyone feel like they have to publicize their progress or compare their progress to others.
  • Don’t: Make the program mandatory. Not everyone will want to participate and that’s okay! You can still promote healthy living without forcing employees too far out of their comfort zone.

Mid-Challenge Activities Ideas

Need some ideas to get your employees involved? Try some of the following activities.

  • Team fitness classes
  • Smoothies in the office
  • Lunchtime walk-a-thons or other daily walks
  • Eating delicious healthy food at a work potluck
  • Hikes before work
  • A volleyball or basketball game
  • Host a step challenge at work

Celebrating Results

Don’t forget the final, vital step for a work weight loss challenge: celebrating your success! Highlight total pounds lost by all participants, and make sure to recognize achievements outside of the numbers on the scale, too. See how many miles everyone collectively walked, ran, cycled, etc.

You can also reward individuals for unique successes like

  • Best spirit or attitude
  • Best healthy chef
  • Most miles logged
  • Best team player

If you’re ready to start celebrating with your employees, you can offer Wellhub benefits that fully support an office weight loss program. Get started with great benefits that encourage employee health and talk to a wellbeing specialist today.

Company healthcare costs drop by up to 35% with Wellhub! (* Based on proprietary research comparing healthcare costs of active Wellhub users to non-users.) Talk to a Wellbeing Specialist to see how we can help reduce your healthcare spending!



Wellhub Editorial Team

The Wellhub Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.


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