For a few years now at Teneo we’ve had a running club. Participation has varied from “quite a few” participants to “not many”, but it’s always been really enjoyable, especially in the summertime, running down by the river near our UK office in Theale and looking at the boats, the beautiful scenery and the ducks and swans as they breed and the young mature. It’s been a great way of keeping fit and winding down at the end of the day. And we’ve done a couple of 24-hour team running events in the area too.
Our move to remote working at the start of lockdown put a stop to all that of course. But since then, participation in our new exercise club has been bigger and better than ever before! Our VP of HR, Rachel Head, set up a group on Strava that any employee (or ex-employee, friend, relation etc!) can join and log exercise activities.
It was great to see what others were doing, view their photos and look at their times and distances for walking, running, cycling, swimming and many other activities.
Giving people a well done (a “Kudos” in Strava speak), getting one from others and trading comments was a great way of keeping connected with colleagues and feeling that we were still a part of something, even though working alone.
Personally, I found it very motivating to see what others were doing and to push myself to go further and faster. It wasn’t really about competing at the individual level though. It was about being active and encouraging others when they did the same. It was great not just for physical health, but for mental health also, allowing time to reflect and be in the moment and forget about work and problems.
As the summer progressed, we arranged a number of weekend activities – and this time they were races! Some were straightforward individual activities – run 5k, ride 20k etc. Some were more complicated virtual team activities with biathlons, triathlons, quadrathlons and even a quintathlon, with teams of people walking, running, cycling, and swimming set distances and competing against total time. All just for the fun of it! The excitement of who posted what activity with what time and looking at their pictures was as good as it got whilst we couldn’t really do anything social!
Although I’m more of a runner than a swimmer or cyclist, probably my favourite activity was our “Ride London” event, which replaced an annual public event, cycling on closed roads in London. A bunch of us committed to cycling 42 miles (one of the London events) and we had great participation across the globe. As some of the lockdown measures were eased by this time in the UK, a few of us were even able to meet up for a pub brunch by the river Thames and cycle up some steep hills into the countryside. Exhausting but great fun.
We’ve added a CSR angle too and used some activities to raise money for various charities via the bonus.ly employee recognition and reward system we have. That cycle saw 450 miles covered by 15 participants and raised $400 for the Lebanese Red Cross, which we chose following the explosion there in early August.
We also joined forces with our customer, Jhpiego, and joined in with their Miles for Mothers event, which saw 15 of us run or walk 348 miles over 9 days and raise $785 in donations. We had participants from the UK, USA and Australia all involved.
I don’t doubt that once we are “back to normal” (no, I don’t know what that means either) the Teneo exercise club will continue, and I would encourage people to join up. Special thanks to our VP of HR, Rachel Head, for setting the group up and organizing a lot of the events. And to our Credit Controller, Cathy Timmis, who sends out a weekly review of who’s done what, along with some hilarious comments and lovely photos!
Blog post by James Hall, Teneo Operations Director