Hatch Staffing Services sees your Bike to Work Week and raises you a half marathon.
Seriously. Almost a third of Hatch staffers ran a half marathon last year. So when they hopped on their bikes last Monday for National Bike to Work Week, that peculiar blend of exercise, work, and team building was quite familiar to them. (That’s not to say that it went down without a hitch … read their blog for an account of the “fallen soldier.”)
Encouraging and participating in sweat-inducing activities is all part of Hatch’s company wellness program, which was born three years ago under the leadership of President Lori Malett.
“We’re head and shoulders above [other company wellness programs]. Everything revolves around wellness,” said Eric Becher, area manager at Hatch, which is based in Milwaukee and staffs all manner of positions from hospitality to marketing. He said they really try to be all-inclusive and that it’s not just a small group of iron-pumping, salad-stuffing gurus.
“We had two employees who had never participated in our wellness program, and they were scared to. Neither of them had ever run over a half mile in their lives, and we got them to do a 5K with us,” he said. "Eventually, through their initiative, we ended up doing a half marathon.” All told, 10 of the 35 Hatch employees tackled two half marathons -- one in Sheboygan and one in Kansas City, where another Hatch branch is located. They've also participated in The Color Run, various community 5Ks, and even the Tough Mudder -- a hardcore obstacle course dubbed "Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet."
On top of that, a Yoga instructor visits their office each Thursday to conduct free classes. Becher said Malett and the rest of the higher-ups wanted to schedule the classes during work hours so employees could reap the benefits without having to sacrifice their personal time.
It’s about being green, being healthy, having fun, and rubbing elbows with co-workers outside of work (but not in a predictable "happy hour" environment). And they provide incentives through gift cards to healthy restaurants, extra time off, or gym memberships. “The rewards are healthy, too,” said Becher, who appreciates that they're consistent with the program's intent.
Hatch Staffing Services has even begun to invite their customers to challenges of the physical variety, such as high intensity Tabata-inspired competitions. Becher said they've won three of the three challenges they've held so far, and that it's great for reinforcing relationships with their clients.
As I was speaking with Becher that mid-afternoon, the office was gearing up for a loop on the Hank Aaron Trail, after which they’d come back and finish out the workday. So they’ve taken the concept of Bike to Work Day even further – approaching it not only as a means of getting to and from work, but as a way to boost wellness at work.
And the employees seem to be saying, "Challenge accepted."