A year ago I noticed that I was one of the few left on my team who was not wearing a FitBit®. I didn’t see the lure, thought it was a fad and honestly felt that it looked like a prisoner’s tracking device. Around the same time I heard multiple colleagues, and myself, swear off bad food and pledge they were going to be more active. Easier said than done! So. Many. Birthdays. I finally broke down and bought a FitBit® to confirm I was getting 10K steps a day (which I wasn’t) but had no idea of the side effects the WorkWeek Hustle would have on me and my team. Let me stop here for a second and say that getting healthy does not follow a 9-to-5 schedule and that buying any fitness tracking device is a foolproof way to get in shape. Boy do I wish that were true! With that being said, here are a few side effects that came with the “WorkWeek Hustle” and wearing a FitBit®
Walking one-on-one meetings
An hour can go by fast during a workday when sitting in meetings, but it can also go by fast when walking and talking. Walking meetings are more interactive, ideas have a better flow and because you’re not staring at the other person, it allows for a more honest and direct discussion. Do you ever think of really good ideas on your way to work or over the weekend? I feel it’s because it’s still in the back of your mind but you’re doing other things that somehow triggers a relevant thought even when you’re out of your environment. For me, the same thing happens with walking meetings. It gets the blood flowing and triggers good conversation and ideation with your team.
I let my associate tell me if they want to do a walking or sitting 1:1 so it’s appropriate for the discussion topics but even if 2 – 3 meetings a week are spent moving, it’s better than nothing. It did take a time or two to get accustomed to making notes when getting back to our desks so we didn’t forget what was discussed. Now I will dictate a note on my phone so I remember discussion points.
Since many of us were walking and competing for the weekly step trophy, we were trying to be a lot more healthy overall. This helped inspire healthy lunches and better choices for birthday treats. More fruit salad, less cupcakes…less guilt when sitting down to eat dinner! We also started sharing healthy recipes and being mindful of what we were picking up and eating because it was there versus what we really wanted to enjoy as a treat.
Better cross-team engagement
The workweek hustle (through FitBit®) started in my digital team and then someone invited their friend from finance who invited their friend on the creative team. Workweek hustles turned into friendly hallway conversations between teams (and a bit of friendly smack-talking) and lead to a wider network of people in the organization that were looking to get/stay healthy. Always made for a good ice breaker in meetings too: “How did you get all those steps this week? Did you put your FitBit® on your dog?!”.
I am always encouraging my team to collaborate with other teams, especially for brainstorming events, because it’s good to have a variety of perspectives on a topic, especially from those who are not close to a specific task. I have found that friendly competition brings like-minded people together and helps to diversify your friends across an organization. This comes in handy when thinking through a new project and wanting to better understand how the organization works too.
I often hear that my peers at other companies and agencies would like to do more of this…be more focused on health at work. I am lucky that Quill and Staples encourages a healthy work-life-work-health balance and incentivize us for doing such activities. I encourage you to lead the charge and have a conversation with HR to see what tools and resources may be available to get started at your work. I guarantee once you throw the idea out there, others will latch on and all will be grateful when looking back on the year as I am. Plus, I noticed that there were a lot of other opportunities that existed that I didn’t pay attention to before. For example, there are many associates that participate in 5K walks/runs, marathons, MyFitnessPal food tracking in addition to all that’s offered through our corporate gym. I wish I could say that wearing a FitBit® will instantly make you healthy. It doesn’t. It takes a lot of work and dedication but it helps when you’re not doing it alone. It’s great when your household is on-board and even better when you have work friends to help avoid pitfalls when at the office.
Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!