The idea about the Polar Races initiative started off as a response to the lack of activity of our employees during the pandemic, both in terms of physical and social inactivity. Polar Cape in normal conditions is a company with constant interaction, lots of socializing and many of the social activities are sporting, such as running, biking, even exercising in the office together. Most of that was for fun and for spending time together and not just for getting into good shape. The pandemic was a big punch in the face for us and it had a toll on our mental health as well. Knowing that now we will not have the opportunity to go back to the office and to our normal activities in the foreseeable future, we had to be creative in making a new normal with what we have as options.
The Polar Races were an idea that combined many of Polar Capes core personality traits, they were fun, required some (not a lot though) physical activity, they were helping the environment and most importantly they were connecting people again.
The Polar Races were a team competition, all our teams consist of up to 9 people and they were to collect points in 3 ways: individual challenges, group challenges and general activity that was being tracked through the Challenger mobile application. For those that have not seen what the app does please check it out in the play store or app store and start using the perks it gives for just walking around. It’s available for everyone to use, compete in public challenges and you also get discounts in many businesses.
We had a big help form the Challenger team. The guys from the Challenger team helped us by allowing us to have a separate dashboard, with Leader boards, where everyone was able to track and see all the contesters walking/running habits. And it was great to be able to see the joint impact that we have as a company on saving CO2 emissions.
Polar Races started as an initiative to give fresh air to a boring everyday life through weekly sports challenges and group activities in nature. The challenges brought different numbers of points depending on the difficulty of the task. The individual challenges were online challenges that were sent in a group chat in Teams as pictures or videos. Which was much more fun than we even intended in the beginning. Seeing your coworkers trying hard to bend over and pick up a piece of paper in their mouth can really lighten up your day.
The group challenges were held outdoors, for them the goal was to gather as many people as possible and it was especially interesting for the new colleagues who joined us in Polar Cape last year and were meeting up with the others for the first time in person. The first activity we had in place was a bit challenging, but successful, and that was climbing Vodno mountain.
Then the most successful one was gathering in the park, more than 40 people showed up and it was very emotional for some of us, since we were seeing colleagues for the first time after more than a year! So, as you can guess, we stayed until late into the night, guitars were being played, stories about the past were being told, and we felt a bit more normality than usual… at last. And the final group challenge – Laser Tag, a fun event filled with a lot of running and competitive spirit.
In the end, taking into consideration many indicators but especially the satisfaction from all that took part (and even some of the spectators 😊), the whole initiative was successful in many ways. Many of us saw a new motivation and reason to be more active in the everyday life, others needed to take a break from everyday responsibilities and this was a good outlet for them. But I think the one and most important thing we can all agree on, was the goal to see and hang out with everyone as in the good old days.
In numbers the Polar Races look like this:
More than 17 million steps were walked, more than 13 600 km were walked, ran or biked, more than 350 kg of CO2 emissions were saved, and more than 80 people were happier and healthier!
We want to end with a big thank you to everyone who contributed in any way and got involved in this initiative to raise the competitive spirit in Polar Cape in a slightly different way than usual. It is the people that are part of Polar Cape that make this kind of initiatives successful and better for everybody!