If you happen to eat your lunch at Stuart’s Paris offices, there’s a good chance you’ll hear a relentless ‘ping-pong-ping-pong’ noise in the background throughout your meal. That’s because the cafeteria has become a playground for table tennis aficionados. For our Parisian Stuwies hitting a few balls around during their breaks, this is just one of the ways they enjoy spending time together and taking their minds off work for a moment. Meanwhile in London, two of the team’s favourite sports activities are squash and football, as our Stuwies can easily book courts in the leisure center next to our offices at Fora. Similarly, in Barcelona, Stuart employees are serious about football with two groups meeting to play indoor football once a week. The team even joined a seven-a-side football league and was crowned champions last spring!
For many of Stuart’s employees, engaging in these activities is as much about bringing teams closer together as it is about getting active and staying fit. When we think about the value of exercising, we tend to focus on the physical benefits for each individual, but physical activity can also be a way to foster team collaboration. Plus, regular exercise—whether in or out of the workplace—has the potential to increase both productivity and satisfaction at work.
For your physical and mental wellbeing, get active!
At Stuart, we’re serious about delivery and making sure every package reaches a happy customer requires a lot of work at the office! Although our engineers’ brains might be extra busy improving our courier mobile app, their legs usually stay put. However, exercising regularly is key to living a long and healthy life. There is strong scientific evidence that people who engage in regular physical activity have a lower risk of developing long-term chronic conditions. In fact, the UN’s World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week, for people aged 18 to 64.
Our employees' health and wellbeing are a priority, which is why we offer every Stuwie a monthly gym membership benefit. In addition, we partner with Juno, a platform that connects our workforce to hundreds of unique products, services and experiences designed to improve wellbeing. Finally, we frequently organise engagement activities and sports-related team events. For example, this summer, our Stuwies in Barcelona spent an entire afternoon ziplining and conquering obstacle courses at an adventure park. In September, it was our London Stuwies who had the opportunity to participate in a variety of sports activities during their three-day offsite with zorbing, paddleboarding and biking all on the agenda.
Exercising isn’t just about improving our physical health—it also helps relieve stress and anxiety by increasing endorphin levels that produce euphoria. Engaging in physical activity encourages us to focus on the body and, therefore, to take our minds off daily tasks. There’s no thinking about an approaching deadline when we focus on our stride while running or our upper body movements while lifting weights!
In other words, the mind is left relaxed after a good workout session, and we can head back out to work stress-free and focused. For Malko, our Senior Regional Manager in Paris, exercising is an integral part of his week: “It calms me down, you know. It’s a stress reliever. It brings change to my daily routine.”
When it comes to the benefits of exercising for our mental health, there’s a lot more than antidepressant and anti-stress effects. For many, sports is about setting ambitious goals for yourself and pushing past your limits, which can lead to a confidence boost and stronger self-esteem. That's how Magali, our HR Generalist in Paris’ offices, sees it: “I started karate for stress management and to boost my confidence. I keep practicing to be proud of myself. And it helps me on a daily basis.” Today, Magali is a karate black belt—an extraordinary achievement to be proud of.
Exercising increases productivity and satisfaction at work too
Magali says practising karate has also done a lot to help her master creative the problem-solving skills she needs in her daily work: “When I exercise, I have more perspective and it's easier to find solutions.” Indeed, studies show that physical activity boosts creativity and mental energy. So when we hit a wall at work, going on a walk or a jog might just set us on the right path to solving issues.
Increased productivity through regular exercise can also come from an enhanced ability to manage our time effectively. At first glance, this could feel somewhat counterintuitive. After all, many of us wish we could exercise more but we simply don’t have the time. Workdays and commutes can quickly stretch out into the evening, deadlines need to be met, and we still have plenty to do on the home front: chores, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, caring for children…
So how could adding another activity to an already busy schedule help us with time management? David, Operations Executive in the UK and cycling fanatic, explains: “Cycling gives me purpose because I'm the kind of person that needs structure in his life. And with cycling, you need to do a certain amount of training throughout the week. So it's all about structure and planning it out. You've got to learn to manage yourself a lot better.” Maintaining a regular physical activity involves planning, structure, repetition, and purpose–ingredients that are essential to productivity in a work setting as well.
There’s one Stuwie who has taken mastering time management to the next level in order to make sport practice fit with his work life: Llorenç, Business Operations Data Analyst in Barcelona, is also a field hockey player for the Spanish national team. More than that: he’s an Olympian who participated in Tokyo’s 2020 Summer Olympics! Previously, he won a silver medal with Spain in the 2019 EuroHockey Championship. To prepare for such challenging events, discipline is key according to Llorenç: “Sports is an important pillar in my life that helped me set my priorities straight. I had the goal to make it to the Olympics so I knew that my priorities were different from the people around me. Having to allocate time for field hockey created a sense of discipline and time management.”
People who exercise tend to experience increased self-efficacy, or the belief in your own ability to execute tasks and produce results. Although self-efficacy is entirely subjective, it has a real impact on productivity. Those with high self-efficacy are less likely to avoid difficult tasks at work and more likely to see them as challenges to be overcome. At Stuart, we believe that productivity and satisfaction at work are intertwined: happy employees tend to be more engaged in their work and with colleagues.That’s why we try to make it easier for our people to find time for sport by offering a range of activities in and through the workplace. Our company’s belief is that exercise shouldn’t be seen as something that requires sacrificing time from work, but rather as something that will reduce psychological strain, boost confidence and teach employees how to manage their time efficiently.
Stuart embraces sporting values
Just as important, the values conveyed by sports are closely related to our own Stuart values. One of these is to “Start with humility”. We believe humility is key to achieving success because when we're aware that our knowledge is always incomplete, we stay motivated to constantly improve. What is true in the workplace is also true in sports. For example, one of the three Olympic values is excellence, which includes not just doing your best but also the idea of striving to do better. Our Olympian Stuwie, Llorenç, relates to this value: "When I was young, I would always get angry when I lost and would be super happy when I won. Throughout the years I've learned that you also have to be proud of yourself when you lose and not be so proud of yourself when you win.” He believes that it is this humble mindset that allowed him to keep improving and to achieve his goal of participating in the Tokyo Olympics.
Another key sporting value is of course team spirit, showing respect for others and developing friendships. There's a strong parallel with collaboration—the cornerstone of Stuart’s company culture.
We encourage our Stuwies to always be respectful of everyone in the team, to be kind and helpful, and not to make assumptions about one another. In a way, sporting values are an inspiration to our own set of values.
We also "Share through cooperation” to create value from interconnected expertise. It's by helping one another solve complex problems that we can deliver on our mission to build logistics for a sustainable world. In the same way, great sports teamwork happens when every athlete embraces the philosophy that they should be the best person for the team rather than the best person on the team. Llorenç illustrates how important this commitment to his team is: "Even on days when I’m feeling down or I don't feel like training and could let myself down, I don't want to let the team down."
To sum up, take it from an Olympian: not only can exercising make you feel better physically and mentally, the values learned through sports will also inspire you in your everyday life, in and out of the workplace.
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