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Stay fit at work with RaboRituals

Just stepping outside for a short walk: it's quicker to do so from home than from the office. Yet there is often too much of a barrier to doing this during the working day. Rabobank is looking for new ways and habits to promote staying fit and active during the work day. How? By experimenting with new rituals and smart applications. And by walking with Olympic champions.

RaboRitual #1: shorter meetings

Having shorter meetings is easier said than done. But if you set it up organization-wide, it can be done. In December 2020, Rabobank rolled out a global experiment to achieve this, the first RaboRitual. One hour of meetings became 50 minutes, and half an hour 25 minutes. Hetty van Hoof, Scrum Master, talks about her experience: “Working from home means you miss certain rituals. The short walk to the coffee machine or chatting with the colleague next to you. It’s good to establish these kinds of rituals at home as well and to take time for yourself.”

The shorter meetings are a success: 89% of the colleagues indicate that they will continue to have structurally shorter meetings. Hetty: “It sounds so simple and it is. Since we have shortened our meetings, preparation is better and discussions are more efficient. Short breaks are part of the Rabobank Way of Working. Breaks are also part of your work.”

RaboRitual #2: Daily Mile

A short walk during the working day helps to keep you fit. Just a quick stroll around the block to stretch your legs, or a breath of fresh air for new energy. Many people already take such daily walks, and with positive effect. For the body and the mind.

The Daily Mile, the second RaboRitual, encourages all colleagues to walk or run outside every day. A daily walk of 15 minutes immediately makes you feel better, is the experience of Stefan Jorissen, Director Insurance. “Since I have shorter meetings and actively walk my Daily Mile, I am much more energetic in the evening and sharper during the day. During my mile I like to listen to a business podcast, get a cup of coffee or call a colleague. And occasionally I invite a colleague to walk with me.”

Linsey Hoogerwaard, Procurement Consultant, also walks every day. “The Daily Mile has made me feel more energetic, more creative and makes me enjoy nature more. It has taught me how relaxing it is to walk alone. It literally clears my head for a while.”

(Podcast is in Dutch.)

More experiments for a healthier way of working

These RaboRituals are just the beginning. More new habits are needed for the new way of working. Rabobank is constantly testing initiatives to encourage healthy living, says Jan Nieuweboer, Future of Work expert at Rabobank. “It’s all about the balance between performing well and taking care of your personal development and health in the long term. We want people to take ownership. We are currently experimenting with the My Analytics application. This gives you insight into your work patterns and creates balance in your schedule, your network and your health. A kind of sports watch, but for your work.”

Walking with Olympic champions, politicians and artists

Another initiative to make taking a walk attractive is a new Rabobank podcast. You can listen to sailing champion Marit Bouwmeester, rapper Typhoon or artist Marc Mulders, among others. In the podcast series ‘On the road with…. Journalists and Rabobank colleagues Sander Heijne and Max Christern talk to them. While walking in places that are special to the guests, they discuss how corona has changed their world, and the plans they have for after the pandemic.

I removed all the flowers from the garden and built a gym. Not working out is not an option.
Marit Bouwmeester, sailing champion

In the first episode, Sander takes Marit Bouwmeester for a walk through Scheveningen, one of her regular training locations. They talk about her necessarily postponed Olympic goal: gold in Tokyo. And how she dealt with the first lockdown: “First I took all the flowers out of the garden and built a gym. Not training is not an option.”

Max walks through Haarlem with MP Tjeerd de Groot (D66) and discusses the need for circular agriculture and his much-discussed plan to reduce livestock population by half. In Den Bosch, Max walks around the Oosterplas with Maartje Paumen. The former captain of the Dutch field hockey team has set up her own business and became a mother last year.

Two men on bridge

A new walk every week

Every week, a new episode of “On the Road with…” is released. For example with the aforementioned rapper and singer Glenn de Randamie, better known as Typhoon, former top volleyball player Bas van der Goor, the Rotterdam photographer and winner of the Rabo Photographic Portrait Prize 2020 Sanne Donders and former top tennis player Jacco Eltingh. Olympic speed skating champion Esmee Visser, CDA politician Evert Jan Slootweg field hockey star Eva de Goede, former speed skating champion Erben Wennemars and Rabobank’s Chief Human Resources Officer Janine Vos also take a walk with us.

You can listen to each episode of the series during a walk that lasts between three quarters of an hour to an hour. On the map you can see where the guest walked, so you can even walk in the same place. (Podcasts are in Dutch only.)

View podcasts on the interactive map (Dutch only)