Look Book Issue 3 | Be Well 20/20 | Movement Helix Fitness Challenge

Helix ARCHITECTURE + DESIGN FINDS WAYS TO KEEP SPIRITS HIGH THROUGH A FITNESS CHALLENGE

As organizations across the country have settled into their new normal in the midst of COVID-19 and stay-at-home mandates, they have also been figuring out new ways to be supporters of their employees’ health and wellbeing.


Helix Architecture + Design, an integrated architecture and interior design firm in Kansas City, Missouri, turned to its Ministry of Fun to come up with creative ideas to keep the firm connected during quarantine. The epicenter of the firm’s close-knit, work-hard play-hard culture, the Ministry of Fun is a rotating group of Helix staff who plan celebratory happy hours, commemorate special occasions, and generally add an element of, well, fun to the firm’s daily operations.

A stay-at-home order obviously presented challenges to a group who relies on camaraderie and spending time together. But, just as companies have turned to video conferencing to stay in touch, the Ministry of Fun found a new way to keep spirits high: the Helix Fitness Challenge.

THE PREMISE IS SIMPLE:

Every day, complete as many of the seven activities on the daily tracker. Each activity is worth a point, and the Helixer who has the most points at the end of the week wins a prize. Updates are shared on Helix’s Instagram, which serves a dual purpose of staying connected to followers and inspiring its own employees to get going.

 

“I love that we are motivating movement and health,” said Erika Moody, IIDA, Helix principal and Vice President of the IIDA International Board of Directors. “It’s light-hearted and fun, but it’s also in the spirit of Helix to focus on people and how we can impact their lives for the better — now, we’re focusing on ourselves.”

The fitness challenge goes beyond friendly competition; it is a holistic tool for health and community engagement. The activities are a balance between the physical — squats, push-ups, and crunches — and those that support mental health as well, such as yoga, meditation, and spending time outside. Winners receive gift cards to local restaurants in an effort to support fellow small businesses during an uncertain time.

“The activities were intended to be accessible to all levels of fitness but to also challenge people to do something outside of what they would normally do,” said Erin Henkle, IIDA, Helix interior designer.

“One of the things that I found surprising was that meditation was our least popular activity,” said Alexis Oppenheimer, Helix architectural designer. “That gives me an idea of what we, as a firm, could do moving forward in promoting mental health and making space in our lives for these types of activities.”

Helix posted regular updates to its Instagram stories, where it could engage with its staff and followers in a lighthearted way. On average, 60 percent of the staff participated in the fitness challenge.

Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has offered opportunities for Helix to reflect on different facets of its practice and operations, including continuing to promote each other’s health and wellbeing. The group plans to keep building on the momentum created by the original challenge and will find ways to keep their colleagues motivated at work.

 

Special thanks to Carly Erickson, Director of Marketing and Business Development at Helix, for partnering with Scott Rice on this article!

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