India Inc. today believes in working hard and playing even harder, quite literally! Seeing the growing passion for sports among employees, organisations are doing all they can to promote sporting activities at the workplace. Many organisations also hire people on the basis of their sports quotient. Having a fit body with a sharp mind is all the more better.

India Inc. is betting big on the manifold benefits that sporting activities provide. Experts confirm that the qualities one imbibes as a sportsperson can easily be translated into one’s work-life. Such initiatives primarily help to maintain equilibrium between work and play amongst employees, which are very essential to foster better performance.

With the growing need of having healthy employee-employer relations, such initiatives by corporate houses serve as a platform to reduce pressure and unite every member of the organisation. Inter corporate sporting events also help in reinforcing the organisation’s brand value and provide a common ground for professionals to come together to build a creative network, share novel ideas and improve associate and organisation productivity. Sports trigger constructive attitudes among employees, while knitting a closer bond among colleagues, by facilitating one to identify the temperament of his/her peers as people are completely themselves when they are involved in a sporting activity. It not only takes care of the relationship but keeps the employee stress free and fit also.

A few sport-related initiatives are:

RIDING ON A NEW WAVE: Microsoft India has a small, yet an enthusiastic group of cyclists that head out every week, in a quest to explore the outskirts of Hyderabad on their fancy cycles. This year, they participated in the annual ITsAP CSR Forum Republic Day ride. The initiative provides a great platform for industry-associations, companies and people to raise awareness and funds for their chosen causes, this year being education.

THE TORCH-BEARER: At Convergys, special events like the ‘Convergys Olympics’, an annual mega sports event running up to three weeks, generates much employee enthusiasm. Supported by a strong internal communications programme, the Convergys Olympics features a mascot, team flags and gala opening and closing ceremonies. Sports activities include table tennis, volleyball, cricket, football, obstacle races, cycling
competitions and relay races.

GAMES PEOPLE PLAY: Godrej ke Khiladi is an annual event where several games are conducted over four weeks with a theme for each week namely Khelo Dhoondo Jeeto (Treasure Hunt of a different kind), Xhausted, Khel Khel Mein and Business Baazigar.

KICK-STARTING A NEW TREND: Apeejay Oxford Bookstores Pvt. Ltd. supports the aspirations of their employees who are involved in various sports. For instance, the organisation gives continuous support to an employee, Uma Shankar an employee who has won the national championship in kickboxing nine times and also the coveted Silver Medal in Asian Kickboxing 2010.

FITNESS ALERT: “In order to encourage employee fitness at a global level, Applied Materials launched its own ‘Olympic Fitness Challenge’ in Feb 2010 spanning across six weeks. In the Applied Olympic Fitness Challenge, fashioned after the Olympic Games, participants across the globe competed in teams in an effort to win a medal for a particular sport. The country with the highest medal count at the conclusion of the six-week program won the title of ‘Fittest Country’.

THE FUN QUOTIENT: SAP cup is an annual event of SAP Labs and 120 teams from all SAP locations worldwide take part in this tournament, which takes place in Germany. The company also has several ‘Interest Groups’ like cricket, table tennis, quiz, books, running and cycling (SAP Roadies), etc. where like-minded employees get together and organise various activities.

Therefore, if you feel that you have lost touch with your favourite sport, it’s time to revisit your golden days – with a little help from your employer.