Wellness… Intel style!

A few weeks ago, I saw several co-workers heading out the door together under somewhat threatening skies. They wore comfortable shoes. They had a distant, intense gaze. What, I wondered, would drive otherwise rational people to head out for a group walk, facing the springtime wind and rain? I had to smile. They were part of Intel’s “Walk for Wellness” competition.

Individuals participating in the Walk for Wellness wear a pedometer and record the number of steps they take on a web tool that a volunteer built. Groups of employees form teams and they actually compete against each other for the most steps taken. The participants are not all trained athletes or anything. They’re mostly just regular folks out doing their best and having fun.

In fact, the Walk for Wellness isn’t just at the Folsom, California site, where I work. 294 teams and 2,300 individuals from eight states participated in the 2009 Walk for Wellness. For about a month, the teams counted steps, biked miles, and vigorous activity. The winning team actually logged an average of over 33,000 steps each day (okay, yeah, those were actual athletes).

I saw the team come back in from their group walk and they were a little wet, but not drenched. They didn’t win the Walk for Wellness challenge but they were having a good time. And most Intel employees enjoy a bit of competition, so the Walk for Wellness has been a smashing success.

Intel has committed to taking a leadership position in wellness and has launched a number of innovative programs in support. Some of these programs required significant investment, such as the opening of our on-site health clinics at our two Arizona sites. Most sites have a gym for employees. But what I think is very cool is that some activities that are carried forward simply by employee interest, such as the Walk for Wellness. Intel doesn’t spend much on it at all but is fully supportive, hosting the tool and writing articles about it on our corporate intranet site.

Heh. I just heard someone on the aisle next to me all pumped up about how their team beat out a competitor team in New Mexico. I had to smile. It’s pretty good working in a place where competitiveness and a sense of humor fit so well together.

Sound like fun? Then, I invite you to explore Life at Intel and discover firsthand the benefits of being an Intel employee!

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