4 easy ways to use the Olympics to boost workplace energy August 3rd, 2016, by Ken Buckley

For corporate wellness managers, the Olympics are like a gift from the (Olympian) gods. Suddenly everyone is interested in sport; admiring the dedication, determination and strength of the athletes.

They’re thinking about how they too can be Faster | Higher | Stronger in their own lives, at work and personally.

The Olympics can give your workplace – and your employees – a shot of energy. And it’s not too late to organise.

The trick is to involve everyone, including the non-sporty and the not-yet-fit. The idea of a running race will send those guys… well… running. Make it fun, make it accessible and use it as an energy booster.

Here are some easy ways you can use Olympics fever to get all your employees moving:

  1. Start the day with an Olympic warm up

For the duration of the Olympics (5-21 August), hold a stretching and warm up session at the start of each day’s work.

Choose exercises that people can do in work clothes. Various stretches, or some light walking/ jogging on the spot. Make it fun and enjoyable, use cool or cheesy music. Consider getting different managers to run it in their own unique style.

  1. Make it a novelty

Hold an Olympics day (or lunchtime) – but make it fun.

Run novelty races – the ones you remember from childhood: the three legged race, sack race, egg & spoon. (Check your insurance and see if you need indemnity forms!)

It’s up to you how you organise the groups: fair or blatantly unfair. Eg senior managers race against each other (regardless of gender or age)l; or men and women in a separate races, or Millennials vs Boomers.

  1. Country vs country

Each employee joins a country team, and the country that racks up the most steps over the month wins.

Depending on the number of employees, you may choose to use all the participating countries, or just a selection. Allocate employees to each country by some random method, eg picking a country out of a hat, or via an excel spreadsheet for dispersed teams.

You don’t have to measure it by the number of steps. You could count the number of times people use the stairs not the lifts, or the number of pushups, or the serves of veggies eaten, or work-related KPIs such as sales.

  1. Hold a mini-tournament

While the idea of running 100 metre sprint is a turnoff for most people; and wrestling won’t pass WHS compliance, there are many Olympics sports which are accessible and fun.

Each week, hold a mini-tournament based around one of these Olympic sports:

  • Handball (you’d be amazed how competitive people get over this easy sport, and you just need to draw some chalk squares on the ground)
  • Badminton (you can set this up cheaply with a net and bats in a nearby park)
  • Table tennis (if you don’t have one, you can turn the boardroom table into a pingpong table with a detachable net)
  • Volleyball (you can follow the Newcomb rules which allow catching rather than hitting).

It’s all about the how

As always, the success of these events from a corporate wellness point of view all depends on the “hoopla”: the promotion, the energy, the how and the why.

Make the effort to promote the events well before, during and after, in a fun and high energy way. Get team leaders and managers onboard to whip up some team rivalry and camaraderie. Whip up some posters, send around clear email teasers and reminders, and use your wellness champions to talk about it and generate interest.

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