How A Friendly Team Competition is Vital For Team Morale

Reading time: 6 minutes

A challenge that has blown up massively in the past few weeks on Tiktok is the ‘centre of gravity challenge’.

If you haven’t seen it – or tried it – here’s how it works.

A man and a woman get down on all fours next to each other, rest their heads in their hands whilst balancing on their elbows and knees. They then take their elbows off the ground to put their hands behind their back. This typically results in the man falling face first and the woman laughing hysterically whilst still balancing, looking rather smug.

I can’t tell you why this happens.

I can only tell you that, as a man, when it goes wrong… it can really hurt, although this does depend on the cushion your carpet provides. If you have a wooden floor, good luck to you and your face!

Why am I talking about this though? Why does this matter to you reading this?

Well, I believe that challenges like these go viral for three reasons:

  1. They are a good laugh and a source of entertainment and escapism, which fights off any lockdown related boredom
  2. They can be super competitive and contagious, people want to see whether they are able to complete the challenge, overcome the odds and complete them better than others.
  3. They spark conversations amongst groups, making other people want to get involved and bringing people together.

With the pandemic splitting teams apart, and potentially making it more difficult to communicate and connect with each other, then surely inventing a challenge which provides these three elements is exactly what is needed!

At Excel, we decided to dive in and give this a go by creating a challenge for the team.

Here is what we have discovered so far.

When starting our challenge, we were confident that it would be beneficial on so many levels, however we were certain that it would tick off the three basic aforementioned elements.

It would be fun, it would be competitive and it would for sure be a talking point amongst the team.

So, what did we decide to do? In my opinion, its beauty is in its simplicity.

Two teams and a bunch of pedometers… the most steps during the week wins! The individual with the lowest steps faces a dreaded forfeit! Easy right?

Well we have just closed off the third week of our ‘Here comes the hotstepper’ challenge, so now is a great time to see how it is delivering for us as a team so far!

Helping Us Live a Healthier Lifestyle

Working from home has, for some, had a detrimental impact on the amounts of exercise they are getting daily. When work and your personal life is all in one place, why would you leave?

Well if you are a regular reader of our blogs, you will know how much we encourage getting outside and breaking out from your four walls. A couple of our blogs that discuss the benefits of exercise and fresh air are available for you here.

The parameters of our competition are not restricted to working hours; therefore, we are promoting people to not only get their steps in during weekdays, but also to continue it into healthier weekends.

I know for me, the weekends could easily become 48 hours of doing the bare minimum, whereas now, it is a goldmine of time to get stepping. A gift of such.

This also means that if you wake up in the middle of the night to use the facilities in your house at 2am, those steps are counted towards your weekly total! So, any excuse to get moving is a bonus for you and your team.

Another area where this is really key is at the end of a busy day working. With your eye on the prize, the temptation to collapse on the sofa and binge watch you favourite TV shows for hours is lessened, as you still have time to get out for some gentle exercise in the daylight.

One member of the team even claimed that this helped with ‘calorie-guilt’… which I think is amazing! Takeaways often come with a side of guilt, however through the activity that this challenge generates, the guilt has been lifted. A silencing of the nagging voice within, as the sense of achievement confirmed that you have indeed earned this one.

Promoting Us to Take Regular, Quality Breaks

Each week, the number of steps, both per team and for the most part, per individual, has increased.

One of the goals behind the challenge was to encourage people to take breaks and to get up from behind desks and get moving. This therefore is numeral evidence that it is indeed working, and that breaks are becoming an important part of each day.

When asking the team about the changes that this challenge has brought about to their day to day, it was stunning to discover how often I was told of how it helped their productivity, mood and energy levels. People are getting outside for longer and increasing their heart rate by trying to get in as many steps as possible during time away from the screen.

This had the biggest effect for those whose style may naturally be to chain tasks onto each other. This challenge has pushed them off their chair more often, which has meant that they now have a clear contrast of the effects a quality break has against a day without one, as well as the level of fatigue they feel at the end of the day when they have in essence, barely stepped away from their responsibilities, physically and mentally.

Noticeable Team Effort and Spirit

Teamwork is another big reason behind this push to get moving. Individuals are recognising that by not taking breaks to be active, they are not only hampering their potential productivity and increasing their level of fatigue and demotivation that comes from being stagnant, but they are also decreasing their team’s chances of winning the week’s competition.

It is also fascinating to see how people react when results are revealed. There is a true investment in their team winning the challenge, despite the fact that the winning team does not actually win anything.

Perhaps this is pride? However I also like to think that this is a celebration of how, despite being many miles away, our collective individual efforts helped each other succeed.

Very symbolic indeed.

Building (Friendly) Competition

There is a friendly competitiveness brewing in every team chat, with the phrase ‘I don’t want to lose this’ muttered often.

The positive in this is that it has not developed into full, devastating trash talk, similar to that seen at a weigh in before a huge world title fight. It has been light-hearted and encouraging, and in some cases, inspirational, as it has given myself and others new ideas of how we can fit physical activities into even the busiest of days.

Personally, I acknowledge that I now do more because of the internal fear that grows from the word ‘forfeit’. It is just so cryptic and damning. It is always so much more fun and comfortable to discover what hides behind the word when it is not you that will have to face it.

Whether through irrational fear or not, having some banter between us about what we have been getting up to in order to win is a really good motivator.

Additionally, if someone has smashed it out of the park one week, and done a ridiculous number of steps, you take it upon yourself to knock them off their perch. (a very British trait indeed!).

Providing a Welcome Escape

When a group of people get together to talk virtually during 2021… what subject do you think always gets brought up a fair amount of times?

That’s right. Coronavirus.

We get stuck in this verbal rut of talking about all the things we can’t do and how much we miss the lives we lead before.

Well, through having an overarching competition, this is very much flipped on its head.

I am not saying that the virus does not get mentioned, however when it does, a big discussion point is how active we have been, and how much we have done rather than how much we have missed doing.

No more stories of long drawn out boredom sat in the same room for hours. Now we discuss walks we had to up our step counts, or that work out we did that gained us a couple of thousand on their step count, and even how we loved getting out in the spring sunshine.

We are all pretty good at keeping positive during the tough times, however if you joined our calls now, you may be forgiven for forgetting that there is a pandemic happening.

That has not been achieved either by making that topic taboo, having some type of swear jar or just outright banning it being mentioned. It has come from a simple competition.

Of course, with all these amazing benefits, the ‘here comes the hotstepper’ challenge is continuing amongst the Excel team.

Whilst you are reading this now, one of us is likely to be tap dancing or tip toeing down their local street.

As I said before, it is super simple, and it did not take extreme depths of creativity to conceive. However, it is amazing how such a simple idea can be so impactful. Just remember that it needs to be fun, competitive and something that will breed discussions amongst the group.

We did not invent the next big viral TikTok challenge. We did take those three basic things and adapted them to something truly helpful as individuals and as a collective in our current circumstances.

We have so many questions and we would love to hear from you!

Do you think this would help you and your team? What other challenges have you been running whilst working from home? How many steps are you doing in a week?

Please get in touch, reach out on our social media pages, send a messenger pigeon. Get involved!


Alex & The Excel Team

P.S. If you would like to discuss any of your learning & development challenges for 2021, call us on +44(0) 1628488 854. 






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