“Winning the 10,000 steps competition was a team effort”

Woonboulevard Oostende – a complex of four furniture and mattress stores – was the first company to win the 10,000 steps competition, which serves just one goal: to get employees fitter and healthier. Around twenty of their employees each completed an average of 15,867 steps or 11 km a day. Marketing Manager Sabine Pynebrouck talks about how they made this happen.

Logo Gezond Plus is a non-profit organisation established by the Flemish government and is aimed at increasing the health and fitness level of people in Flanders. One of the initiatives in support of this goal is the so-called 10,000 steps competition, which challenges businesses across Flanders to get their employees to move more. The first ever 10,000 steps competition took place between 6 March and 2 April 2017 and was a great success. Eleven companies competed and introduced several fitness initiatives for their workforce. 

Moving more is essential but not always easy

Woonboulevard Oostende took the title, but how did they do it? Sabine Pynebrouck: “As a small business, our health policy is rather limited, but just like many other companies, we really try to get our staff to move more and improve their health. While this may be easier to achieve for our sales people who walk quite a distance each day in our 10,000 m² showroom, it can be a much more difficult goal for our office workers.

As soon as I read about the competition in Mensura’s newsletter, I was convinced that we should take part. I brought up the idea during a team meeting and everyone agreed to go for it!”

10,000 steps competition breaks the ice

The competition kicked off with a team activity. “All our employees received a smart watch. Our first event was a game of ten pin bowling. It marked the beginning of a very active month for all of us. We started going for walks during our lunch breaks. Some of the staff members who don’t live in Ostend loved exploring the city this way.”

They created a WhatsApp group to keep each other motivated and inspired. This also had a positive effect on the atmosphere at work. Sabine: “The 10,000 steps competition helped break the ice for some of our colleagues to get to know each other better.”

Competition as a motivator

Other sports activities counted towards the 10,000 steps competition as well. “Many of us had a number of personal targets we wanted to achieve. We also went online to review the results of co-workers and other participating businesses. This pushed up the level of competition, and it worked!”

Long-lasting effects

The positive health effects of these team initiatives are long lasting. “Some of our workers took up jogging and continued the sport even after the challenge was completed. After four weeks of doing more than 15,000 steps a day, I now take the stairs instead of the elevator much more often. It also feels weird when there’s a day where I don’t get much exercise at all. By making small changes to your daily routine, you can really raise your energy levels.”

Another challenge on the way?

As the winner of the competition, Woonboulevard Oostende not only earned the title of ‘fittest workplace in Flanders’. The company will also be visited by coach Bruce – the main man behind the steps competition – with a bike blender and fresh fruit in tow! 

“We’re not sure whether we will be competing in the autumn competition. Instead, we might take up another challenge: eating healthier lunch meals and more fruit at work. But challenges like these certainly get people on their feet!”

Need help developing an effective health policy?

Encouraging your employees to move more is just one of the ways in which you can help improve their health and reduce the risk of absenteeism. Mensura offers several workshops as well as advice on establishing an effective health policy for your organisation. Contact us at health@mensura.be for more details.