Going for the Gold at Office Olympics

Aren’t you just awestruck watching the Olympics? It’s amazing to watch athletes who have trained their entire lives compete for a chance at Olympic glory.

Well, this week, a mere 5,384 miles away from Rio, a group of office workers had their moment in the sun. That’s right, this week the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans celebrated Office Olympics. No pool water gone green here—just a nice expanse of green grass, begging for some lunch-hour fun. [Watch the video recap here.]

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Forty-four athletes in peak desk-dweller condition took to the field to compete in events such as Sharpery (think archery but with Sharpies), Boxing (stacking boxes while wearing boxing gloves), Wasketball (crumpling recycled paper and throwing it into garbage cans) and Shot Put (performed using bocce balls from our summer office bocce league. Yes, we also have a summer office bocce league. The lawn, it calls.). These individual events culminated in the all-team final event—rowing. Teams of four hooked together their office chairs and “rowed” across the parking lot while their co-workers cheered them.

The athletic feats ended with an Olympic medal ceremony where, after days of intense training and conditioning for just such an office sport, the athletes proudly stepped forward to receive their Office Olympic gold, silver and bronze medals.

The day was a huge success, and everyone got involved! In addition to the staff who participated as athletes, judges were assigned to each event, an International Olympic Committee planned and oversaw the day and “spectator swag” consisting of fun noise-makers and banners was available for staff members observing and cheering.

[Related: Wellness Done Right—Resources and Success Stories]

Twitter has been abuzz with #OfficeOlympics for the past two weeks, so it seems the Foundation isn’t the only one hosting a little piece of Rio in their workplace. As more employers are looking beyond the traditional fitness and nutrition wellness programs, new initiatives that boost employee morale are gaining steam. (Even our local news had some fun with our event—Check out the coverage.)

An International Foundation survey, Workplace Wellness Trends: 2015 Survey Results, found that the primary reason employers report offering wellness initiatives is to invest in employee health and engagement, ahead of trying to hold down health care costs.

Employers are looking at their wellness programs as a way to build an engaged and loyal workforce, and events like Office Olympics are a great way to build camaraderie and teamwork.

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Our staff truly enjoyed the day, and the winning athletes sported their medals throughout the afternoon, proudly basking in their Office Olympic glory.

And for those who didn’t medal—training for future Games has already started. After all, the Winter Olympics are just two years away, and that green lawn of ours is known to feature a lovely blanket of snow come February.

Brenda Hofmann
Brenda Hofmann
Senior Communications Associate at the International Foundation

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