A few months ago, we conceived the idea of The Bulk Games at Bulk HQ.
Believe it or not, when you combine fifty health and fitness enthusiasts in a workplace centered around that industry, you get more than a few competitive people, who want to test themselves.
At first, we threw around the idea of finding the best athlete at Bulk Nutrients. However, it was clear the winner here would be decided based on the events. If we targeted endurance events, which tax the cardio system, our top five would look completely different than if we based it around dead-lifts, farmers walks and outright strength events.
As the idea evolved, we also had to think about how an event like this could remain entirely inclusive. Instead of finding the best athlete, could we instead come up with a concept which encourages participation and teamwork? This evolved to become The Bulk Games.
While we are an extremely social group at Bulk Nutrients, growth of our workplace means inevitable segmentation. Therefore by putting people together from all walks of life and ensuring teams would be made up of staff from management, dispatch, production and marketing we aimed to see staff really get to know each other better and thus enrich our workplace.
Lastly, at Bulk we are fortunate enough to have several migrant staff, many of whom are still very conscious of their home countries and what they have left behind in moving to Australia.
One of our staff members, Ben Khan who is originally from The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), has already been working for months establishing a charity. His charity funds and supports education for Congolese children. Therefore we thought we’d take this existing idea of The Bulk Games and use it to financially assist Ben’s charity – Action and Development for Africa.
Ironically, Ben missed much of The Bulk Games as he left in early November to travel back to The DRC for a month to oversee the operations of his charity.
Teams and events
In summary, we had six teams of six people – injuries, sickness and holidays counted many people out – who competed in five different events.
The events were a chin up/push up medley, a 3000 metre row medley, a dumbbell hold medley, a six kilometre run medley and lastly the prestigious Bulk Nutrients van pull.
The last event really was all it was cracked up to be, with almost forty staff members standing out the front of the factory, trying to outdo each other by pulling the 2.5 tonne Bulk van the fastest.
Machismo was at the max and times were smashed with subsequent attempts.
So what did the Bulk Games achieve?
The Bulk Games exceeded its goals in terms of bringing people together. We deliberately selected some quieter staff members as team captains and many relished the opportunity to lead their teams. We saw people come together to train, with stronger members really encouraging the less active members to give every event 100 per cent.
As a side benefit, The Bulk Games has been the catalyst for a few staff members in starting their training journeys for the first time in their lives. All of those inspired by The Bulk Games are continuing their training and expect to on an indefinite basis now they have “the bug.”
In terms of encouragement and participation, making all the events team based medleys worked really well. The row was a great example. With each team member having to row 600 metres of the total 3000 metres without the clock stopping, a vital part of the event was the changeover. This saw all team members getting involved in loosening and tightening foot straps and holding the seat for changing members.
Team members would suggest split goals and the more experienced would offer advice on techniques and training.
Certainly, one of the highlights was seeing teams regularly training together at lunch times. We saw friendships form where previously people had not even known each other by name.
But there can only be one winner!
Whilst The Bulk Games were a lot of fun to compete in, there was definitely an element of competition and things got very tight at the end. Teams were welcome to attempt each event up to three times, however, organising your team to attempt an event often took a lot of planning. So for many teams events were only done once.
The top three teams in order of first to third ended up being The White Rabbits – co-captained by head of the production line Janga Tiwari and head digital designer, Georgia Rowell. The Red Bulls, which included yours truly – general manager Ben Crowley – but was also led by star athlete and marketing manager Brodie West. And lastly, The Grey Wolves – lead by customer service employee Nicole Frain, who was like a general organising her troops for training and events.
The Red Bulls and The White Rabbits ended up winning two events each and both also had two second places. The difference, however, was that The White Rabbits’ worst place was third, while The Red Bulls bombed on the chin ups/push ups challenge, coming dead last.
Consistency is what won the day and it was quite fitting that The White Rabbits dominated the Bulk van pull, while also being the team who put in the most attempts.
Congratulations to The White Rabbits, they were deserved winners. Thanks to all those who participated in what was a complex, but very worthwhile initiative.
We will definitely look to do it again in a slightly different form in 2017!