In July 2017, Sharon Pollard, HR Business Partner at Workhuman, created a Slack group called “WHFit”. Her desire to share her love of fitness with her colleagues inspired her to create the channel, but she did not anticipate that, fast forward to March 2020, the group would absolutely take off. Her hope was to create a platform where the humans of Workhuman could share their personal
fitness stories – be it mind, body or soul focused. As a member of the HR team, Sharon understands that a healthy body and mind are directly correlated to high productivity and a positive attitude – all things that we hold as incredibly important for the engagement of our people.
As a company, we have runners and rock climbers, skiers and swimmers, fitness and yoga instructors, Pilates experts and martial artists. We completed our first company-wide 5k last November and encourage our employees to get out for a walk throughout the day or hit one of our fitness centers. The health and wellbeing of our employees has always been a priority.
With this in mind, when Covid-19 changed our lives this spring, Sharon revisited the Slack channel, inspired to give our employees a way to virtually connect and stay engaged. The channel took off and has over 150 members to date.
As the group grew in popularity, Jamie Scott, a Delivery Lead on our Ecommerce team, heard about the group and began sharing ideas around different fit challenges. He wanted to retain his fitness level and a positive attitude and figured, hey, how hard could a 30-day challenge be? In his words, “boy, was I wrong!”
As an avid runner, Jamie enjoyed running at lunch time from the office and coaching at a local Athletics Club. When the pandemic hit, restrictions in Ireland limited what he had access to, and he knew finding an outlet during such a time of unknown was important.
The first challenge, 30 days of planks, was mutually enjoyed (and commiserated about!) and the group began to share additional ideas and challenges – squats, mixed exercises, a detox/cleanse and so much more. Members posted photos and videos, encouraging one another to complete the challenges and cheer one another on. Members joined of all fitness levels – from experts to beginners – and all were welcomed.
“One thing I’ve learned as a Running and Fitness Coach,” says Jamie, “it’s easy to start something, but equally easy to give up! The aim of the WHFIT challenges is to keep people engaged from Day 1 to Day 30.”
As the days turned into months and the world continues to find new ways to stay engaged and connected, motivated and positive, the WHFit group leaned in and supported one another. It’s been hugely positive for all involved, “We’ve not only bonded (virtually) but kept one another motivated to complete each day’s exercises. There’s nothing better or more motivating than seeing a team member or your boss sharing an update ‘Day X Done!’…and you still have your exercises to do!” says Jamie.
And beyond the mental and physical motivation, the fit group truly aligns with our company values – “Respect for Teamwork” and “Respect for All”. Sharon notes, “If you think about the behaviors of collaboration, supporting each other in accomplishing the same goal, and connecting with each other and the behaviors that we have witnessed in association with inclusivity – looking past differences, and just focusing on completing a fitness challenge together and celebrating each other’s victories big or small with no biases – all of these tie perfectly in with our company values.”
With an Achievement Nomination given through our recognition platform, Gratitudes, each time a challenge is completed, participants are also motivated and enjoy a public shout-out for their accomplishments. It also gives employees a way to look back on all the positive they have accomplished during quarantine.
As a company that values the whole human, we miss being together in person daily. However, the WHFit group has connected in a new way that has not only motivated and encouraged a healthy lifestyle, but also promoted positivity in a time where we can also use a little more light in our days.
The group is looking forward to the next challenge and, when it is safe to do so, getting together to celebrate these fitness milestones in person. Until then, they’re off to do some pushups, and you know, they may even be happy about it.
About the AuthorMore Content by Janna Millette