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We are in the midst of a digital revolution, and it’s changing the way we do things both in and out of work. Today’s current situation is manifesting this reality in so many ways, with writer Kevin Roose noting how this lingering health crisis “is showing us how to live online.” This, according to Roose, is the “healthy, humane version of digital culture” that has nudged us into using the internet the right way — that is, to connect with one another, share useful information and resources, and figure out ways to solve pressing problems. We are even using the internet to foster team dynamics (e.g., virtual hangouts, online team buildings) and get or stay fit (e.g., online yoga class, virtual Zumba).
That said, remote teams can use the internet to hit two birds with one stone — develop a team bond whilst staying active. What with Statista showing the rising popularity of online fitness videos, getting started shouldn’t be difficult. After all, there are many options teams can peruse through fitness challenges on Instagram, YouTube videos created by fitness enthusiasts, and online classes by personal trainers. Working out with others not only helps your fitness levels, but it can also help cultivate better relationships, thus improving teamwork and overall group performance. This benefit, however, has largely been unexplored… until now.
Teamwork, opening the lines of communication, and building trust among team members don’t happen overnight — even when everyone on the team is highly skilled, smart, and a team player. It’s a process and one that will help ensure any team’s success. The article ‘Importance of Team Building’ notes how this kind of activity enables better communication among team members, which then leads to stronger relationships. It also results in seamless sharing of ideas and opinions, given how team members are more comfortable with one another and are less hesitant to chime in when necessary.
Team building also helps break down barriers between team leaders and team members — giving the former the chance to view the latter as colleagues rather than superiors. This increased comfort among everyone, along with open lines of communication, can then lead to increased productivity for the group and improved problem-solving in case issues arise.
While there are various team-building activities that can be done online, virtual workouts ought to rank highly. This is because the benefits of group exercise are unassailable. And while virtual workouts aren’t as intimate, they nonetheless replicate to a degree many of the same dynamics involved in in-person group exercises. That means teams can also get the benefits of group workouts, even if they are done virtually.
What are these benefits anyway? The feature ‘The Health Benefits of Working Out with a Crowd’ details how exercising in a group setting is the best way to work out. That’s because everyone gets to break out a sweat, release mood-boosting endorphins, and have fun all at the same time. Such a setting also fosters a “we’re all in this together” mindset where members are encouraging one another to complete one last rep or finish that final set. Wonder no more why one of our recommendations in ‘How to Stay Motivated to Work Out’ is to find a workout buddy — something that the atlasGO app can help with.
In addition, group exercises cultivate camaraderie, as everyone has the same purpose: to work out a sweat — that alone is a unifying factor that can bring together any group. The time spent together also breeds familiarity, which can help build and breed a strong relationship amongst your team members.
In short, virtual workouts are a great way for teams to get together for non-work-related matters but still work towards a common goal. This act of togetherness transcends distance, giving the team the chance to bond without sharing the same physical space — an important consideration given today’s health crisis and the meteoric rise of work-from-home arrangements. The common goal to get fit and healthy is certainly a welcome bonus that will make the team produced in the present and in the long term.
Whether due to time constraints, scheduling conflicts, or lack of interest in exercising, it can be difficult to get everyone on the team on board in terms of doing virtual workouts. The tips below, though, might do the trick.
Joining the atlasGO community is one way you can get your team moving. We offer a range of fitness solutions for everyone who wants to get fit while doing good. In particular, our app lets you create a team where members can chat with one another and share photos and activities for everyone to check out. The app even has its own leaderboard, which can support and motivate the team to aim high in attaining their fitness goals. That’s not to mention atlasGO initiatives like our new community challenge in support of Trees for the Future, where we plant trees for every activity — whether in-person or virtual. With it, you’re not only staying active and bonding with the team but also doing something good for the planet.
Incentives can oftentimes elicit strong buy-in, though it would be wise to go beyond monetary compensation. An Inc. guide on what incentives work best explains that the best kind of incentives is those that encourage employees to do something over and over. This is why positive recognition (think: Fit Champion of the Month, Most Hardworking, etc.) is one of the most powerful and sustainable incentives leaders can give. It’s imperative, too, that incentives are merit-based and directly tied to achievements (think: losing x number of pounds, finishing a circuit in x minutes) to encourage extra mile-type of buy-in. We at atlasGO believe in these same principles, so incentives are a huge part of our Employee Engagement challenges. Recognition, in particular, is vital when it comes to challenges. Hence, we also recognize offbeat ideas, like a sweaty selfie of the week, the funniest sweaty selfie, and the most creative sweaty selfie. In this way, employees get to work out a sweat and have fun while doing so.
Sometimes, finding a common time to work out as a group can prove difficult, if not near-impossible (especially if there are variances in time zones). Fortunately, there are other ways to do physical activities as a team. Case in point: Stephanie Wells of Formidable Forms creates a Google Sheet where interested employees can track their movement and activities, which gives everyone a chance to participate and keep them motivated at the same time. An even better way to do it is by using the atlasGO app to monitor the physical activity of everyone on the team regardless of their time zone. The app even integrates with devices such as Strava, Fitbit, and Garmin, making it a breeze to import fitness activities. Even better, teams can use it to compete against each other, letting their competitive juices flow in an effort to get fit and fab.
A commonly underplayed aspect of employee engagement in fitness programs is the need for education. Corporate Wellness Magazine emphasizes the need to add a said component, which can help reinforce in the team the benefits of not only exercise but also of living a healthy lifestyle in general. The good news is that this can be done using online solutions as well. Health and fitness modules, for instance, can be uploaded in the cloud, where the team can access them anytime, anywhere. Video links discussing healthy eating, nutrition, and fitness can also be shared on team communication channels (e.g., Slack, Hangouts, or email) for everyone to check out in their free time. Our app can be used for this purpose, too, as it can send push notifications to team members about useful fitness-related links and reminders. It can also send emails to discuss the impact of every activity performed and send updates on everyone’s progress.
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A contribution by Vera Grey
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