Doncaster charity Active Fusion has recently launched #ActiveTeams, a virtual challenge designed to get employees active with their colleagues, friends and family.
The challenge takes place this July and asks participants to commit to taking part in 20, 40 or 60 minutes of physical activity every weekday throughout the month.
It's designed to get people to move more, whilst helping the Active Fusion cause.
Helen Jones and Sophy Sylvester from darts (Doncaster Community Arts) have signed up for the challenge and spoke out about what it means for them from a workplace perspective.
Helen and Sophy have been encouraging their colleagues to get out and about on their lunchbreaks at work for the past three years.
Both of them acknowledged that it requires a shift in workplace culture and that it takes time to become part of the ethos of the organisation.
Contending with a high workload can make some people feel guilty about leaving their desks and Sophy said that #ActiveTeams is good way to make people feel they have permission to get out of the office.
Staring at a screen for hours on end takes it toll on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing, not only making it very difficult to summon the energy to exercise once work is over but also on job motivation. For these reasons, companies would reap long-term benefits by getting involved with #ActiveTeams. Not only are physically and mentally well staff more productive, they’re also less likely to take time off.
As well as being motivated and refreshed upon returning to work, Helen and Sophy said that a lunchtime walk or jog allows colleagues to get to know each other and enhances team relationships and supportiveness.
Helen said: “We enjoy doing something together as an organisation. Physical activity brings people together and what I really like about #ActiveTeams is the use of minutes because it makes the challenge seem more achievable. It will help people get into a routine and if they’re taking part with their colleagues, they’re more accountable and likely to stick with it.
“When we go for a walk or jog we come back feeling refreshed. You’ve done something for yourself and you’re set up to get back to work. I think that if employees saw everyone getting involved with #ActiveTeams, including senior staff, it would help to show that everyone is supported in getting physically active.”
Sophy added that getting out at lunchtime gives her headspace to think over her work and come back to the office with fresh ideas, instead of getting bored and tired working through lunch. And she said that although she’s not a “naturally sporty” person and finds running challenging, it’s about doing something for herself and feeling good.
Both women said that sport has opened up the door to new friendships and skills and that the same could happen for employees empowered to take part in the challenge.
Helen said: “I started rowing in a team when I was 39. I’ve made friends with both men and women who I would otherwise never have met. Rowing was completely new to me and I’ve learnt a whole new set of skills. It’s all about being part of something.”
If you’d like to encourage your workforce to be more physically active or take part as an individual, find out more about #ActiveTeams and sign up at activefusion.org.uk/community/challenges