School Staff Increase Happiness through 5K Participation

DSC_0845Almost 100 staff members from eight Winter Park Consortium public schools joined together with Winter Park Health Foundation staff to participate in IOA’s Corporate 5K on Thursday, April 7.  Every year, the event, nicknamed “Orlando’s largest office party,” is held exclusively for Florida’s corporate community. Businesses and non-profit organizations form teams to take part in the event, and participants benefit from the camaraderie, friendly competition and the opportunity to celebrate with co-workers.

Encouraging school staff to participate in the IOA Corporate 5K came as a result of Florida Action for Healthy Kids (FLAFHK) being awarded a 2015 Health Innovation mini grant from Healthy Central Florida to help improve the level of happiness for school staff in Winter Park Consortium (WPC) schools. When FLAFHK met with Healthy School Team (HST) leaders from WPC schools to brainstorm ideas to help boost morale among school staff, a discounted entry fee to the IOA Corporate 5K was the unanimous winner. Many of the WPC schools had participated in the IOA Corporate 5K in previous years but did not have a tent to rendezvous with staff before or after the race. Furthermore, each school participated in isolation, so there was no coordination to encourage communication and team spirit among the participating schools. HST leaders felt as though a discounted registration would not only encourage school staff to register for the race, but it would also provide motivation for those who registered to participate in a walking/running program to train ahead of time. Additionally, training for and competing in a common goal would provide an opportunity for coworkers to bond outside of work, and, as a result, increase overall satisfaction within the working community.

DSC_0809FLAFHK partnered with the Winter Park Health Foundation and its Healthy Kids Today (HKT) campaign to coordinate and promote the IOA Corporate 5K participation to the WPC schools. As participants arrived at the HKT tent, they were greeted with a banner that said, “Healthy Kids Make Better Students,” food and beverages from Second Harvest’s Catering for Good Program, and an opportunity to socialize with staff members from local schools.  Participants wore their school shirts to show their school spirit which, in turn, spurred on a bit of friendly competition!

Judging from the smiles and laughs that evening, encouraging participation in the IOA Corporate 5K was a successful way to positively impact school staff happiness. A survey sent to participants after the race echoes this success with two thirds of respondents indicating they “feel closer to at least one of my coworkers,” and the same percentage of respondents indicating they will “look for opportunities to continue to connect with [their] coworkers outside of the workplace.” Nearly 70 percent of the respondents believe their “level of happiness will increase at work as a result of [their] participation in the IOA Corporate 5K.” All respondents indicated they are likely to participate in the event next year (77% highly likely, 23% somewhat likely).

For more pictures from the IOA Corporate 5K, visit Healthy Kids Today’s Facebook page