Vision prides itself on a positive company culture and have always boasted that our staff are our biggest asset. When Covid-19 hit back in March this year, we were quick to react and sent our staff home to work remotely. The majority of our staff in our head office in the UK and in our European office, continue to work remotely some eight months later.
Like many other businesses, scheduled video calls help keep the teams up to date on what is happening in the market and the business itself, while helping to maintain a good dialogue within the various teams.
To help boost both mental and physical wellbeing, both likely to be affected in some way throughout the pandemic, Group Hospitality Sales & Marketing Director Fraser Donaldson recently set the hospitality team the task of challenging themselves. Each member of the team set their own unique challenges to complete over a four week time period.
The challenges submitted were diverse, ranging from increasing daily steps, achieving running goals, eating healthier to increasing quality time spent with the family, and even to giving up a Diet Coke habit. The ultimate goal was to give each individual something to focus on external to their work and to bring about a physical or mental benefit, with the added incentive of a fitness watch as the winners prize. One thing we can say is, the Friday hospitality team video calls lifted spirits as we light-heartedly reviewed each individuals’ progress.
By the end of the 4 weeks, we can say that of the 27 challenges submitted, some had more success than others, while others truly smashed their set targets. Ultimately there can only be one winner, and that was Thomas Mulrooney, our Ecommerce Manager, who challenged himself to walk 100,000 steps per week, for 4 weeks. Here’s what he had to say.
What did your average step count look like before the challenge?
My average step count was around the 6-7K mark per day. However, I did have days where I would barely reach 4K. Once I’d finished the challenge my average count was up to 14K.
Why did you choose that particular challenge?
I do a sedentary job where I’m sat at my desk for most of the day, so I think it’s important to get your daily dose of physical activity. By setting a target it encouraged me to get up and out.
I also wanted to do it for health reasons. A few years back my weight was nearing 15 stone, I bought myself a Fitbit to encourage me to get more exercise, alongside having a better diet. I set a target of 10K a day and after 4 months of not missing a day, I ended up getting down to 12 stone 10 and I felt much fitter at the same time.
Fast forward a couple of years, one baby later and a couple of extra stone sneaking back on, I find myself back at just over 14 stone. The hospitality team challenge encouraged me to get moving and help lose a bit of weight again. I do think the pandemic has encouraged us to get a little lazier, so I wanted to get out of that funk.
Did you think it would be achievable over the 4 weeks?
I thought 10K a day would be achievable, but stretching that to 100K over 7 days would require a little more effort than simply going for a short walk every day. I worked out that I needed to do at least 14,280 steps a day to make my target. I thought that was very do-able at the time, but I wasn’t considering just how much daily life can get in the day.
How did you feel setting out on your challenge?
I felt motivated. It’s great having the possibility of winning a prize at the end of it, but more importantly the end goal of improving your health is something you can visualise and know it’s worth the effort. I’ve been there before and knew how good it felt, so I wanted to get that feeling again. I also love a good challenge, so was eager to get stuck in.
What times of day were you getting your steps on at?
I tried to spread them out throughout the day. In the morning before work, I would walk my wife to work getting 15 minutes in. Sometimes I would go out on my lunch break if the weather was nice. At night I would get extra steps just chasing my toddler around the room! We had terrible weather over the last few weeks, so going out at night wasn’t always a tempting possibility. It sounds silly but I really did just walk or run up and down my living room while we watched TV. You can do a thousand steps in 10 minutes if you’re determined.
On weekends we would walk down to the park if the weather was nice, so that added plenty of steps to my count. It’s also surprising to see how doing your normal housework can add thousands of steps throughout the day.
What did you find most difficult about it?
You blaze through the first few days, but you eventually hit a wall. Your legs start to ache because you’ve been subjecting them to more strain than normal and the novelty of it wears off a little. But I was determined to hit my target every week, even if some weekdays had me getting fewer steps than I needed. Inevitably this led to playing catch-up on the weekends, and I had a couple of Sundays where I had to hit 30k.
Annoyingly, my Fitbit started to break as I started the challenge, luckily my wife lent me her Fitbit, and so I could carry on with the challenge.
What difference has carrying out the challenge made to you?
I’ve lost 6 pounds so far. I’m also sleeping better as I’m being more physically active during the day. I now just feel healthier in general, and I’m not feeling sluggish at random points of the day like I used to feel. I’d say it’s even helping me be more productive at work, not that I wasn’t before!
Mentally it’s been great too, especially when I go out and walk on my own as it gives me time to just enjoy a walk whilst listening to music, an audiobook, or a podcast and that’s something that’s rare when you have kids. It gets me out of the house too, which is hard enough at the moment. It’s also made us walk to places like the park instead of driving, so has benefited all three of us in that regard.
Are you going to continue getting in steps going forward?
Definitely, especially as I’ve now got a brand-new Fitbit to use! I’m not going to be hitting 100K a week anymore, as that’s a sure-fire way to eventually burn out. Instead, I’m sticking to a target of 10K steps a day, which is far more obtainable and still has great benefits.
Congratulations to Thomas and the rest of the hospitality team on their individual challenges.