Thursday, January 7, 2016

10:38 PM

There is a large room in our office that we call the "War Room". It is the room that gets taken over in the midst of large litigation projects - huge maps will fill the walls, 3-dimensional models will crowd table space, and reports, files and other detritus will cover all remaining surfaces. But the rest of the time this large, airy, and natural-light filled room remains unused and therefore has also become a repository for old computers, redundant copies of reports, etc. Why this matters will come apparent soon.

As I mentioned in a recent post, towards the end of last year, in a desperate attempt to fit working out into a jam-packed work day, I proposed to all of my colleagues that we take two mini-breaks at day - one at 10AM and another at 2PM - to do a 7-minute workout. The response was and remains enthusiastic, with sometimes as much as 20% of the company pumping out a short workout twice a day - at their desks, in the hall or crowded together in a conference room. The president of the company has even joined in. Twice.

People have started bringing dumbbells into work to spice up the intensity of these mini-HIITs. Those in dresses and high heels modify the exercises as appropriate, but still come. One woman took a call while participating yesterday. It has really become a "thing". So much so that yesterday I worked up the courage to propose the following to the rest of the senior management:

There has been such a positive response to the 7-minute workout that it is really starting to have an important impact on employee happiness, bonding and company culture. Given the obvious interest in activities such as these, I think it makes sense to dedicate some real space in the office to support employee wellness. How about we convert the War Room into a "Wellness Room" - you know, clean it out and get some yoga mats and light workout equipment so people can go there to workout, meditate, whatever...

I held my breath.

How about a nap pod? was the first response.

The deal was sealed. By the end of January, instead of a cluttered, under-utilized room we will have a Wellness Room where can gather for our twice a day workouts, and where anybody can go anytime to relax, workout or otherwise re-energize. I am so happy I could dance a jig.

So much anymore our work and personal lives are so intermixed, it only makes sense to try to work at the best job that you can, with the best people that you can, and to promote the values that are important to you in that space. I don't work at a big fancy tech company where some of these kinds of perks are taken for granted. I am ever more though, through quiet and not-so-quiet efforts, working at a company that supports the idea of building a community around wellness.

Baby steps....(and jumping jacks, squats and push ups).

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