On Exercise: The Mystery Office Renovation Olympics

On Exercise: The Mystery Office Renovation Olympics

We’ve spoken about food before in this blog, and so this question might be on everyone’s minds: how do we stay fit when the Switch offices are always either

  1. Ordering takeaway because someone didn’t have time to make lunch and so people join in in solidarity,
  2. Getting sweets brought to the office by overzealous new hires who wanted an excuse to pig out on churros, or
  3. Deciding to make something for a pot-luck lunch on a pre-existing theme?

And the answer is this: it’s difficult. You can never have too much food, but you can absolutely have too much jogging – and as someone great must have said at some point, ‘pastizzi are the mother of productivity’.

So what do we do?

That’s why Switch has introduced the Mystery Office Renovation Olympics.

There’s a lot to unpack in that sentence, so we’ll start with the basics:

Office Renovation: Switch is renovating the offices below for mysterious and nefariou—-no, we just need the added space! If you’re following our Instagram, you’ll have already seen a little bit about this. As the Switch family is constantly growing and adapting, new ideas need bigger places to showcase them. That’s why we’re moving into a new, convenient location (downstairs!) to put our best foot forward and really get down to business.

Olympics: Sport events that show off the best of human ability. Remember that part. That’s crucial for what’s coming next.

Mystery: The piece de resistance of the whole event – no-one knows when the next Office Renovation Olympics event is going to happen.

Now you see where we’re going with this.

The process is simple. A message is sent to the Whatsapp group.

The message will read: help needed downstairs.

Excitement mounts. Whispers start to circulate in the back of the room: what will we be doing? Victors of previous rounds prepare for glory. The less fit prepare for pain.

Matt prepares to be elsewhere (this is why he’s usually the first one cornered).

Andrea Meli suffered a gruesome injury before the start of the Office Renovation Olympics, and so is declared victor in absentia by default.

Finally, the first, the bravest, make their way to the door (this is usually Ernesta. Ernesta has a 24kg kettlebell at home and the will to use it regularly). Bit by bit, others follow: some in heels, some in skirts, some in full makeup, and some wearing entirely appropriate office-wear.

10-Metre Parquet Slab Relay

The inaugural event of the Mystery Office Renovation Olympics was the 10-metre Parquet Slab Relay. Two trucks carrying approximately 200 parquet slabs pulled up in the car-choked Mriehel road. The task: carry a minimum of 3 parquet slabs up 3 flights of stairs in less than two hours.

Standouts of the match were Naomi, the tiniest person in the office by about a metre, and Ernesta, hot-footing it up three flights of stairs with an armful of parquet slabs. Vanessa manned the elevators, urging victory through ergonomic board placement and friendly nicknames.

The event was declared a unanimous success. Victors – everyone – were granted pizza as a reward.

That was thought to be the end of it.

Kitchen Packing Championship

Two days later, there was the Kitchen Packing Championship. Three teams of two people. One kitchen to unpack. Breakables. Slippery flooring. Unfolded boxes.

The drama was palpable.

Best time? 30 minutes. Winner? All three teams, who combined their efforts to dismantle and pack away everything in the kitchen. Highlights included the discovery of a kitchen item of indiscernible use, the award-winning box-folding of Femke, our Dutch intern, and Alba’s careful sequestering of about 40 small crystal glasses in a box intended to hold only 20.

No other Olympic events revealed themselves during the week (we do not count the 10-minute endurance panic gymnastics done by our content-writer, who triggered the alarm three days into her second week and panicked until someone called her with the code).

100-Metre Shelf-and-Drawer Shuffle

Three more days passed without another office event.

And then – just when everyone was sure it ended – there it was. The text.

‘Help needed downstairs’.

Backs were straightened. Stomachs sucked in. Shoes exchanged – for those who brought shoes. Matt was peeled off of his chair and hauled downstairs.

This was the Big Event. The event to make all other events look like toddlers at San Anton gardens.

This was the 100-metre shelf-and-drawer shuffle. The directive: move everything in Room A to Room B. Everything in Room A was approximately 160 shelving slabs, 7 metal frames, 8 full water gallons, one wheeled flat-pack desk, and one un-wheeled flat-pack desk.

Final time? 45 minute. Room A – completely cleared. Room B – stacked full of new material for the office renovation.

Victors were preemptively rewarded with churros.

So far, there have been no more Mystery Office Renovation Olympics. The Whatsapp group waits in anticipation for that heralding cry – ‘help needed downstairs’. Ernesta prepares herself for battle by two-arming curls with the water-jugs, certain that whatever other event occurs, she will defeat it single-handedly. Thomas waits in the shadows, subtly stretching for victory, ready to take charge and organise with lightning-speed.

Pablo wants no part of this, and keeps out of the way as much as possible.

As for the rest of us, it’s good to get out of our chairs and stretch some other muscles for a while. At Switch, we can get too mired in the creative process, most of which takes place between chair and keyboard; getting us to get up, move around, and pull together not only helps us stay fit, but keeps us in shape for the next client shoot – whatever that may be.

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Elise Dalli's Story.

When she's not writing about the history of the semi-colon or researching her next short story, Elise likes to play videogames, scroll through pictures of cats on her phone, and buy too much makeup. She's been writing creatively for around seven years and has used about 2 million commas in that time.

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