Corporate Fitness: A Mind Game

Workforce Fitness for Corporate WellBeing by Iza Jameel

Having reached the corporate office to conduct a training session a good 20 minutes before time, I had enough leisure to enjoy the everyday morning punch-in parade of the company staff. I was at the front office area of one the most reputed IT companies, with presence in 39 countries.

True to my professional seasoning, the obvious things my mind initially started data-feeding were the visual communications of the team-members as they walked-in, stepped ahead, punched-in and disappeared behind the glass wall in the labyrinth of cubicles. But as always happens in many of my silent observations, something new popped up — the tired laziness oozing out of their attitudes. From the sleepy eyed faces, to the bored expressions and lethargic walks; everything from their bodies to their attitudes screamed for freshness, energy and exercise. Out of the 200 something middle and senior management members and technical staff who walked in that day, I would say only about 5% looked happy and ready to be there that morning.

I walked to the front desk and inquired if they had a fitness zone on their premises as many corporate houses nowadays boast of, and yes they did had one. Not to my surprise, very few attended it and it was usually found empty. They didn’t had the time or energy to work-out, was the answer to my next query. And I wondered how much productivity the company was losing on with the lack of energy so evident in its team. Throughout my session, the thought kept strengthening. It took about 15–20 minutes for the group to settle down and finally look semi-prepared to attend. The faces were dull, lifeless, expressionless and shockingly jaded. Had there been any other trainer with any less energy-level than mine, would have easily given up and dragged the session to finish line.

But I was not there for a finish line, I am never there for the finish-line; my purpose is to bring everyone up and ready for the starting-point. A starting-point to create the life you wish for, dream for — but seldom work for. (Quote:Me)

And so we started talking about fitness; the importance of exercise and why they do not have the time and energy for working out. As always, the answers were universal –

· Too much work, too much stress, too many responsibilities.

· How can you expect me to work-out when I have a project deadline to meet in 12 days?

· Where do you think is the time to work-out in between getting the kids ready for school, preparing breakfast and lunch for all and reaching for office on time?

· How can I use the office gym with so much work load?

· You can’t expect me to work-out in between office hours — you know you need to change clothes, get all sweaty, and then take a shower and then change in your office gear again.

· I feel tired and sleepy after working out, I can’t work-out in the office gym and then work at my desk.

· I always start with lots of promises and hopes, but then it never lasts.

Yes ! I know ! We have heard them, said them, and argued for them and against them a hundred times. For the people in the training room, and for all the minds reading this and arguing ‘for’ the excuses above, I have just one question –

“How do people who do exercise, do it ? — with the same set of responsibilities, same number of hours in a day and same form of life.”

We often argue that people in higher positions or more lavish lifestyles can include luxuries of working-out in their routines; but think for a while that maybe they are in that position because they have learned the art of managing their time and energy in the most efficient way. Jyoti Rajput of Carewell Fitness says, “it’s toughest to make corporate workers follow their fitness schedule, they always have work as an excuse.” So, coming back to where we started — Corporate houses need to start paying more attention to their employee’s health and fitness if they are looking for optimum levels of performance. And opening a gym on premises is not enough. There needs to be paradigm shift in the thought-process, inculcating a positive atmosphere and change in the mind-sets is more important. Bringing in fitness experts for an informative session, a personal trainer for some on-spot 15 minute work-out break, including stress-busting-get-up-jog-up activities in the day, are the demand of the lazing workforce. Innovation is required in the HR approach towards employee welfare. A healthy team-member is not only imperative for TQM graphs, but also for the overall well-being of the organization.

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