Spinning our way to IT health

Our IT department recently took a spinning class at work; it boosted our heart rates and illustrated a powerful concept of teams.

The link between exercise and knowledge work is well established; stay healthy and your productivity should be higher. The general sense of wellbeing that accompanies regular exercise has also been shown to improve results. Many top CEOs are very fit, they see their body the same way they see their company – keep it well tuned and it will last long. [paragraph 1 of 5]

Of course there are exceptions; there is no hindrance to Stephen Hawking’s genius mind by his 99% ALS-paralysed body. His scientific brilliance arguably peaked during the worst stages of his disease – he wrote 5 books using a muscle in his cheek which was connected to a computer. This should make some of us wonder what we have achieved with perfectly healthy bodies? [2/5]

Back to IT – the spinning class was a team build at the office gym and got us out of our chairs for a couple of hours to break a sweat and have some fun together. We had a professional instructor for 30 minutes and most of us did 10 minute relays; we also arranged on-site wellness consultants to do health checks and advise on healthy living. The compound benefit of all of us exercising together lifted us collectively and we probably had our most productive afternoon! [3/5]

The multiplier effect of completing common activities in teams is powerful, eg communities clean up suburbs together, cyclists stay in a peloton when they race and IT teams produce better software when they co-locate. 150 developers at FNB created solutions in a 24 hour coding marathon in March, the next codeFest is in 2 weeks time. Each of these activities could be completed in separate places, at different times but like with our spinning class the results are better because the hard work is done together. [4/5]

The team spinning class worked well because we didn’t want to let each other down; faster and harder cycling became a team objective, rather than just an individual activity. Get your teams to exercise together, make it fun with levels for everyone and watch the output and your team’s sense of well being improve. When teams work together, the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts; try spinning together – it might help your projects turn faster as well. [5/5]

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