Here’s a piece of advice most CEOs probably haven’t heard before:
Every once in a while, you have to don those pink leg warmers, round up the team and spend an hour or so pelting each other with dodge balls. And if it can be done on a massive field of trampolines? Even better.
Workplace group fitness can take many forms. And, admittedly, it doesn’t have to be as off-the-wall (we’d say fun!) as SweatGuru’s recent ninja trampoline dodge ball session-turned-holiday party at San Francisco’s House of Air. Yoga works, too. And judging by the huge difference it makes in the atmosphere here at SweatGuru HQ, group fitness should be a regular part of any startup’s workweek.
We book all sorts of team fitness classes every Wednesday. We’ve tried everything from IT band-focused sessions with Lindsay Jean Thomson of Flex Hour Yoga to Informed Technique’s mash-up of dance, Pilates and an amazing marionette-esque suspension system. We’ve even had company friend Jessica Mishra of Beaming with Health come in to prepare lunch and teach us about healthy eating. All our office workouts are posted on the SweatGuru website, in case any fellow entrepreneurs want to come on over and get sweaty with us. (Hint, hint!)
Before you protest, “But Sweat Guru is a fitness startup,” think again. Workplace wellness programs are on the rise among all sorts of companies. Every other day some new statistic or study pops up touting the return on investment for these programs. The latest shows more than $3 saved for every $1 spent in terms of healthcare costs and productivity.
Those studies are interesting reads for anybody on the fence. But, to be honest, the biggest benefits I seearen’t necessarily quantifiable in a cost analysis. They are just part of building an office culture that people want to be a part of. Not convinced? We’ve got three more great reasons you should give workplace fitness a try:
Take a break.
Like most start-ups, SweatGuru is a small shop, and every one of us is busy, busy, busy putting out all the little fires that erupt when you’re launching a new company. Big, flashy perks may be de rigueur among Bay Area tech companies to attract and keep top talent, but that wasn’t necessarily the reason we started office fitness. We just wanted to inject a little fun into our work lives and give our team (and ourselves!) something to look forward to each week.
When you work as hard as we do, a mid-week breather really amps up morale.
Clear your heads.
Getting a little sweaty midday does wonders for our thought process. And we aren’t alone. Plenty of research demonstrates that exercise improves concentration, boosts energy and puts people in better moods during the workday. Who doesn’t want a happier and more focused team?
It’s such a simple tradeoff. An hour-long sweat session in exchange for a happy crew? Yes, please.
Build your team.
Our group sweat sessions allow us to laugh together, try new things together and share in common non-work experiences. Is there a better way to build bonds than rooting on coworkers as they try and possibly fail (ourselves included) at hula hoop yoga in the park?
Whether we’re doing bootcamp, TRX or whatever else is on the agenda for that week, working out together gives us something to talk about and remember.
Our workplace workouts make us a more relaxed, productive and stronger team. And all it costs the company is an hour or so a week. In our book, the benefits are invaluable and immeasurable, which is probably why you won’t read about them in one of those studies any time soon.
Jamie Walker and Alyse Mason-Brill are cousins, best friends, fitness experts and co-founders of fitness startups, Fit Approach and SweatGuru. They are based in San Francisco, but determined to bring fitness and well-being to every corner of the world with their companies. Look for a #SweatPink ambassador, find a fitness class on SweatGuru in your town, or join the movement and get in touch with them about starting your own. For more information, check out their full bios here.