Brocade is an advocate for employee health and wellness programs for a number of reasons - they promote fitness and personal sustainability, they provide unique opportunities for employees to participate in activities and challenges, they resonate with our global employee population, they have a positive effect on healthcare programs and premiums...and more. Because of the common thread of engaging employees, I'm proud that the Company's program - branded WellFit - is a part of my broader Corporate Affairs department. So when we held our annual 'Global Bike Challenge' this summer, I knew I couldn't 'opt-out'. Being a steward wasn't enough; if I was going to ask employees to participate, I needed to be willing to do so myself.
Over the 8-week challenge that kicked-off on Bike-to-Work Day, I joined hundreds of Brocadians by biking to work, logging trips and miles on a daily basis. In the end, I biked to work 18 times and recorded 549 miles! I ranked 25th out of all of the participants and 9th in my 'Beginner' classification. Collectively, nearly 54,000 miles were recorded by all of the bikers. To my pleasant surprise, it was great fun and personally rewarding.
I was able to integrate the healthy habit of biking into my ongoing fitness routine. Instead of trying to get to the gym after work, I could bike home to get my exercise - getting fresh air, sunshine and new experiences while doing so. Rather than sitting in my car on a congested freeway, I was riding beautiful Santa Clara County bike paths along creeks and nature trails. On weekends I could bike in the rural foothills of Silicon Valley - spotting deer, horses, wildflowers and more. I was able to reduce my carbon footprint and my waistline at the same time.
I found myself getting competitive with my colleagues around the world - logging my time to monitor my progress and get ahead on the leaderboard while virtually meeting coworkers from India, Singapore, Europe and site across the U.S. with whom I would not otherwise have interacted. I was able to share tips and route ideas with local bikers. Through gamification I could cheer others and celebrate our collective accomplishments. I even qualified for the coveted bike jersey for reaching an initial threshold based on trips and miles.
I was more than a program ambassador; I was an example of the possibility and benefits of adopting new healthy habits. It took some effort and planning but was well worth it. I don’t know exactly how long it takes something to become habit forming...by the end of the challenge I was hooked. I finally retired the mountain bike I've had for 20-years and purchased a new Specialized Roubaix road bike. While I won't be competing in legendary road races, or logging thousands of miles like some of my co-workers, I'm content with my new routines - for now.
Brocade is proud to be recognized as a 'Healthy Workplace'. Are employee wellness programs an integral component to your corporate sustainability program? What are you doing to incorporate healthy habits into your workplace programs?