So you want to become more active. How do you make it stick? In a workplace context, office artifacts can help motivate and sustain changes in behavior like walking more. Here’s an example of how.
I was recently walking through the halls at a different company location from where I usually work when a bright burst of color caught my eye. One team had hung a blackboard in their office area where they scrawled different ideas for how to reach 10,000 steps that day. I loved this board–it’s doing a lot of things right in helping people commit to movement:
- It makes the commitment public, which can promote better follow-through
- BUT it is also semi-anonymous, which helps people who are more private still benefit
- It marshals social support for behavior change
- It’s fun and funny. Weaving jokes into a health behavior change can make it more palatable (although attaching your Fitbit to the dog is decidedly NOT an effective technique to get more activity)
- It’s eye catching. Because the board is in an obvious place, bright, and hard to ignore, it serves as a cue to people to change their behaviors in the moment
- It serves as a cultural artifact–the visible level of culture–that indicates a playful, accepting work environment
- It’s consistent with the mission of Johnson & Johnson more broadly to support a healthy workforce
This chalkboard is a really simple strategy that helps make physical activity an accepted behavior within a particular office culture. If there’s a behavior you want to see become acculturated in your workplace, think about the types of physical artifacts you might introduce to support it. In particular, if you can find a fun way for people to publicly commit to their goals, you may be surprised at the changes you see.