Workplace workout stories

Pumping iron

I’m at a 3 day workplace training session this week, on conducting workplace investigations. That’s one of those things we do often as university administrators but we get very little explicit training. This workshop is being conducted on campus but by a consultant external to the university. I joked that the first sign it was by someone from outside the university was the warning that we’d be greeted by jugs of still water to drink and that there’d be no caffeine until the break. Yikes! She also brought her own healthy snacks to give out. I may have mocked this–and I did bring my own iced Americano–luckily there is a Starbucks on the first floor of the building–but they were yummy and vegan. She also included a 30 min resistant band workout in our day to keep us awake and alert.

I wasn’t at all sure how this would go, but in the end, I think she gets two thumbs up.

First, it was marked optional on our agenda and she announced that some people might prefer a walk in the fresh air for their active break. So there was a ‘no shame’ way out.

Second, the instructor was live on Zoom so that encouraged active participation. It’s easy to ignore a recorded work out video but harder when it’s an actual person in real-time.

Third, the instructor did a good job of giving a range of movement options and avoided the language that some are harder or better than others.

Fourth, we were sent a reminder email that mentioned the physical activity and suggested we wear comfortable clothes. I did note though that the presenter of the workshop wore a dress with heels and changed for the workout.

Overall, I liked it and felt better for having done it.

Getting some movement in during our workshop

So if that’s a good example of working out at work, what’s a bad example? How about When the CEO Wants You to Work Out With Him? One of our bloggers commented, “Someone on LinkedIn touted it as a good thing that a CEO mandate weekly workouts with him. Didn’t want to comment there. So copying here to say, uh, no. Give people time to exercise sure but mandate they workout with you and your Type A vibes. Nope.”

That’s a bit much for me but I’d probably go for the option of being paid to workout at work.

“Companies all around the world are focused on how they can better support the physical and mental wellness of their employees and prevent burnout. Some workplaces have even started offering days off just for mental health.At Nutrition Solutions this looks like paying their staff a little extra money to exercise. On Wednesdays and Fridays, every employee at the meal-prep company has the option to attend a free exercise class before the workday starts. For many, the incentive is hard to pass up.“If they come to those workouts, they are on the clock. They’re getting compensated whatever their pay rate is to be there,” says Chris Cavallini, CEO of Nutrition Solutions.”

I also like Nat’s workplace gym and exercise classes, and way back when Jenn blogged about the company she worked for having an athletic allowance.

How about you? What are your experiences with exercise at your workplace? Are there times when it feels good and energizing to move at work, or have your experiences been all about shame and feeling pressured? Let us know what works and what doesn’t.


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