May 07, 2015
THEME: Wellness

The Fitness Challenge: Five Tips for Developing a Healthy Work Culture

What can you do for your company and employees to encourage their wellness and inspire healthy living? At Perkins+Will, we recently wrapped up our third annual Fitness Friday, capping off a week’s worth of healthy activities. This year was bigger than ever, with engaged participation in both the US and our offices in Canada, the United Kingdom, Shanghai, Dubai, and Brazil getting in on the fun.

Curious about how to bring some of that enthusiasm to your office? Here are five tips that will help get you started:

1. DESIGN a program specifically for your audience’s needs

Recognizing how much our employees move, we designed our wellness program to include two fitness challenges. The first challenge kicked off on Fitness Friday and lasted 6 weeks. Participants were encouraged to be active for at least 120 minutes each week. By the end of the 6 weeks, all 14 teams across the US logged a collective 505,541 minutes!

2. Be INNOVATIVE, use what you have

It’s not always easy to fit in gym time between client meetings and conference calls. Sometimes it takes a little creative problem solving. Our offices made good use of their buildings’ stairs and open spaces to have stair climbing and walking clubs, bodyweight workouts, and dance rehearsals. Our Chicago office encourages group activity with softball, basketball, bowling, volleyball, and soccer teams.

3. Enable SUSTAINABLE wellness by including time to replenish and recuperate

Physical activity needs balance with recuperation or progress is just not sustainable. Our NYC office hosted a healthy cooking class and several other offices had potluck salad and juice bars. Several offices offered reprieve with a midday yoga class.

The New York office offered a cooking demonstration that allowed people to recharge with healthy foods.

Our New York office offered a cooking demonstration that allowed people to recharge with healthy foods.

4. BE SOCIAL, involve others and create a community whether in the office or beyond

Perkins+Will is always looking at ways to give back and engage with the communities around us. One office in particular did just that by taking Fitness Friday beyond the P+W walls. Each day leading up to Friday, a small but determined group of Los Angeles staff members hit the streets to convince strangers to work out with them. The team was not expecting much cooperation from a busy street in downtown LA, but were blown away by how many people were absolutely into it! The interest was diverse including a little girl who ruled at bicep curls! LA, they work out.

5. Wellness comes in all forms so offer VARIETY

By offering an array of options for our colleagues to connect with our wellness program, the barrier for entry was lower and participation (and fun) blossomed as a result. Take advantage of people’s existing passions within your office and have them help create new, innovative ways to spread the wellness.

Chicago 2

The Chicago office takes advantage of the early morning light to have it’s weekly running club meet

For us, wellness is an inherent part of who we are. It is part of our purpose and forms an essential element our core values. As a result, it shines through in everything we do, from the design of our buildings and spaces to how we are creating a healthy culture at Perkins+Will.

Now the (fitness) challenge is yours.

This post originally authored by Katie Truong and Elizabeth Chappelear. 

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