Manager Sano in Corpore Sano

Physical activity is a fundamental part for our wellbeing, but it is often neglected due to work commitments. Paradoxically, it has been shown that physical activity and, therefore, wellbeing are also related to productivity in the company. We wanted to explore these topics with professionals in the fields of fitness, recruiting and executive coaching to try to understand different perspectives and if this very particular period has influenced the search for wellbeing or not. Furthermore, it is also important to understand if those who were already used to taking care of their physical wellbeing were also able to better manage this period and what impact it had on their work.

Laura Puccini, personal trainer specialized in functional gymnastics tells us,

“Surely the lockdown period put everyone to the test and even those who were lazy and apathetic, in the end decided to take some time to fight boredom, to stay fit or to take advantage of the right opportunity, remembering that we are not made for the sedentary and recluse life. It goes without saying that many trainers and myself, have experienced the virtual world by offering different kinds of training strictly online. There were many requests and adhesions, and technology really gave enormous support.

In my personal experience of this forced period of using online platforms, I felt gratitude and desire to practice and exercise for a long time even after the lockdown.

Now we have returned from holidays and find ourselves in a pseudo-normal situation, many companies have decided to return to the office and the gyms have reopened… yet the attendance still is very low.

My thought about it, is that surely the online world has worthily supported the lockdown period and even now it is useful for those who are always tight on time, have periods of inactivity for work overload or because they constantly travel but honestly I do not think it can completely replace the offline training for various reasons:

– Personal trainers are coaches in the broadest sense of the term, they train you and teach you about physical activity but also they mean human relationship, dialogue and sharing. This aspect becomes more difficult in the online lessons.

– If a customer needs specific athletic training or practice a particular sport, it may not be possible to train them online due to lack of space and equipment.

Finally, I believe that, regardless of the athlete’s age, the predisposition to use technology has a great weight. Somehow, those who are not practical enough or do not have a device, eliminate themselves from the opportunity to practice physical activity online and have to focus on the traditional method

Smart Working gave everyone the opportunity to work remotely but certainly did not benefit the routine habits because it involved too much sedentary work, the elimination of the commute or go out in breaks and because at home we often find ourselves working in non-ergonomic positions with improvised desks and inadequate seats that are detrimental to posture and daily caloric expenditure.”

Looking at the headhunter’s perspective, we asked Laura Cesati, Senior Consultant at Kilpatrick, whether or not she has noticed an increase in the search for wellbeing in the form, for example, of a boost of requests by candidates for benefits that go in this direction.

“The impact that the pandemic has had on workers’ attention to benefit plans and the relevance of wellbeing is certainly evident to everyone.

The recovery phase and the beginning of the “new normal” have highlighted some profound changes regarding a new approach to working life that certainly involves the sphere of physical and mental wellbeing, an increasingly important area today in choosing a new professional opportunity by the job seekers.

In fact, in recent months, during the evaluation phase of a new professional project, we have noticed particular attention not only to the mere economic aspect but also to a growing demand for solutions and tools that involve the sphere of wellbeing.

Not only the traditional gym membership, but innovative and technological solutions to perform physical exercise are combined with the request for medical support rather than moments in the company in which you can dedicate yourself to your body (and your mind).

Companies, therefore, are adapting their “offer” to meet these new needs and those that have managed to restart with greater momentum in terms of people have been those able to adopt solutions for the psycho-physical wellbeing of their collaborators, even in the workplace. To do this, traditional corporate welfare tools will no longer be sufficient, but innovative wellness solutions will make the difference, which will increase the company’s ability to attract new talents and keep the commitment of existing employees high”.

Regarding the importance of aspects related to socialisation beyond office life Laura adds,

“Certainly our social and working life has undergone a very strong and sudden change during the pandemic phase. The ways of interaction in the workplace have radically changed and, if at the beginning this attracted the enthusiasm of many, after months of agile work, it resulted in an increase in the perception of isolation, lack of separation between the work environment and household, an increase of elements of distraction as well as an increase in working hours.

After the critical phase, workers today are trying to rebuild a new normal in which sociality becomes an integral part of the professional sphere. This translates into a search for moments of sharing with one’s colleagues to confront not only from a professional point of view, but also purely for fun and entertainment.

All this pushes individuals to want to better understand how their company or the company of their future is ready to promote and organize social events, such as sports tournaments or similar.

But this also concerns a new concept of leadership: today leaders are called to be promoters of moments of encounter between and with their collaborators to create a new team spirit, sharing and knowledge that goes beyond simple professional discussion”.

Finally, Monica Ferrario, Manager in Kilpatrick and specialized in executive Coaching tells us her considerations helping us to understand if those who were already used to taking care of her physical wellbeing were able to better manage this period and if this fact had an impact on her work.

“Today people have a wider range of choices to choose from and in a complex landscape like the current period, depending on the mental attitude they adopt, the beliefs and convictions determine the behaviors and consequently their results! The mind plays a decisive role in acting in complex organizational contexts and the physically and mentally trained manager has an advantage. It should be noted, however, that physical and mental training go hand in hand in order to be in balance. Putting health first is the pillar on which many managers base their personal and professional success. It is not enough to have good skills to keep your performance high. It is equally important to train your mind every day and heal your body so that they become an empowering and supportive resource for your daily activities. Those who have been able to preserve their health thanks to constant training will be able to face the new challenges of the future with serenity”.

In this regard, Laura Cesati also adds:

“By constantly having meaningful chats with clients, both within the HR function and other organizational functions, as well as with candidates, we realized there was a real and better ability to manage the lockdown phase by those who already had the discipline to perform physical activity on regular basis.

In particular, playing a team sport has helped to be the glue between team and colleagues (and this at all hierarchical levels) while the habit of carrying out sporting activities at a competitive level has instead highlighted a strong orientation towards results and achievement of objectives even in critical situations. The habit of playing individual sports on a continuous basis, on the other hand, has proved to help keeping focus and being goal-oriented, even in the most complicated phases of the pandemic.

In general, taking care of your body and being comfortable with it helped to keep the course steady, never lose sight of the goal and those who had a leader role to keep their employees motivated”.