Tractebel InMotion – Sport against Corona blues

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Sport has always been important to me! I especially enjoy running. The integration of sport into my daily life since I was a teenager has helped me improve and develop certain key skills such as patience, discipline, commitment, perseverance and determination. They also play a role in my daily routine.

During the pandemic, though, sport has become even more important to me. Our work-life balance is compromised by contact restrictions and home office. Screen time is expanding and shifting our sleep cycles. This has a negative impact on our health. As compensation, my only option during this time was often sports. However, sports facilities stayed closed and many sporting events were cancelled. So I kept motivating myself and did my rounds on my own.

Some colleagues also felt that Corona had a certain impact on our physical and mental health and that team spirit in the company also suffered as a result of the pandemic. To effectively counteract this, they created the virtual sports challenge “Tractebel InMotion“. Sport against the Corona blues, so to say. I was very happy about that! I finally had new motivation and virtual fellow athletes.

The Challenge

The Challenge ran from July to October 2021. It offered me and my colleagues the opportunity to share our sports activities with another and collect points. Every 40 minutes of exercise or activity counted as one motion unit (MU). A maximum of one MU per day was counted. We were free to choose our type of sport: everything from jogging, hiking, cycling and Pilates to activities like walking all counted towards the account. Each month the top 5 with the highest number of MUs were declared the winners. There were sporty gifts for our efforts: Power banks and speakers with rechargeable batteries for the two leaders, drinking bottles, exercise resistance bands, muesli bars and delicious fresh fruit were the rewards for other winners. Whoever won once could not win again. This gave many colleagues the chance to win and no one was demotivated.

Sharing is Caring

Our motto for the challenge was “Sharing is Caring”. We shared photos of the sports activities and results in our internal Yammer community. In this way, we motivated each other and also encouraged others to join in. Pictures from colleagues’ hiking holidays were regularly circulated. Holidays in mountain regions or at lakes were clearly highly popular in 2021! A great opportunity to experience the colleagues from their personal side as well.

In addition, motivation also came from regular newsletters from our marketing team. They were a motivational boost for participants and encouraged others to join the Challenge. The screens by the elevators and roll-ups in the foyer also provided us with a daily reminder not to slacken off.

The participants and types of sport were highly varied: From basketball to triathlon brick training, going for walks to yoga, from iron man to the casual athlete. Almost everything was represented. Peak times for the exercise units were Tuesdays and Thursdays in particular, because many Challenge participants are also regulars at the company’s Pilates class.

Sports movement & movement towards each other

In our Challenge the word “Motion” word stood for more than just exercise or motion in a sports sense, but also in terms of movement towards each other. Therefore, the steering team also organised two outdoor group activities. In August we met up at 6:15 a.m. for a sunshine walk in Nieder-Wöllstadt. On a 5 km panorama walking tour the participants were able to enjoy a fantastic sunrise – a real magical moment. Some of the Challenge participants did the walk by themselves at home and shared their photos afterwards.

For the grand finale we met up for an wonderful autumn walk. The starting point was our headquarters in Bad Vilbel. Wearing our InMotion T-shirts, we did a 2.5 km circular route.

My experience

When I joined Tractebel during the pandemic, it was difficult to get used to being alone in the office and sometimes even being the only person in the whole department. That was a major challenge for me. Tractebel InMotion gave me the feeling of being part of a community. Moreover, I got to know colleagues on a virtual and analog basis whom I would certainly have never met in a non-pandemic situation. Quite simply because they are abroad or belong to a totally different department. Encouraging each other and getting through the pandemic together gave me extra motivation. And anyway, you quickly had a shared topic of conversation if you did happen to meet in the corridor or coffee area!

To my great joy I was also one of the lucky winners of the month of September. I was so happy about the sports nutrition bars. Great snacks for my next run!

Despite the successful Challenge, I am looking forward to experiencing such sports events together face-to-face – in the hope that COVID-19 will soon be a thing of the past.

Prize ceremony in the time of Covid: (from left to right) Irmtraud Pino and me with masks.

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