We gathered yesterday for the latest Sport for Business Members Round Table, this month on the timely subject of the role of sport in the return to the workplace and in workplace wellbeing.

The room was as ever filled with smart individuals that have an interest in the subject coming at it from a number of different angles.

We spoke of the challenge of getting people back into a workplace social setting and the additional complication of offering a streaming alternative which can reach out to a larger group but which lacks the energy and the connection that a live, in-person event brings.

Most of us in the room are still trying out different ways to make this balance work and it will happen but in a state of continual transition, as we are, there is no single straightforward solution.

Another challenge is that of giving good reason for employees to cross the line between work time and their personal time. Traditionally a post-work five a side or other social gathering was a well-trodden path to getting people together.

The old adage that you would learn more about an individual playing sport for 15 minutes than you might in six months of sitting beside them at a desk still rings true but it is getting harder to persuade people to give over their time.

The new working environment is still being shaped but there are clear trends emerging that Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday are busier days for being present in the office environment and Monday and Friday are remaining stubbornly less so.

Perhaps there is a way to shift this up by offering sporting challenges during working hours on a Friday when the pressure to complete tasks might be traded for the pleasure to compete.

We looked at a number of different initiatives that have taken place in the past or are in the pipeline for the future, from the PwC Staff Relay, Ireland’s Fittest Workplace from Zevo Health, the All Ireland Company Games run by Sport for Business and the Sport Ireland Campus, and the National Fitness Games run by Titan Experience.

It was also worth casting our minds back a decade to the first Sigmarathon when walks around Stephens Green added up to an aggregate trip to Singapore, tracked online with teams forming to push the number on. Little could it be known then how important virtual activity would become.

The team element of each of these was seen as very important with individual entry options recording much lower levels of engagement and less of a reward for the workplace or the wellbeing side of things.

Building teams requires champions within, a theme that was universally recognised as of real importance, alongside the need to get wider groups involved, if not as competitors then as organisers, logistics chiefs, spreadsheet warriors or water carriers.

Team in its widest sense is where we should be aiming at.

Buy-in from leadership was seen as of real importance and we spoke of the value of rising stars in an organisation taking on leadership roles in challenges where they could be the boss.

There was more, much more that we covered and it is a subject to which we will return.

Those present yesterday agreed there was value in establishing a group that can come together occasionally to discuss ideas and make us all that bit smarter in this area.

If you would like to be part of a wider group, let us know and we can have a chat.

For the time being though we will leave you with a reminder of how much fun can be had from playing together as a team…

We were joined yesterday by:

Rob Hartnett, Sport for Business
Adie McGennis, Sigmar Recruitment
Ciara Lucey, Titan Experience
Coman Goggins, AIB
Eoin Kelly, Executive, Sports Travel International
Emma Cooke, Zevo Health
Jonny Dever, PwC
Martin O’Brien, Sport Ireland Campus

Apologies from

Selda Simsek, Laya Healthcare
James Galvin, DCU
Stephen Bradshaw, Teneo

Upcoming Round Tables will be held on:

* Pride
* The Rise of eSports and where Ireland can be a Winner
* Sports Medicine
* Third Level Sport
* The Impact of Gambling on Sport and Society

Contact us at rob@sportforbusiness.com if you are interested in being part of one of these or if you would like to build a group of smart minds around your particular area of interest.



Sport for Business Partners