Looking to learn how fitness can help tighten up your company culture and strengthen community at the office?
Well, we’ve got a fun interview with Christie Moreno from OpenSymmetry to share with you a few ways it can! Christie and the team at her office have been participating in the Fit Company Challenge for several years and we always love catching up with them and hearing about the amazing culture they have at their office.
Would you say that wellness plays an important role at your company?
Definitely. Wellness plays a role right from the start. During the hiring phrase when we’re onboarding new people, we’re very open about it. We let them know about our initiatives and goals and the flexibility that the company offers. In turn, we encourage them to be open about fitness goals and personal goals and anything like that because we want them to know that “hey, we do offer things for this.” I mean, a lot of us even get out during our lunch breaks to go for runs and things like that.
I guess it’s not unusual to see people in their workout attire in the afternoons?
Oh, absolutely not. A lot of us stay in our gym shorts in the afternoon. Sometimes we warn new team members that, if we go for a lunch workout, they can expect us to come back to the office in our shorts. And it’s fine, and very acceptable.
What do you do to get prepared for the Challenge?
We used to be informal about our preparation, but starting last year we started organizing group training events before the challenge. Usually once or twice a week, and they last about an hour. They’re good to self-motivate each other and also to get us prepared for the Challenge itself. After all, no two people have the exact same fitness level. So no matter where they are with their own thing, it’s good to get the ball rolling together as a team.
Have you found that the regular training and exercises really help your team succeed?
For sure. Let me give you one example. A girl at our office had a baby in March last year, got back into training in May and did the Challenge in September! She told us after, that this was the easiest one she ever did, thanks to the training regime which is of course inspiring to all of us.
How do you go about building your team for the Challenge?
Well, we open it to whoever wants to join. We have an internal page where I start posting stuff there and emailing people. I also showed them the Fit Company Challenge YouTube videos so people can get familiar with the Challenge and be like “hey, this looks like something we can do!”
We’re lucky that we get a good mix of people showing up. During our training in April, I was so happy to see four or five of our new hires joining us. I’m talking people who haven’t even been with us for 30 days. But they came out to engage with their co-workers, interact with one another and all that. I have to say it was an excellent opportunity to come out and meet each other.
We’re also lucky because each year we get people to fly in from the other regions where we have offices. These can be people from Missouri, England, India, elsewhere. There’s always at least one who does the Challenge with us.
Have you come across any cross region chatter or friendly competition.
Oh yeah. There was this one gentleman from a couple years ago who came in and he wanted to represent his region really well. So once here, he started doing all these challenges and not just the Fit Company Challenge. Tough Mudders, Spartan Runs. It was all, you know, to show his office that he was their guy and representing them.
Do you find people not participating in the Challenge also come out and support the team?
Of course. We all get really into it. We make our own shirts. We bring breakfast, coffee, pizza, cake to the events. After it’s done, we often go out for a drink and celebrate. We want everyone to know it’s not just about the Challenge, but a great time to hang out and bond with our peers.
When it comes to training for the Challenge, do you open it to everyone or just participants?
Oh, it’s open to everyone. We have these training sessions year round. For people who can’t take part in the challenge, they are still welcome to come to the training sessions. This really helps encourage the team component for everyone at the company.
Our company is actually really forward about elevating fitness and wellness. Anyone who does something like this can expense their registration fees, which is great. Our company also subsidizes our gym memberships. Things like this give us that extra push and lets us know that the company is supporting us and our goals every step of the way.
Give us an idea of the different types of wellness activities your company does.
We used to do yoga once a week in the office, but since we moved we put a pause on that. Right now we have an internal chat system with a gym group. We all post in there to keep each other accountable. Our company on a whole also participates in lots of events like marathons, races, and things like that throughout the year.
Having a message system for the gym is great! How often do you post things there?
Usually when it’s for an event like yours, we send out notifications so people know the date. I also like sharing the Office Workouts of the Day that you guys have, and also other related content. There was one interesting piece you did on how to set up an office workout spaces and I showed that to our CEO. Ultimately, I’d say I try to send out as much communication as I can.
One last question: do you see people setting goals for the Challenge?
Of course. There’s always the people that say “hey, I want to do this or that.” Often it’s the burpees. Just being able to complete them and not feel bad after is a great goal. Or there’s people that tell me they just want to be able to complete one Inverted Row. When I hear that, I’m like “okay, let’s do it!” Even little goals will make your stronger in the long run.
And that wraps up our interview. We just wanted to say thanks as always – this time to Christie – for being able to spare us some time and inspire us with all they do at OpenSymmetry for their team wellness!