Sharpening up our competitive edge

Posted by Optimation on 27 July 2010

Here at Optimation, we’re sharpening up our competitive edge in more ways than one with the roll out of a company-wide wellness programme and a Summer Shape Up contest. Exercise, eating and sleeping are three basics of maintaining our bodies. You would think these things are obvious. We all know we need sleep, that we need to eat well, and that exercise is vital. But the realities of life mean that actually achieving all three consistently can be tough. With work, families, illness and injuries, it’s easy to fall off the rails. For most of us, work gets squarely in the way of exercise, especially when you’re flat out on a client project. As employers, we know we need to help ourselves and our people find the time and motivation to do something good for themselves. So in Auckland, we’ve partnered with Les Mills to offer a three month Summer Shape Up programme for all of our employees, contractors or permanents. This is not just a gym membership – it’s a carefully constructed health and wellness programme where each person is given their own fitness plan that includes nutrition advice, personal training and group training sessions.

The Wellington team are taking a slightly more independent approach, scheduling regular sessions with workplace wellness expert and fitness diva Mish McCormack of Mishfitness. She’s helping each person design a fitness and nutrition plan that fits their lifestyle. Participants are taking part in a variety of activities including gym-based sessions, home exercise DVDs, and cycling, walking or running in Wellington’s great outdoors (where wind resistance certainly ups the fitness factor). We even have a pole dancing enthusiast! Oh, and Mish is also doing all that scary stuff like taking blood pressure and body measurements, so everyone can track their progress. (Mish has worked as a stunt double on Xena Warrior Princess, so no one is brave enough to slack off on her watch!) To up the motivation to take part (especially since we’re kicking off in the dark winter months, when it’s oh-so-tempting to skip the workout and head straight for the couch), we’ve set up a team competition so everyone gets lots of support. We’re also running weekly group training sessions during lunch breaks, and there are some great prizes for the winning team and individuals. The response to the programme has been fantastic, with around half our Optimates signing up and ten teams taking part. It’s going to be interesting to monitor the results, but hopefully by giving our people every opportunity to take care of their eating and exercise routines, we should have a happier, more motivated workforce. So this leaves sleep as the final part of the trifecta of the three basics of good health. Our theory is that if we give the team the opportunity and the incentive to exercise and eat right (well, better than before, at least), then sleep’s going to be no problem at all.... Let me know what you think of our Summer Shape Up and any ideas that you may have.