I know what you’re thinking.
You already spend 40+ hours every week with your co-workers, so why would you want to add any more time than required?
It sounds less than ideal, working out with your co-workers. However, it can have a different effect on your personal and professional relationships than what you’d expect. Whether you exercise with one workout partner from work, your office is full of wellness champions, or you attend classes with a fitness posse, here’s the ‘why’ and ‘how’ when it comes to exercising with co-workers.
First, let’s dig into the ‘why’:
Accountability is key.
The biggest benefit of having workout partner(s) is the accountability that comes with it. Having a workout partner that you work with? Accountability times infinity. You have to see this person everyday - if you miss a workout, they might not let you live it down. Who wants to be harassed via the company's internal messenger the morning after a skipped yoga session? All kidding aside, it helps to see your workout partner outside of your workouts to make sure you are sticking to your routine.
Get to know each other.
Yes, you see each other everyday and probably feel like you know one another pretty well. But, do you? Being in a work environment 99% of the time doesn’t always allow two humans to really get to know each other outside of the professional environment. Fitness not only allows you to converse about topics other than work, but it gives you a view of someone you wouldn’t have had otherwise. You get to see how hard your partner can push themselves, how they stay motivated, what inspires them, how motivated they are- the list goes on.
Inversely, the personal relationship you build through fitness can help you work better together in the office. It allows for empathy, which is of great significance in a work environment, on top of the simple understanding of one’s personality, work ethic, etc. You build a bond that is deeper than something you build at an after work happy hour.
You’ll be more productive.
We discussed how fitness and productivity interact here, and we mean it! Beyond the physical-to-mental aspects of the fitness-productivity correlation, working out with your co-workers allows you to get your personal chit chat out of your system so that you can be ultra productive once you’re in a work environment. Try this: instead of going from work to your workout, give a morning workout a try with your partner. Be mindful of your productivity level that day. Because you were able to get a sweat session in, clear your head, get your endorphins flowing, and spend that quality time with your co-worker, your productivity should vastly improve.
Become each other’s cheerleaders.
Through your workouts, you and your partners will have opportunities to encourage each other through the tough sweat sessions. And because you become so used to motivating each other in the fitness sphere, you’ll be more inclined to encourage each other in your office environment. As you learn about each other, you’ll know when that person needs some encouragement, and vice versa. The relationships you form at work through fitness are truly irreplaceable.
There are so many benefits to working out with your co-workers so now let’s define how you can cultivate the relationship and what to avoid when doing so.
Second, here’s the ‘how’:
Try to avoid the work talk.
It’s important to try and set boundaries when it comes to office workout partners. Otherwise, it simply turns into an untethered extension of your office environment. Nobody wants to talk about spreadsheets or expense reports while they’re in a spin class, am I right? So, first order of business, come to an agreement in regards to work chat. Use your workout as a time to clear your heads of work, work, work. Use the gym, studio, or trail, as a space to escape your ordinary chatter and get to know each other on a different level.
Be mindful of fitness levels.
If you’re someone that prefers a workout partner (singular) versus a group that sweats together, it might be smart to go with someone that possesses a similar level of fitness as you. This way, you both will be able to handle similar workouts (and enjoy them), and neither of you will feel discouraged by one person’s abilities against the others, and you can both grow together. This is not to say that someone at a higher or lower fitness level shouldn’t join in, everyone is inspired and encouraged differently, but it’s something to be mindful of, nonetheless.
Agree on accountability tactics.
The best part about workout partners is the aspect of accountability. That’s kind of the whole point, right? With that said, however, sometimes workout buddies can provide a little too much accountability. And when it comes to someone you have to see in your office everyday... let’s just say you might start avoiding them in the break room if they blow up your phone everyday with motivational quotes.
Set standards and practices for accountability. I know, this sounds entirely too calculated and procedural, but if you want to avoid hindering your personal and professional relationship, it’s necessary. Maybe you agree on adding your workouts to a Google calendar (which comes with automated reminders), maybe you take turns on who sends a reminder text/call each week - whatever it may be, it’s good to come to an agreement and set expectations.
All in all, we at Peerfit put this idea into place everyday and it has made us not only a team that works hard and succeeds together, but it has turned us into a family. We have built our work culture around our fitness journeys through the use of our own product and know the benefits it provides in our everyday work environment. The power of group fitness and team exercise is undeniable. Employ these strategies to build a stronger bond and culture of wellness at your company.
Ready to start #peerfitting with your co-workers? Nominate your employer here.