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Workplace walking challenges

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A fun and effective way to encourage staff to walk to work and whilst at work is to run competitions. These can take the form of a Workplace Walking or Stairclimbing Challenge, as these are easy to fit around the working day and are great team building activities.

Workplace Walking Challenge

Decide the format for the challenge. Staff can compete against each other in small groups and record how many steps they take collectively throughout the week using pedometers or fitness tracking apps. A prize can then be offered to the winning team who records the most steps.

Alternatively, the challenge could be collaborative across the entire office with a total long-distance target. This would simply take each person’s distance and add them together instead of splitting them up between teams. The target could be based on the distance of an existing route, the distance between two offices, or another landmark distance.

For more ideas about workplace walking challenges, please see the ‘Promoting Walking’ toolkit.

Stair Climbing Challenge

A stair climbing challenge is a quirky way to get hearts pumping and increase employees’ step count.  Individuals or teams use the stairs at work to climb the equivalent height of a famous mountain or landmark in a virtual climb. The British Heart Foundation has a free guide to running a stair climb challenge including everything you need, such as virtual climb statistics and record sheets.

You can print free posters from Step Jockey to display on stair landings during a step challenge or all year round. The posters display the total number of steps between the ground floor and each floor in the building, average calories burned to each floor, and motivational messages to encourage stair use.

Promoting challenges

Putting posters up outlining the challenge targets or prizes is an effective way to get people motivated to take part in the challenge. Try putting up signs in a car park to catch people who would normally drive to work.

Getting the word out through staff emails and team meetings in advance is a good way to make sure people know about the challenge in advance and can give people time to plan walking to work. Having a few events during the week, such as an organised walk after work or at a lunchtime, can also help people who wouldn’t usually walk outside of work to be involved.

Walking apps

Walking apps can add some variety and competition to your walking and even earn rewards, whether as an individual or team. Most phones come pre-installed with apps that track your steps and distance traveled throughout the day and keep a log for easy tracking. You could also use the following apps for a workplace challenge:

  • The Virtual Walk: Your distance gets plotted on a virtual walk through a scenic or historic place. At checkpoints along the way you can view photos and information about the sights along the way.
  • World Walking:  Choose a virtual route to walk and start discovering the sights, as a group with friends or colleagues, or solo.  Download the free app to track your progress.
  • Charity Miles:  Log your miles with the free app for your chosen charity and these equate to money.

Further information and support

Want to encourage smarter travel to work at your workplace? Devon County Council can offer support* to organisations who want to enable their staff to travel more sustainably and actively. Please get in touch via for more information.

*Support offered will depend on availability of funding and engagement and commitment of your workplace.



This page was last updated February 2023.