A challenge that made us all feel better

The average worker spends an enormous amount of hours in front of a digital display/screen and, in most of the cases, they do it while sitting on a comfortable office chair in front of a laptop. For sure, there are those 30-40 steps everyone takes for a coffee, but, even with these few steps, this is exactly what is called a sedentary lifestyle.

This kind of lifestyle is increasingly widespread and it’s one of the main factors that influence our physical health. At PQE Group, as with most companies, this phenomenon is more than present and, in order to combat it, we decided that this year – 2023 – would be dedicated to promote a healthy lifestyle for our employees.

At the center of this project we created the ‘United We Step’ Challenge: a competition in which all PQE employees were invited to participate with the goal of achieving as many steps as they could during the month of May. Basically the challenge was “the more you walk, the higher you’ll be in the ranking.

The steps were monitored through very common apps (GFit, Apple Health and others) and the data was automatically redirected to a second app, “Steppers,” in which every participant could check their and their colleagues results, see the general and team rankings and also access the shared wall, a page where any user could upload pictures and messages (a true international social experience!).

To foster great participation among our employees, we decided to create the right hype by inciting competition between teams and, obviously, by adding prizes for those who achieved the three highest number of steps:

The final results of the United We Step Challenge were surprising; many employees showed a strong desire for being more active, walking more, doing more compared with what they were used to and, moreover, all the participants knew that they weren’t just walking or running for themselves but also with the hope and aim to help someone else with a donation. This is exactly the result we wanted to reach when the initiative was created: to motivate all the employees to become more active so their physical health (but not only) could improve.

Of course, it goes without saying that there were top performers, and on top of all of them were three colleagues who collected more than one million steps during the month of the Challenge: Ajay Kumar, Martha Ortega and Ajay Sharma.

Ajay Kumar – 1st Place

Who are you at PQE? I’m working as a Project Manager-CSV, based in Chandigarh, India and I have joined PQE Group in 2019 as a Senior Consultant-CSV.
How did you do all these steps?  I always wake up early in the morning and routinely do running and few exercises for more than 1hour, it helps me to stay active all day long and also to stay fit & healthy.

What’s your motto? Sound body, sound mind, sound spirit and sound soul.

What Association did you choose? Yog Manav Vikas Trust is an Indian social charitable nonprofitable organization established in 2001. The association supports the remote areas of the backward district of Chamba by providing benefits in the fields of education, vocational training, rehabilitation to underprivileged children and rural folks. 

Martha Ortega – 2nd Place

Who are you at PQE? I’m the Guadalajara Office Manager, based in Guadalajara, México. I joined PQE Group in 2017 as a Compliance consultant, then I involved in CSV activities and C&Q too.  

How did you do all these steps?  I always wake up at 4:50 am, go out with my dogs to walk and trail running in the morning (2.5 hours or more during the weekend), during the evening I have a walk with my dogs (1 hour), running bicycle (indoor bicycle, 1 hour or more during the weekend), and some days I also go swimming (1 hour). I like running or walk in the mountains and I use to go there every time I have the chance. I love the fact that my dogs can run and walk freely and I can enjoy my special time: offline and quite.

What’s your motto? My father used to say “¿Cómo chingados no se va a poder?”, it means “How dare to say can´t be done!!”, when I think that something is not possible, I think about it, I start doing it and then things happens.

What Association did you choose? The “Escuela para Entrenamiento de Perros Guía para Ciegos I.A.P.” (School for Training Guide Dogs for the Blind People) is a Mexican private assistance institution, founded in 1988 to breed, educate, train and donate guide dogs to people affected by any disease that provokes blindness. The association has worked with more than 200 visually impaired people and their families, and it has trained 138 pairs of person-dog. Their mission and ultimate goal is to contribute to the well-being, independence, mobility and self-esteem of low-income people with visual disabilities through their activities and support. 

Ajay Sharma – 3rd Place

Who are you at PQE? I’m a Technical Qualification Consultant based in Chandigarh, India and I joined PQE Group in December 2022. 

How did you do all these steps?  I have divided my walking routine into three parts: morning walk, evening walk, and walking after dinner.

In addition to that, with my colleagues in the Chandigarh office, we decided to take walks during lunch breaks and use the stairs instead of the elevetors.

This collective decision to opt for the stairs not only promotes physical activity but also encourages camaraderie among us. We chat, laugh, and share stories as we climb the stairs together. It has become a bonding experience for all of us, and it helps break the monotony of the workday and create connections with my coworkers.

What’s your motto? Dream big, work hard, stay focused, and surround yourself with good people.

What Association did you choose? Prasanchetas Foundation is a Non-Profit Company based in India. The association is working for the empowerment of the girls, women, children, youth, elderly and veterans through education, literacy, awareness, skill development, leadership, employability, peace-building and environmental conservation.

We were delighted with the incredible results in terms of steps that were accompanied by strong participation, with more than a third of the company actively participating in the challenge.