Hundreds of Public Storage employees walked thousands of miles—enough to circle the earth more than four times—as part of a recent team-building fitness challenge.
As you can see, our teams like to go the extra mile with everything they do, from giving good service to getting healthy with a little friendly competition.
“Our original goal was to walk around the earth once, but by the end of the competition, participants had completed enough steps to walk the distance around the world 4.2 times,” said Jaclyn Meza, benefits administrator, of the contest that attracted 800 people nationwide. “The turnout was unlike we’ve seen in the past. Historically we have only seen about 100 participants for step competitions.”
Each team member was encouraged to walk, run, skip or jump more than 7,000 steps per day and log their achievements virtually on a wellbeing app, LifeWorks.
There were weekly prizes with the top five in the challenge earning an Apple gift card to purchase an iPad
Some of the top winners were already sports minded, other participants were inspired by the group challenge and the progress of their peers.The top five steppers were Property Manager Juan Cano, Data Analyst Kenny Vong, Property Manager Christopher Lavoy, Facilities Manager Michelle Leigh, and Property Manager Alyssa Miller. Kudos to them! Read on to learn how they got fit as a group for tips you can use.
A Friendly Competition
During the 9-week challenge, employees could see where they ranked in the challenge using the LifeWorks app. Each day, employees had to log into the app and update their tally.
For many of our winners, the daily check-in served as a much-needed motivation.
Even though Vong went on regular runs and swimming every night, he realized early into the competition he had to augment his normal activities. He logged in more steps playing ultimate Frisbee, walking on his treadmill while watching sports on TV and even hoping on a desk bike.
“I thought it was going to be a walk in the park, but it got pretty competitive pretty quick,” Vong said.
Lavoy could relate. As the steps were racking up around him, he decided to ditch his golf cart for the entirety of the challenge. Instead he got around his property by foot, and it helped him stay in the top 5.
“At first I thought if I did 15,000 steps a day that would keep me in the running. These young bucks were clocking 25,000 to 30,000. I had to step up my game,” he said with a chuckle. “I guess the gauntlet had been thrown.”
Cano, who played sports for years, said he was motivated to stay in the challenge after seeing how well his colleagues were doing. He walked around his property and daily sessions on his stationary bike.
“The competitive side in me was like ‘I don’t want to lose and I don’t want to come in last place,’” he said. “It was mostly for fun and for my health.”
Virtual Challenge Creates Comradery
During the competition, employees not only had access to the leaderboard, there was also a community section where everyone could leave comments with their progress, or recognize the top steppers that week.
Miller, who has been with the company for almost two years was glad she was able to connect with fellow co-workers.
“I thought that was pretty cool,” she said. “Typically we wouldn’t talk to those employees so I thought it was really cool that we were able to communicate with each other and cheer on other coworkers within their districts.
Leigh has been competing in various races for the last 15 years. But the past two years have been different. Because of COVID in person races were all cancelled.
“I was so excited when PS decided to do the race challenge,” said Leigh who is training for the Walt Disney World 48-mile Dopey Challenge in January. “It was nice seeing how everyone supported each other and all the positive comments posted by everyone.”
Lavoy, who competed alongside two other employees in his district, said they jokingly trash-talked other employees if one of them got kicked off the Top 5.
“It was fun because I had communication with other people who were in it. It was fun to have that comradery as well,” he said.
For Vong, who joined Public Storage this December, it was also an opportunity to connect with employees he might not meet. Vong suggested future competitions randomly group employees so they can “meet and strategize together to win.”
“I loved this competition and hope for more going forward,” he said.
Benefits of Virtual Challenge
Besides getting to meet other employees virtually, many started noticing health benefits: eating healthy, being more active and losing weight.
Lavoy dropped about 24 lbs, which he credits to being more active and a change his diet. This competition has also motivated him to compete in his first 5k, which he plans to do with his sister.
Even though Cano wasn’t much of a morning person, he would get up early to ride his Peloton bike as well do some strength training. The challenged helped him drop 20 lbs.
“After all this, with the strength training and cycling, I feel more flexible and my back doesn’t hurt anymore,” he said.
Leigh was able to log more miles in the same amount of time getting her per mile time down.
“I want to congratulate everyone that participated and I hope everyone had as much fun as I did,” she said.