Around the office, Big Blue Bubble team members are gearing up once again to take on one of our most difficult team building events of the year: Tough Mudder. Tough Mudder is a daunting obstacle course wherein teams train for weeks to overcome a series of physically demanding challenges. At first glance, this grueling event may seem to have little to do with workplace performance; after all, crawling through miles of mud is about as far from office life as you can get. However, Tough Mudder presents many benefits that translate to the workplace: namely, its benefits regarding physical fitness, mental wellness, and team dynamics.
2014: The Mudder Open
The office is where many of us will spend the majority of our days. Eight hours of sitting at a desk and buying quick lunches at the convenience store, with little to break up this sedentary lifestyle, does not translate to a healthy body. Studies have shown the dangers of sedentary office life for years, including obesity, poor cardiovascular health, and even a shortened life expectancy. In order to keep employees happy and healthy, offices everywhere have taken steps to try to bring exercise and smarter eating choices into the workplace with solutions like catered lunches and standing desks. At Big Blue Bubble, we have come up with our own solution that aligns with our fun-loving corporate culture: Tough Mudder.
Big Blue Bubble has participated in Tough Mudder year after year as a means of encouraging physical fitness and exercise. For weeks before each Tough Mudder competition, our volunteers hit the gym together to train for the competition. They also get their diet in order to make sure they’re providing their bodies the right fuel for their active lifestyles: In addition to improving competitor’s performance during the event, these weeks of intense training ultimately result in participants improving their physical health and avoiding the common pitfalls of sedentary office life. Our resident Tough Mudder veteran and Senior Game Analyst Jason Willis describes the motivation that Tough Mudder provides their team: “The event requires everyone to begin training well in advance. In general, exercising and eating better will have a positive effect on both physical and mental health of the team members on a daily basis.” According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), active lifestyles and healthy eating choices among employees lead to reduced absenteeism and lower turnover rates. These results are excellent motivators for employers everywhere to invest in their team’s physical wellness.
2015: A Mudder on the Links
Exercise is good for the body, but it also has positive effects on the mind. Work can present many uniquely stressful situations that are taxing on employees’ mental health: looming deadlines, difficult co-workers, and challenging projects can all contribute to heightened levels of stress that detract from employees’ mental wellness. If left untreated, high-stress levels can lead to serious mental health issues; most notably depression and anxiety. As such, it is important for workplaces to offer means of stress relief to their team.Exercise is good for the body, but it also has positive effects on the mind. Work can present many uniquely stressful situations that are taxing on employees’ mental health: looming deadlines, difficult co-workers, and challenging projects can all contribute to heightened levels of stress that detract from employees’ mental wellness. If left untreated, high-stress levels can lead to serious mental health issues; most notably depression and anxiety. As such, it is important for workplaces to offer means of stress relief to their team.
According to the CCOHS, one of the healthiest ways to relieve work-related stress is a healthy diet and exercise. This is why Big Blue Bubble celebrates the motivation that Tough Mudder gives employees to work on their physical fitness and consequently, their mental health. The weeks of training our Tough Mudder competitors endure provides them with stress relief and greater self-esteem; both crucial elements in maintaining one’s mental health. Willis emphasizes that greater self-esteem was a key motivation for participating in the Tough Mudder competition this year: “We’re also looking for a goal to motivate us to get in shape and to look and feel better for the summer.” Excellent mental health among employees translates to reduced absenteeism, improved productivity, and higher workplace morale overall — all powerful reasons for employers to care about their employees’ mental health.
2016: Mount Mudder Ski Team
Another dimension of health that comes into play at the office is emotional health. One of the most important contributors to good emotional health is positive interpersonal relationships. As office workers spend so much of their time surrounded by the same co-workers each day, it is crucial that their relationships with these co-workers are positive, professional, and built on mutual trust. Building these relationships can be challenging, but nothing brings people together like a shared experience. This is what makes Tough Mudder an excellent team building event for our participants at Big Blue Bubble. Willis describes how training and participating in the Tough Mudder competition has brought their team together and built strong relationships: “This is not a race, it’s a challenge that requires teamwork and extra effort from all involved. The main benefit of this event will be the bonds that will be created between team members who will have literally been in the trenches together.”
We have previously discussed the immense value that team building has in the workplace. The benefits of fostering healthy teams built on trusting, positive interpersonal relationships include increased productivity, higher office morale, and a more enjoyable work environment overall. For these reasons, Big Blue Bubble is happy to send its Tough Mudder team back into the trenches once more!
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