The dark winter months can be challenging under the best of circumstances. Factor in the lockdowns as a result of the pandemic and it quickly became more difficult for many to maintain a positive outlook. As we reflect on the one year anniversary of COVID-19 at the workplace, we would be remiss not to highlight the good things that came out of the past year. The resilience that was built. The (virtual) connections that were made. And the communities that were formed.
Finding the light
As we approached winter in Canada, we faced the certainty of cold temperatures, snow, limited sunlight and being confined to our homes as many regions were met with lockdown measures that restricted activities. We had to learn how to adjust our professional and personal lives and for many of us, adapt to the new reality of working from home with limited social engagements. As the world went virtual, Sedgwick Canada colleagues formed an alliance to exercise our way across the country. In doing so, we would put our resilience to the test, strengthen connections within our organization and regain our sense of community.
In February of 2020, more than 100 colleagues across Canada set out to participate in the virtual challenge. Organized by Coralee Harder, Tania Schwartzenberger and Ashlinn Kavanagh, the race across Canada was a competition between our West and East coast colleagues to see which team would be the first to log enough miles to “reach” two iconic landmarks.
The West coast team started measuring its progress from the Calgary Tower. Colleagues exercised individually, striving to tally enough collective miles from west to east to equal the distance to the CN Tower in Toronto. Meanwhile, the East coast team headed west from Toronto to Calgary. The total distance was about 3420 KM or 2,125 miles. The challenge was anticipated to last until June of 2021, but within just a few weeks, the East coast team reached the Calgary Tower.
The race across Canada may have been a contest, but that didn’t stop competitors from showing their support for other participants. Along the way, we shared stories about our journey through a chat group — allowing us to get to know our teammates beyond our daily work interactions. We sent photos and videos to each other when we got caught in a snowstorm. We logged our miles from daily walks, treadmill and stationary bike rides and received weekly updates from the organizers, giving us all the more encouragement to keep going.
The race across Canada was a true testament to how teamwork and healthy competition can motivate us all professionally and personally. Now the focus will be on keeping up the momentum as we approach our next challenge of walking the length of Canada from Newfoundland to Vancouver, British Columbia; a distance of 7,821 KM or 4,690 miles. This opportunity is sure to reenergize us all and provide much needed support post-COVID. How are you building resilience, connections and community within your organization?