Smythe is UPnGoing for Workplace Wellness

Did you know that only 20% of adults are getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity? In today’s workplace it’s a known fact that we are sitting more and moving less. We spend more time sitting at our desks than ever before, resulting in a less active, healthy and productive workforce. Stats have shown that employees are eight times more likely to be engaged in their work when their employers make wellness a priority; that wellness programs can lead to 30% increased productivity; and that physically active employees take 27% fewer sick days.

At Smythe, we wanted to do something about this, so we set about identifying a wellness program that would encourage our team to be more active during their workday. It wasn’t long before we had identified our partner of choice – ParticipACTION. Their expertise, supporting tools and tailor-made solutions to workplace wellness made them the obvious choice.

We introduced the UPnGO wellness program through ParticipACTION in October. UPnGO was designed to energize corporate culture and show people how fun and easy it can be to get active at work. The program is designed to help participants gain a better understanding of the benefits of being active, and rewards them for healthy behaviours. It work on a points-based system, where staff gain points for doing simple things such as opting to taking the stairs, walking faster or taking a stretch break, to name a few.

The team was super excited when we launched UPnGO this fall, and there continues to be a buzz around the office as we take on fun weekly challenges and hold friendly but competitive (typical professional services firm) contests across different departments. We saw over 75% of our team sign up, each of whom received a Garmin Vivofit to track their steps, and then sync the device to the UPnGO platform to earn points. The really neat thing about this program is that you can redeem prizes for your efforts (everything from hairdryers to pots and pans), so there’s every incentive for you to get moving.

While we realize this isn’t a long term fix, we hope the healthy habits and behaviours developed over the course of the program will continue, and we feel confident given the feedback we’ve heard to date, they will.

Check out the feedback from our team:

The whole experience was very positive. Now I go for walks around the block regularly, which gives me a chance to clear my head and recalibrate.  I also shed about 5 pounds over the past six weeks!     – Paul Woodhouse, Principal 

At first, I was kind of skeptical at how this experience would work for me personally and it took me awhile to get the hang of wearing the Garmin bracelet every day. But it didn’t take long to get used to wearing it every day and tracking all my daily steps. It soon became a regular routine for me to make sure I was getting the most out of my day with my step goal. And with the help from my motivated co-workers, it has become pretty easy to keep up with the daily steps and extra motivated planned activities. Some days have been harder than others to keep myself motivated and on track but my overall experience with the UPnGo program has certainly surpassed my expectations! I hope I will continue to stay on track with this pretty neat program well into the New Year! – Susan Harris, Office Manager

Being part of UPnGO program really changed my perspective of how I spend my break time in more efficient and effective way. It helped me to build a mental and physical foundation for my long term well-being at work. Some of the positive results I experienced is that I am taking more walking breaks instead of coffee and it in return helped me to improve my sleeping quality.  It was fun to be part of as there were many group activities that we created and participated. – Cara Han, Accountant 

I think UPnGO was real eye-opener for me, I knew that I sat a lot during the day but I can honestly say I didn’t realize how sedentary I was! I would get caught up in working and 2 hours would pass and I hadn’t moved. A goal of mine throughout the UPnGO challenge was to never have a red line, some days were better than others but overall I feel I did a pretty good job. I think I’ve taken away some really great healthy habits from the UPnGO program. – Marisa Herron, Insolvency Assistant

With UPnGO I really noticed how much I don’t move at work, and how easily this could change. I started getting up at least once every hour and walking around, and if this wasn’t possible I would at least try to stand and complete work that didn’t require me to sit in front of a screen. It was very convenient with the Garmin wristband, as it doubled as a watch so I never minded wearing it. The stats online was very encouraging as the competitive side of me would come out and want to do better. Overall I enjoyed my experience with UPnGO. – Pavan Samra, Accountant

Up’n’Go was a great program to jump start efforts towards fixing what has been a problem in the back of my mind for some time – being extremely inactive due to working many hours and not being able to go to the gym while waiting for my knee to heal. I found that being part of the group championing the efforts was rewarding and fun, and participating with coworkers in various fun walks and activities was highly motivational. – Jane Lumb, Accountant


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