By Ellie Howard on Sep 22, 2017 3:00:04 AM
The water cooler has been empty for days. One employee returns to the office, sweating from the 90 degree heat. Another walks in place at his desk. Slack is filled with constant requests... “Do you want to go on a walk??”
Welcome to Sapper Steps.
Sapper Steps, a 30 day walking competition, is the first initiative of our corporate wellness program.
After completing an employee wellness survey, it was clear that our team was not getting in enough exercise at work. In fact, some employees rarely left their desks, averaging as little as 2,000 steps a day. Even with a ping pong table in the office, desk jobs remain sedentary.
This kind of lifestyle results in more than just boredom, aches, and pains. Those 5 hours of sending emails may feel productive, but you’re also increasing your BMI, slowing your metabolism, and even raising your risk of diabetes and cancer.
The solution? Regular movement throughout the day (not just your 60 minute sweat sesh on lunch).
Regular Exercise = Brain Food
Physical activity is essential for basic health, but it's also a mental game changer for the modern workplace. Not only does regular movement lower stress levels, it improves concentration and prolongs mental stamina.
In fact, one study found that exercising at work is associated with enhanced cognitive processing, meaning your employees will stay sharp long after their morning coffee. Another study found that exercising at work directly improves mood while also improving employee performance. Happier, healthier, & more efficient employees are only a walk away.
Maybe it's the nature of startup life, but the Sapper team is particularly competitive. In fact, gamifying walking may have offered enough motivation to increase our crew’s step count. Regardless, we offered prizes.
Every participant who walked 120,000 steps for the month received an invitation to a healthy lunch & kickball tournament. Whichever team had the most steps received a wellness gift card of their choice.
We broke down the company into 6 random teams, who named themselves accordingly:
1. Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure
2. Team Julie
3. Chafing The Dream!!!!!!!
4. Not Fast, Just Furious
5. Step Up 2: The Sequel
6. Led Steppelin
Working from home is optional, but Sapper employees happily took their walking initiatives outside of the office. Rachel Rentschler, Client Strategist, began waking up early to walk with her mom before work. Megan Anthony, Content Intern, had her entire family competing, including her 8 year-old brother.
Because teams were randomly selected, we created an opportunity for cross-team collaboration. Members of the Sales Team had a reason to talk to Operations, and Client Strategists could branch out beyond their pod. Everyday, groups of employees would walk around the parking lot and take a breather from the hustle.
Sapper Steps offered an opportunity for connection, in and outside of the office.
At the end of our competition, I surveyed the team for feedback. 100% of employees walked more as a result of the competition and 88% of participants socialized with someone new. What is most exciting about the competition is that employees reported habit changes.
In just 30 days, a simple competition has our team actively working on their health.
And this is only our first step (pun totally intended).
To learn more about Sapper, what we do and our company culture, hit the button below.