Last night, my husband and I were discussing a “Biggest Loser” type of work challenge (and honestly it was mainly a “hey this reminds me of those episodes on the Office” conversation).

Image via nbc.com/the-office

I’m all for workplaces encouraging their employees to be healthy, but my sense of fairness gets a little offended when people can win great prizes from their employer for losing weight, but the employees who are already maintaining a healthy weight are completely left out.

Maybe I’m being sensitive.

What do you think? Do you think programs like the one I mentioned alienate already fit employees?

How would you recommend employers incentivize their staff to be healthy (not exclusively weight loss)? Or should they stay out of it?

My personal opinion is that if some sort of fitness competition is going to be organized, it should be a goal-oriented, overall wellness competition. Weight loss may be an important goal for some, for others increasing strength, indurance or flexibility may be more important goals. Health reward programs at work should be open to everyone.

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5 thoughts on “Fair?

  1. I must admit, just the beginning of the month I was the winner of a work sponsored health contest. The contest was based on how many steps you took. Every month your name was put in for a drawing one time for each 10,000 steps you took that month. At the end of three months your name was put in once if you had taken over 600,000 steps. I won for the 600K (my total was 600,773). The new contest this quarter is you earn one point per day for drinking 32oz of water, one point for 30 mins activity, and one point for 7-8 hours of sleep. At the end of the month, anyone with 66 or more points gets put in for a drawing. Each month the total points needed to enter goes up.

    I really like the way my employer has organized the contest.. it doesn’t base the winner on results (ie: weight loss), only on participation.

  2. I think it’s great incentive but I agree, “winners” can be awarded for unfair reasons. Why not have everyone set a goal, then get entered in a drawing or something? Have different categories: weight-loss, setting a routine (of going to the gym or just eating better), things like that. While my goal is weight-loss, many may just want to eat healthier, etc. I guess at least they are encouraging wellness overall though!

  3. Could have sworn I commented on this post, but my computer was being wacky and froze. Anyway, long story short I think that work places should aim for something that is all inclusive. Even skinny people have room for improvement in health and fitness. I really like Jennifer’s comment. I think the point of getting people moving and drinking more water is really important. Just because a person isn’t overweight, doesn’t mean they are healthy….maybe they would like to be included too. Even so, it’s the thought that counts….it’s nice to feel like a team in the work place.

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