Thursday, March 6, 2014

3 Hours Per Week

Leave it to me to be the one who brings exercise to the govunment. I am part (dare I say instrumental) of a committee called the Health and Wellness Committee at the agency I work for. For the past year and some change we have been advocating weekly to implement a policy that many of our peers have enjoyed for years. That is, to take up to 3 hours of work each week to exercise. Paid time that is. You can work out all you want on your own watch.

Now when I first heard that I could get paid for working out you can imagine how stoked I was. What?!?!! Why the fuck aren't we doing this?!?! You mean to tell me that during my workday I can be biking or running or lifting weights. And you'll pay me for this!  **You can see it takes me awhile to absorb very simple concepts**

The idea is that productivity actually increases when a workforce is more active. It breaks up the monotony and the daily grind. It gets the blood circulated at a faster frequency thereby stimulating the brain neurons to make paper stamping go quicker. That's the theory. And of course there's indirect benefits such as lower health care premiums for said govunment (that's you too Ms. taxpayer) if their employees become healthier, and an incentive to recruit and attain top talent (no one is pointing any fingers over here). It's well known that public sector work does not pay what its counterpart does in the private sphere, but this is a plan that most other 9-to-5 industries would scoff at...well many would at least.

It was with extreme patience and aggravation that this process developed. Months went by, and we had very little progress. For anyone privy to the inner workings of a bureaucracy this is no surprise. Things move much more rapidly in a nursing home. In fact, a few of my peers in the sub 30 age category grew frustrated with the lack of tangible progress and abandoned the committee altogether.

I couldn't blame 'em. I persevered a bit because I knew that it would never happen if we didn't have outspoken advocates who wouldn't shut the fuck up about it. Like the brother who says, "Mommy, but Kyle got an ice cream cone...I want one too!!!!!" That was my role. Something along those lines.

Impeding our progress (if you can call it that), was the chief of some department (who co-leads our committee) stonewalling us. Kinda in a shitty situation when the person who needs to be your biggest proponent needs strong-arming to come aboard the idea. She did not make things easy. Let's keep things nice :). She is about as useful as a back spasm. Okay, I'll stop there.

Anyway, as the months passed a colleague/friend of mine took charge and led an all-out assault on leadership to get this policy implemented. He's 35, his wife just had their first baby about a year ago and he is a badass in my opinion. I look up to him actually even though him and I are a bit different. He played college football and has nice hair. And I didn't play college football and Bruce Willis has better hair, so you can see the differences are transparent.

He and I meet for coffee occasionally and he gives me life advice which I appreciate. Always smart to pick the brains of your elders (assuming they are in a good spot themselves). Not going to the jail anytime soon to take notes (but Ash does daily!!!). Bet the stories would be better in there, eh?

See, this is why nothing gets done in the govunment. You got people like me who practically reinvent the water cooler with any transient thought that sprouts in the brain!!!

Moving on for real this time, Dave (dude's name) lobbied the senior leadership and the cabinet and the brass and the blah blah blah and it sat on the director's desk for about a week before any action was taken. But. Finally it was signed! Sneakily one late afternoon our director signed the 'pilot' program and it was slated for rollout the following week (postponed a week....obviously).

And now it's here. And numerous employees are taking advantage of it.

Our committee has actually done quite a few things to help motivate our colleagues but this was far and away our primary goal. It's a good feeling. Fuck it, it's a great feeling. It's the small wins in life that give you a sense of satisfaction sometimes.

I wonder if typing is considered exercise...that reminds me.....

7 comments:

Doran said...

Way to persevere! Good for you and your colleagues.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely incredible. Good for you! So how does it actually work? Do people go to a gym in the building? Do you get paid for a set amount of time that you have to prove you used working out? Interesting and great!

Anonymous said...

Inertia spelt sideways is govt. Perseverance is a requirement to get ANYTHING done i this world. Congrats to you and Dave for ramroding the obvious benefits home. Now i wonder can this program motivate those who would benefit the most from its use? The athletes of course will get after it immed. but how to motivate the sack potatoes, that will be your mandate. Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

You have really done you and your co-workers the biggest favor anyone could have done. Although it sounded like a tough deal to get through, the folks working with you will be from now on changed for the better-feeling better more often-working better more weeks-having better health check-ups. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Getting paid to exercise? HUH? How do I get a job with your group? Great work on the big wigs.

Anonymous said...

I do hope your coworkers so appreciate all that you have helped get for them as far as improved well-being, longevity, and work performance. The benefits extend farther than they will ever realize.

ConArtist said...

Thanks Doran! Or should I say future Papa Bosso!

Thanks! Basically people sign in and out with permission from their supervisor. They can use the gym in building (like me) or they can run/bike outside. Or do stairs whatever they please. The max you can get paid for is 3 hours per 40 hour work week.

We have done a good job of enticing people with challenges between floors. And doing our best to incorporate all types of wellness, not just fitness.

Many thanks!

see usajobs.gov lol.

I couldn't agree more.