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Wellbeing Week’s healthy competition builds bonds and bodies

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Sure, I get some strange looks when I say so, but one of the things I most look forward to each year is Wellbeing Week. 

We just finished up our third annual Signifyd Wellbeing Week and I’m still basking in the wellness glow. Yes, as an HR leader, I can cite the studies that show that promoting wellness in the workplace leads to fewer insurance claims, less absenteeism, improved mental health, higher productivity and the rest. 

But that’s not why it’s the best time of the year. The reason that Wellbeing Week is tough to beat is that Signifyers around the world are into it. Really into it.

Even when it’s not Wellbeing Week, we engage in all kinds of activities together. We host a fun and festive holiday party, a family-friendly Halloween bash, and of course, there is a spring picnic. We regularly get together to socialize at our offices in San Jose, Denver, New York, Belfast and London. At the end of the workday, we’ll fire up a movie, compete in pool tournaments or sing karaoke.

Signifyd’s Wellbeing Week went international this year

But I can honestly say that Wellbeing Week is right up there with all of that in the eyes of employees. This year Wellbeing Week was notable for going international: The opening within the past year of our European headquarters in London and our R&D center in Belfast meant that Wellbeing enthusiasm was trans-Atlantic.

A table of healthy breakfast at Signifyd's Belfast R&D center with the Belfast skyline out the window in the background

Even the Irish Breakfast got a make-over for Wellbeing Week

Signifyers’ affection for Wellbeing Week no doubt has to do with the informative lunchtime seminars we hold on topics like mental wellness, nutrition and fitness. (We branched out this year, which I’ll get to in a minute.) Some of it has to do with being able to gather with co-workers for a particularly healthy — and good —  lunch, breakfast or snack break. 

We hold a health fair, yoga classes and offer flu shots. (Fun? Uh, no. Good for you? Definitely.) We leaven the exertion of walking with the joy of learning — a clamber through San Jose’s historic Winchester Mystery House and a walking tour of Belfast. And the chair massage sessions on both sides of the Atlantic certainly don’t hurt the week’s popularity.

But I’m convinced the reason the week is such a hit comes down to healthy competition — literally. I mean, who doesn’t like a good challenge?

Two competitions ran all week long — a steps challenge to see who takes the most of them and a healthy improvement challenge in which participants rack up points for making positive changes during the day. 

Let’s just say the progress updates flashed across an office big screen got a little attention. Signifyers kept tabs on the leaderboards in the office the way day traders watch the Dow Jones. And you know the term “bragging rights?” We’ve redefined the phrase.  

Add to that the push-up, plank and wall-sitting competitions and you’ll spot the heart of a warrior at work. If you’re thinking that Signifyers actually train for the in-office contests, you probably wouldn’t be wrong. 

When it comes to wellbeing, the numbers don’t lie

But it’s all about the results — and those were not bad at all. Consider Signifyd Wellbeing Week by the numbers. 

Wellbeing Week by the numbers

  • Steps taken: 1.8 million (U.S.)
  • Steps taken: 1.4 million (Belfast)
  • Flu shots given: 50
  • Winning number, pushups: 53 (U.S.)
  • Winning time, wall sitting: 6:03 minutes (Belfast)
  • Winning time, wall sitting: 1:15 minutes (U.S.)

There are stories behind the numbers, too. Stories of Signifyers making changes — quitting smoking, upping their nutrition game, etc. — that last well beyond the designated week.

All of which is great. But like any annual event, it’s good to change things up. So this year we broadened our definition of “wellbeing,” adding financial wellness to what makes a whole human healthy. Personal finances are no doubt one of life’s biggest stressors and education goes a long way toward easing financial anxiety. 

And so, we invited speakers from a financial education non-profit to conduct lunch-and-learn sessions on college funding strategies, investing principles and estate planning. The program also included future personalized one-on-one sessions for those who want to dig deeper into one or more of the subjects.

It’s all pretty exhilarating, and I don’t think that’s just the runner’s high talking. The benefit of spending a week focused on building a better self — and on doing more pushups than your co-workers — is undeniable.

But the real value of Wellbeing Week is found in the relationships built and the improvements made, and how those shape the remaining 51 weeks of the year.

Photos by Sarah Cairnduff, Signifyd

Emily Mikailli

Emily Mikailli

Emily is Signifyd’s senior vice president of people operations and views herself as responsible for every element of the candidate and employee experience. Before arriving at Signifyd in 2016, she worked in human resources at Survey Monkey, recruited legal talent at Google and was an account executive at Robert Half. Emily holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and she is a licensed attorney with a law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law.