The ‘Meet the Board’ series gives our readers an opportunity to learn more about the dedicated people who sit on the Healthy Workplaces board. In our next installment, we connect with the Managing Director of Veritas, Pete Murray.

What is it about Healthy Workplaces that drew you to get involved?

I’ve been involved in charity work for some time, including being the co-founder of a charity through my previous employer, that I’m still on the board of. And when Andrew Fisher joined, he talked to me about what Healthy Workplaces was all about.

What I like about it, and what I like about any charity activity is that it’s very tactile. Healthy Workplaces isn’t just a charitable engine, it’s also a work/life balance and health engine as well. It delivers three outcomes – it promotes healthy workplace environments, it engages heavily with the people inside that workplace, and it raises money for charity.

As a board member, what key area of expertise do you bring to Healthy Workplaces? Tell us a little about your career background.

I’m very heavily connected in the IT industry in the New South Wales and ACT markets, so one of my jobs is to connect Healthy Workplaces to IT organisations. I’ve also got a very strong sales and marketing background, so I’m hoping this background gives me the ability to come up with new concepts and new ways for Healthy Workplaces to take itself to market and to generate revenue.

In the two years that you’ve been on the board, what positive results have you seen organisations achieve by participating in events like Tour de Office and Step Forward?

We did one for NTT throughout Australia just before COVID, and they’ve now got bikes in five of their offices in Australia, and are ready to do more ride weeks when their offices open up again. The feedback was fantastic. They really loved it and had great employee engagement.

We also did one with my previous organisation Pure Storage and again, the bikes are still there, and people use them even without the challenge going on. We’re also going to do one in Singapore, and one later in the year in Australia with our partners, so we’re going to extend it to all of our partner community to participate in the same activity, which means they’ll come to Pure Storage offices and ride the bikes! We’re hoping that that in turn will generate more interest in TDO and Healthy Workplaces.

What do you hope participants gain by getting involved? (E.g. Better health outcomes, more energy, or increased enjoyment for physical activity)

What we saw was that – Pure Storage runs a very virtual office environment, certainly now with the pandemic, but even before the pandemic, an office of 35 to 40 people might have 10 people in it at any one time. But during the challenge, everybody turned up. People were meeting with people in a social environment where work was the secondary conversation, and it was just nice to see people being themselves before they were being work colleagues. I think people got to know each other a lot more than they did through a traditional work relationship, and it created new facets of the relationship that people have with each other in the organisation, and made everybody stronger and closer as a result. It was great from that perspective.

At NTT, what happened was that teams and offices decided to compete with each other, so it wasn’t just about fundraising, it was about raising the most funds, and each team making sure that their teams were spending as much time on the bikes as they could to raise money for the charities that they had chosen. But they were competing against each other interbranch and interteam, which was really cool.

We had created a Yammer group for participants, and people were Yammering to each other, “Get your cycling gear on!” and “Hope you’re feeling fit today!” So it started with traditional communications from on the intranet, Yammer and through email… and became this viral self-living organism of competition inside the business, for the duration of the one-month event.

How do you keep active during the work day?

We do have two brand new puppies that we got that are now 16 weeks old, but we’ve just started teaching them how to walk on the lead. Twice a day, we take the two dogs out separately, because they get too distracted by each other when we take them out together. So I do two half-hour walks a day with the dogs! I do a lot of meetings while walking as well, along the waterfront. So it’s generally a walking thing now facilitated by having two puppies.

I also tend to accept more meetings than I did in the past because I can use them to walk at the same time, and it also gets me away from Zoom. Whilst Zoom has been a critical part of our business staying connected with each other, it is a bit tedious sitting in front of your laptop or on your phone, being on meetings all the time. Taking walking meetings has actually improved my work/life balance, and when I’m walking, just getting more blood pumping through your body, you tend to be more active and engaged in the call, than if you’re on your third sit-down Zoom meeting.

In fact, my company has prohibited video Zooms on Mondays, so that you can take the opportunity to have most of them as walking meetings, which has been great.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply