Colleagues in our Hamburg office organised an exciting Step Count Challenge and tree planting activity, to promote the well-being of our colleagues, promote conservation of biodiversity, and truly commit to their local community.
At Otto International, we commit to taking responsibility for the environment and we care about our well-being. A great example of living these values comes from Joern Grundmann, Project Manager at OI Hamburg, who started a Step Count Challenge in the Hamburg office during the COVID-19 lockdown in Germany.
The Step Count Challenge
During the peak of lockdowns, Joern noticed how it was impacting his colleagues’ physical and mental wellbeing: they were living a sedentary lifestyle and morale was low as people constantly stayed indoors. This was when Joern came up with a creative solution based on the advice of a friend – a Step Count Challenge, where employees would compete in small groups to see which group could reach the highest number of steps in a day.
Caring for his colleagues, Joern saw this challenge as having a clear goal: “to walk and move as much as possible… This would give us a good reason to leave our homes and do something to improve our physical and mental health”.
Enhancing the already friendly and warm atmosphere in our Hamburg office, this challenge was just one of the many great ways our colleagues collaborated while social distancing. Joern explains, “we would video call frequently to exchange ideas and have conversations. Despite the social distancing, we tried to stay in touch as much as we did before the lockdown”. With an open-minded attitude, everyone fully committed to recording their steps with the company, Fitbase.de and exceeded all expectations.
Committing to the Community
“To motivate us further, we wanted to walk for a good cause! So, OI Hamburg General Management not only agreed to invest in our well-being but also to donate 5,000 Euros when a maximum number of steps were reached” Joern elaborated. This donation was to be made to the Hamburg-based Loki-Schmidt-Stiftung, a reputable and highly active foundation that organises many environmental protection projects and educational initiatives to preserve nature in all of Germany. Their Flower of the Year award is only one example of promoting the protection of specific plants that face extinction and require help from local communities.
Such care for our environment is also integral to our daily operations. For instance, the Hamburg office uses less paper, makes sure to separate waste for recycling and composting, and contributes to the community by donating and volunteering for various projects.
Supporting biodiversity conservation through this challenge helped Joern and colleagues feel more deeply connected with their local community. This is why, as Joern mentions even though the initial goal was to achieve 3.3 million steps, “we reached our max donation easily by taking over 6 million steps between 25 individuals during a span of 5 weeks”.
Tree Planting Near Hamburg Office
This considerable success meant OI Hamburg donated 5,000 Euros to plant ten new trees in their city for the “Mein Baum – Meine Stadt” (My Tree – My City) Initiative. Organised together with the City of Hamburg, this initiative allows people to choose a specific location to plant their tree based on a 500 Euro donation.
Joern shares, “we picked a location closest to our office, plus winning team members also chose one favourite location where their tree was planted. This reward made up for all the long walks because we felt we all have left an actual mark in our city. I bike past the tree near our office most days when I go to work, and it makes me feel happy”.
“Since this was so successful and engaging for us, I am inspired to explore whether other OI offices would also join an ‘OI-lympics’ in the future,” Joern imagines. “Based on our experience, such an activity provides an opportunity for team building, communication, and mutual recognition. Maybe a similar global event would be a fun way to bring everyone in OI together – possibly even with a variety of activities”.