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Our active lunch break

When a shiny new gym opened at the New York end of Collins Street (that’s near Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station), Angelika Langer-Zindel was one of the first members to join-up. It took another six months for her to recruit a work gym buddy, Diana Tanvis Loi. While there are a few fitness junkies amongst us in the workplace, these two colleagues who both work in our Shared Services team (Accounts Receivable and Payroll respectively), are often seen heading off to exercise together at lunchtimes. I asked what motivates them beyond the Healthy Me, Healthy You program we instigated at Slade Group last year.

Why do you choose to work out in-between work?

Angelika: At my local gym I was missing all the fitness classes – there were only one or two classes I could do. If I was late home from work, I missed them altogether. So it’s much more convenient for me to go at lunchtime.

Diana: Same as Angelika, I used to go to 6am classes at my local gym, but it’s just too hard and I started missing my trains to work.

Why go to the gym together?

Diana: At this gym, they have a rock climbing wall facility and it is definitely more fun to climb with a buddy and also safer, as we make sure that each other’s harnesses are secure.

How do you manage to change into your gym gear, then get back into work clothes, as well as fit in a 45 minute class within your lunch hour?

Angelika: There is no time for showers, so we don’t do classes that are too high intensity. A spin class is a definite no. I have short hair, so I don’t have any problems. If you have a complicated haircut, it just doesn’t work!

Diana: Definitely no body combat for me, or I’d sweat. Athleisure is a new trend in fashion – you can wear a hybrid tank top to work out and put a blazer over it to dress it back up for the office. We also have nice change rooms with free towels and showers in our building, but I generally use the facilities at the gym.

Do you miss doing other things at lunchtime? When do you actually eat your lunch?

Angelika: Not really. Doing a lunchtime class is good break; sitting all day is definitely not healthy.

Diana: Most of us only walk a few steps from our desk each day.

Angelika: It means eating at your desk, which is not the best habit, but you have to compromise. I always eat after exercising – if I eat too much before, I feel sick, so it’s good for weight management.

I see a lot people carrying gym bags on their commute. Is fitness amongst corporate types becoming more popular?

Angelika:  I think so. A lot of the classes where we go are fully booked, so it seems that others are sharing the same habits as us.

Diana:  I think more and more deskbound professionals are finding it really unhealthy to be sitting up to 8-10 hours a day. Employers are also becoming more aware of this and allowing flexible work arrangements.

What are some of the less obvious benefits to including exercise in your work schedule?

Diana: I spend a lot less money on shopping since I started going to the gym!

Angelika: That’s right, when you work in the city, you go shopping at lunchtime.

Diana: It’s also a great way to release your pent-up frustration. I don’t think about work at all while I’m exercising and by the time I’m finished I’ve forgotten whatever I was worried about.

Both: We are still recruiting if anyone is interested to join our lunchtime habits!

 

Have you been taking active lunch breaks? What are some of the healthy practices you have incorporated into your work schedule?

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4 clues about teamwork by solving a murder mystery

What makes a good team? Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are a famous pairing. Our Shared Services team recently cloaked up for a team bonding activity at Escape Hunt in Melbourne. While being locked in a dark room for an hour surrounded by beer doesn’t sound too bad for some, we needed all our powers of deduction (and a few phone-a-friends) to unravel this puzzle. Despite being physically challenging for one 6’4 individual, we had a lot of fun and solved a few mysteries about teamwork in the process.

OUR PUZZLE: A brew master has been murdered. The motive – stealing a secret beer recipe. Our mission – solve the crime, locate the recipe and bring the perpetrator to justice. (Spoiler alert: this article may contain clues.)

  1. It is better to get help when you need it – Some people always seek help, others try to nut it out alone. Asking for help is really worthwhile when you can’t otherwise figure it out; knowing when to ask is the key. While it would defeat the purpose of the game if we were given too many clues, wasting time over every impasse is counterproductive.
  2. Teamwork is as important as individual work – Our combined efforts allowed us to progress to the next steps, and we were rewarded with more challenging clues. We found some clues individually, presented them to the team and brainstormed our ideas further.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask a ‘dumb’ question – I should have spoken up but instead I thought I had a ‘dumb’ question. In the last room of our murder mystery puzzle, I saw a torch on the table and was wondering why it looked a little different from the standard ones we were given. Fearing that I would be asking a dumb question, I kept quiet. Our team was unable to figure out by ourselves that it was a UV torch to illuminate hidden clues.  Yes, I should have asked that seemingly ‘dumb’ question.
  4. Sometimes we overcomplicate things unnecessarily – Often the solution is obvious. Our team was stuck in the last room of the final stage of the game for ages. I could feel the atmosphere amongst the group changing. We were all getting frustrated, uncomfortably cramped into a claustrophobic room.  With just two combination locks to go, we spent ages trying to multiply, add, subtract and rearrange six digits that were simply a linear code.

Holmes said, “Give me problems, give me work.” What have you learned about your work style through a team bonding activity?

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