Drake & Company Get Fit Challenge Update: The Inevitable Backslide

By Melissa Ripp

Marketing Coordinator, Drake & Company Staffing Specialists

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Anyone who has tried to lose weight—whether it’s five pounds or 50—has been through it. Yep, you guessed it—the inevitable backslide.

When our Drake & Company team met with the other participants in the In Business Get Fit Challenge in mid-March, we were excited to get started. We walked out of the meeting at Meriter with our awesome lunchbox kits from 5Nines, ready to get started with the Challenge. From our perspective, we were coming off the hardest winter any of us had seen in recent history, and we were ready to lose the weight that went along with it. Nothing was going to get in our way.

The only problem is that LIFE gets in the way. In the weeks that followed, going to Panera down the stairs seemed a lot easier than taking the extra ten minutes to pack a healthy lunch in the morning. It was still too cold consistently to walk at lunch, and fairly quickly, we all found ourselves in the same place as we were beforehand—giving into our own vices (Cheetos for lunch? A Coca-Cola in the morning? What Get Fit Challenge?) and making a bunch of excuses (“I’ve had a bad week. I’ll start next week” was something uttered more than once).

Kim, one of the partners of Drake & Company as well as the head of our Legal Division, saw this happening and piped up. “We need something else to motivate all of us,” she said, “And we need to be more of a team, too. It feels like we’re going at all of this alone, and that’s not what the challenge was designed to do.” She was absolutely right, and we all knew it.

So, on a Friday morning in late April, Kim and I met and devised a plan to jumpstart our team’s morale as well as our weight loss. We’re not sure what motivates all of you who might be reading this, but we certainly know what motivates our group—cold hard cash.

The reward system we devised is based on two outcomes – losing weight AND staying active. For the weight loss piece, the Drake team agreed to weigh-in every Thursday before our weekly meeting. Our weights are recorded into a spreadsheet, and at the end of each month through the end of August, the person who lost the highest percentage of his or her weight is rewarded $10 cash. For the staying active portion of the reward system, we’ve put up charts in our break room along with several sheets of gold star stickers. Each gold star represents 30 minutes of workout time (as we’re a very exact group, we even cut stars in half for 15-minute increments!), and at the end of every month, the person that has worked out the most hours is rewarded with $10 as well.

However, there’s also a larger prize at stake. We began the challenge on May 1, and there are four months to go until August 31. The person who has lost the largest percentage of weight in that four-month period will get to take home the grand prize—a cool $100 in cash.

We’re over a month into our “challenge inside of a challenge”, and we have to say that monetary prize is indeed working. Big lunches out of the office are less frequent, and when they do occur, we find ourselves opting for salads instead of creamy soups and bags of potato chips. We bring healthy lunches the majority of the work week. We’ve been walking during lunch, too—so at least when we eat at our desk, we’ve been moving for a half-hour beforehand. We’re in a healthy competition—literally—with each other, and we’re also more of a team.

We couldn’t have done this without the cooperation of our management team here at Drake, who were more than willing to kick in the money to incentivize this challenge, and it’s a testament to the fact that they appreciate the forming of healthier habits—not only for the four people involved in the challenge, but our office in general. After all, a healthy workplace is a more productive workplace!

We do recognize that in a small way, we’re throwing money at our problems—but we prefer to think of it as investing money into a solution! And if a $10 reward can buy us a healthy lunch, it’s an investment that will pay dividends down the road.

Melissa AM0A01277Melissa Ripp is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical, and legal placements. For 36 years, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can find Melissa on Google+, and you can find Drake & Company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.