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Last year SAP offered Run Your Way, a global program encouraging colleagues to increase their physical activity by subsidizing the purchase of fitness tracker. When I saw the announcement, I started thinking if such a device will have an impact on my lifestyle. A year later I know it has, even more than that, and now I will share some highlights.

Personal benefits…

I have always been quite active, so initially I thought that I don’t need a tracker. After a brief research I found out that besides steps, some of the devices can monitor you heart rate and sleeping stages. This got my attention and I decided to give it a try.
After just a few weeks I discovered the first big benefit. I got insights about my sleeping habits, the quality of my sleep and hints how to improve it. The second insight was that when I am at work, I tend to have hours-long periods without much movement. We all know that this is common for people working on computers, but when you see your personal data, this can make you move, literally. These two benefits alone were enough motivation keep my tracker with me all the time.

… and beyond

But then came the Fit@SAP platform. Combining the different devices into a single software platform with significant number of users, the SAP colleagues worldwide, the platform is prime example of how pervasive software and device are in our life.
So, the first very interesting local challenge in Fit@SAP was to walk the length of the Bulgarian coastal line – 378 km. And everyone who covered it was contributing with ten trees, that were going to be planted as part of our CSR days. The idea to walk more, in order to maintain better physical state and in the same time to contribute to a greater goal to plant as many trees as possible, really inspired me. I was even telling about this “summer challenge at work” to my friends and family. I gave it as an example what kind of culture and environment we have at SAP. I remember how this challenge made me climb the stairs every time at the office. Or park a bit farther away from my final destination, so that I will add a few more steps to my balance. And even today I still do it, it has become my habit.
One of the next challenges in our SAP Labs Bulgaria is worth mentioning as well. We were split into random groups and we were competing against each other. The winner team would receive professional counselling about nutrition and exercises. You can imagine that for people who are conscious about these things, this was quite an attractive prize. But I liked this challenged not for the prize (my team could not win anyway), but because of the social element. You get to know new colleagues for the first time and you work together for a common goal. I won’t forget how we were climbing stairs in the office together before our lunch breaks.

You see how something seemingly simple, like encouraging colleagues to buy fitness trackers, could impact the life of many of them in multiple directions. I am particularly proud that in SAP Labs Bulgaria we managed to build on the personal benefits and combine this with our CSR efforts. This way we increased the collaboration between the colleagues in the office. This year we have “summer challenge” again and the stakes are higher: 470 km, the length of Danube river, alongside the border between Bulgaria and Romania. Everyone who covers this distance will contribute with 15 trees that will be planted in October. And I am confident that this year we will have more new trees that the last one.

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