Across the globe, soccer professionals and a legion of fans are preparing to converge on Russia for the once-every-four-years spectacle that is the World Cup.
Over the weeks ahead, unlikely leaders will emerge, old skills will be tested, new ones learned, and among both fans and players, new comradery will form.
And that’s exactly what can happen when work colleagues get together to share time on the sporting field.
If the World Cup inspires you to join the office sport team, this article share a few key tips to remember along your sporting journey to victory.
Benefits of joining the office sport team
For starters, a little lunchtime exercise is great for your health. Yet it’s something most Australians don’t get enough of.
A 2017 study commissioned by QuickBooks found almost one in five Australians are eating lunch “al desko”. More than one in ten use their lunch break to browse the internet, and 3% either head off to the pub for a drink or use the time to sneak in a few cigarettes. Only 6% of Australian employees exercise during their lunch break.
Giving your brain a chance to dial down while your heart rate winds up isn’t the only reason to connect with the office sport team. You may find it can be a fantastic way to get to know your colleagues a little better, and maybe see a different side to their personalities. It’s also an ideal environment to make new connections with staff in other departments.
But, as with the mighty game of soccer, there are rules to follow.
Here are our five top tips to maximise your enjoyment – and the benefits – of joining the office sport team.
1. Embrace the chance to boost your fitness
You don’t have to be pro to enjoy some exercise with your coworkers (though if you can bend it like Beckham you’ll be a hot favourite for the office soccer tournament).
Leaving your desk for some working week exercise could even boost your job performance. A Medibank Private study found healthy employees can be almost three times more productive than their unhealthy colleagues .
2. Keep workplace gripes off the field
Aim to be “the good sport” in your office sport team. It can be challenging to keep workplace politics off the field but even if you’re playing against a colleague who pipped you for a promotion, try to maintain a positive attitude.
Conversely, don’t carry grievances from the sporting field to the office. If you lose a game, remember to congratulate your opponents graciously. It will enhance your reputation as a team player, a quality that will stand you in good stead back at the office.
3. Share the glory, cultivate camaraderie
The ancient Maasai people of east Africa have an expression: "If you want to travel fast, go alone. But if you want to travel far, go together".
It sums up another benefit of joining the office sport team – the opportunity to build relationships with coworkers, achieve common goals and bask in shared glory. The camaraderie you build on-field will undoubtedly reap rewards back in the workplace.
4. Let your leadership skills shine
Almost every major sporting event sees an unlikely hero emerge. It could be you! Leadership qualities are highly prized in today’s workforce, and what better way to demonstrate that you’re capable of leading than in the office sports team?
Don’t be concerned if your manager isn’t there to witness your leadership capabilities. Chances are the grapevine will do the work for you.
5. Keep the fun factor alive
Office sports are supposed to be fun, and being overly competitive can quickly turn things serious – or worse, nasty.
Resist the urge to become engaged in petty conflicts on the field and commit to playing fair. You’ll have far more to gain from being part of the office sports team.
So, as you settle down to a smorgasbord of soccer, consider dusting off your joggers, packing a pair of shorts in your briefcase and raising your hand to become a member of the office sport team.
It could help you kick goals with both your career and your wellbeing.