4imprint, LLC

| Updated: February 15, 2023

Employee wellness matters. As more workplaces adopt employee health programs, workplace water challenges are on the rise. Why are these challenges so popular? And, how can you structure a workplace water challenge that works for you? We’ve pulled together some clever campaigns plus wellness prizes to help you get started.

Why are water challenges so popular?

Water makes up a significant portion of the human body—about 60 percent, in fact. As dehydration sets in, so do headaches, fatigue, irritability and poor concentration, according to The Water in You. Everyone can benefit from upping their water intake. Increasing water consumption at work can lead to healthier, more productive and energetic employees, says research published by the British Heart Foundation. Encouraging employees to drink more water is a simple way to realize significant gains in morale and productivity. And, they’re just plain fun! Here are a few ideas.

1. Hold a hydration challenge

As the saying goes, it takes 21 days to make a habit. Hold a 21-day hydration challenge where employees are tasked with consuming their daily-recommended amount of water. The one-size-fits all formula no longer applies. WebMD says a person’s daily water intake should equal between one-half ounce and one ounce for each pound in weight.


Man and woman at office water cooler.

Supply employees with branded water bottles to make a splash at your challenge’s kickoff. Provide plenty of locations to fill it up, too—water coolers and fountains throughout your facility as well as pitchers and promotional cups in meeting rooms and training areas are a must. Encourage employees to chart the number of times they fill up each day and reward progress with wellness prizes such as a hydration backpack or infusion water bottle.

2. Host your own extreme water challenge

A little education can go a long way—literally. On average, a 20-ounce bottle of soda contains 240 calories. A 160-pound person would need to walk about 3.3 miles to burn those calories. A similar effort is needed to compensate for sports drinks, lemonade and other sugary beverages.

A man and woman run, the woman has a water bottle.

In an extreme drink challenge, you can encourage employees to walk what they drink in calories each day. Then, watch consumption of sugary beverages slow to a trickle (PDF)! To help employees remember those stats, print them on a promotional water bottle. Then, as their thirst grows, they’ll have an instant reminder why water is an ideal beverage of choice.

3. Take water challenges online

Your company’s intranet and social media pages are great outlets to remind employees to stay hydrated.

Man on a company's website with a branded water bottle on his desk

Here are just a few ideas for how to use them!

  • Consider posting a fact a day about the benefits of drinking water (or conversely, the consequences of dehydration).
  • Encourage employees to visit, comment or even take a pledge—perhaps to trade in that can of cola and opt for a cool glass of agua, instead.
  • Increase participation by upping the ante—agree to make a donation to one of several nonprofits dedicated to providing safe drinking water in developing countries for each employee that takes a pledge. A simple Google® search will turn up many worthwhile causes.

Reward employees who engage with surprise wellness prizes. Hint—branded water bottles make great giveaways!

Incentivize with wellness prizes

Use wellness prizes (like promotional water bottles) to encourage your staff’s participation in one or more of these water challenge ideas. When you encourage employees to drink more water, you’ll find energy, productivity and improved health await! For even more ideas on promoting healthy habits at work, check out these employee wellness ideas.