By Laura Slagle, Executive Vice President, Consumer Marketing
A bright spot for me during the pandemic has been the ability to work from home. I know that many others don’t have this privilege, and I’m grateful for it. I no longer spend two hours a day in the car. I’ve saved a surprising amount of money on gas and tolls. And, I get to see my family for more than a couple of hours before bed.
But there are down sides to 100% remote working. It’s easy to feel isolated and less connected to our teams, and the distinction between work and home life is hard to maintain. It’s no surprise that 41% of workers feel “burnt out, drained, or exhausted” by their jobs. (SHRM 2020)
One way that has helped our office disconnect from the new reality of always-on video meetings is what I call a Wellness Streak. It’s encouraged employees to unplug for a few minutes every day, while building a community that inspires and motivates healthy behaviors.
I’ve participated in fitness streaks in my personal life for years, and it was simple to adapt the concept for work. The idea was for employees take 30 minutes a day to focus on their health and wellness, and to keep the “streak” going for 30 days. I had no idea if it would catch on, and was happily surprised when about a third of our roughly 100 employee office enthusiastically signed up and completed the Streak.
Here are a few things I did to make it successful:
1 – Made it Accessible. My daily escape is a pre-dawn workout and sunrise coffee on my patio. But that’s not for everybody. I kept the rules broad, asking people to do anything they wanted to unplug and recharge for 30 minutes a day. People got creative – meditating, reading, listening to podcasts, journaling, doing yoga, walking the dog, even making slime with their kids. We recognized that health and wellness looks different for every person.
2 – Made it Last. It takes time for something to become habit. The Streak should be a minimum of 30 days for people to get into the groove. We focused it on workdays because the purpose was to encourage small activities to break away from the day-to-day grind.
3 – Made it Fun. One of the unplanned results of the Streak was that it bonded us as a community. We created a Workplace group for people to post their daily activity, preferably with a picture. People loved to see and comment on each other’s posts. It made us feel closer when we couldn’t interact face to face.
4 – Made it Pay. An incentive never hurts. Everyone who Streaked regularly was entered into a drawing to win a gift card and received a digital certificate of participation from me, our Chief Streaking Officer. Our Wellness Streak cost $100 in gift cards, a small price to pay to support employees’ well-being.
The response has been inspiring. People participated to feel a sense of community, to stay accountable to take care of their mental and physical health, or just to stay sane during quarantine. All of our Streakers said the daily challenge kept them focused on their health and wellness during the workday, and 100% wanted to keep the community going after the Streak ended. Some would love to see a wellness community built out more broadly in our company, and this is a great start. We’re already planning our next Streak and look forward to sharing more outcomes.