Angela Palahinjak September 11, 2020

Introducing the STEPtember challenge to 460degrees

Since joining the People and Culture team at 460degrees in February this year, Ange has been integral in fostering a supportive, healthy, engaged and connected team. This has presented both challenges and opportunities for her and it was a pleasure interviewing Ange and discovering how passionate she is about her role and her implementation of the STEPtember initiative into the business. Details of the interview are below:

460degrees STEPtember challenge Q&A

Q: Why have you introduced the STEPtember challenge to 460degrees?

The reasons for implementing STEPtember into the business is twofold. Firstly, to raise funds to support children and families living with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in children and affects a person’s movement and posture for life. Every dollar donated through STEPtember will help families living with cerebral palsy by providing early medical intervention, fund stem cell research in finding possible treatments, provide mobility, technical and communication equipment, provide support to families in regional and remote areas and access to accessible sport programs to increase motor skills, health and wellbeing. Many of us have been touched by cerebral palsy in some way, so it is a privilege to be able to contribute to this wonderful cause.

Secondly, being aware of the impact social isolation and remote working has on our team during COVID-19 both physically and mentally, STEPtember encourages our participants to add daily exercise to their to-do list and make it a priority. Exercising has many physical benefits, such as mood improvement, reducing the risk of illness, losing weight and improving self-esteem. Exercising also releases endorphins and serotonin to brain cells that improve mood.

Research from the Black Dog Institute has found that exercise can be highly effective in providing a wide range of mental health benefits from building coping and resilience, distracting from negative thoughts and improving memory and sleep. This results in reduced depression, anxiety and stress levels.

By 460degrees placing the teams’ health and wellbeing as a priority, positive effects flow through to the business as a result, some examples being increased productivity, improved focus and less distractions and allowing staff to gain a greater control of their workday.

Q: How does STEPtember work?

The challenge requires all participants to walk 10,000 steps each day throughout September. Although, the premise is about counting steps, STEPtember is accessible to all and it can accommodate any exercise by entering the exercise undertaken into the STEPtember app which then converts this to steps. We have bike riders, joggers and swimmers joining the challenge.

Q: How many people at 460degrees have undertaken the STEPtember challenge and how are you motivating each other?

We have 15 participants across the business grouped into 4 smaller teams. One team is named ‘Walk it off’ which is a great pun and captures the mood of STEPtember of walking off weight, stress, anxiety and your workday.

The majority of participants, 12, are from Melbourne who are currently only permitted to exercise outdoors for an hour a day and facilitating the uptake of exercise during this time has been beneficial.
Participants keep in touch via our internal communication platform where we motivate each other by regularly sharing our exercise progress, challenges and enjoyment. This has created some valuable connections while we are really missing that interaction with our workplace colleagues.

Q: How is the fundraising going for STEPtember?

We’re going well so far. We have had some lovely people donate already which has helped us to be on track for our target, however we still have a way to go and obviously want to raise as much as we possibly can. 460degrees has generously pledged to contribute towards our grand total at the end of STEPtember which is very exciting for us and we are most grateful for their commitment to us and the cause.

If you would like to donate, please do so via this link: https://www.steptember.org.au/fundraisers/460degrees2946

Q: Have you received any feedback about the STEPtember challenge?

We sure have……

“STEPtember keeps me accountable. Getting out and about, achieving my target of 10,000 steps every day, staying active and having fun along the way. I also enjoy the STEPtember camaraderie we have going at work. All this, while we raise money for an important and worthy cause.” ​Haridini

“In my first role (oh so long ago at Logica in London), one of my work colleagues had  quite severe CP. He was and is absolutely stunning! He’d been at Uni at Oxford and  was totally on top of the coding activities we were doing. Tony’s a legend, an inspiration  and an example of how brilliant you can be in adversity. It’s a fabulous cause and I’m  delighted to be doing a little to help. Thanks so much for organising it Team460d!” – Jo​

“I like combining health and wellbeing with making the world a better place. STEPtember  motivates me to get back my fitness and lose all the winter and COVID-19 kilos gained  by raising funds in contributing to making lives easier and more comfortable for those  living with CP.” Werner S​

“Enjoy being part of a team working towards a goal. Motivation to do that little bit more  than average. Being reminded of how much I have to be grateful for. Ability to give back  a little bit!!” Werner B​

Q: Have you introduced any other activities into the workplace to help staff during isolation and working from home?

At 460degrees, we have always worked in a connected and collaborative environment, however it has never been more important than now. We have implemented a range of new initiatives, like virtual coffee catch ups, quizzes and project initiation workshops just to name a few to help our team feel connected while we are working virtually. Our culture is one  where our team is often checking in with their colleagues for a simple ‘hey, how are you?’ chat which is something I really value at 460 and something that in this time is so important.

A huge THANK YOU to our participants and those who have donated. 🙂

The following links provide further information on mental health during COVID-19 and the STEPtember challenge:

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