Your friends at Viget present Flourish, a Viget News & Culture Blog

Building a Healthy Office Environment

February is American Heart Month! In honor of this, I thought I’d talk about how to make your office a little healthier. It’s worth noting that I have a degree in dietetics so my zeal for healthy office habits is above average; but, I think it’s a great idea for everyone to work towards a healthier office culture.  At Viget, we want our staff to be happy and healthy, and we’ve taken steps to make sure our offices support that.

Gym Memberships

A lot of companies today provide gym membership or reimbursement towards an exercise program as a perk. But, all too often, folks sign up for an exercise program and don’t make the effort to go to the gym. They intend to go, so they don’t cancel the membership; but, in reality, they’re not using it. At Viget, we built and introduced Viget Spots You, our way of reimbursing gym costs, but only for people who actually go to the gym. It integrates with Swarm and, as long as you check in eight times throughout the month, you get $50. This is an awesome way to keep staff motivated to use their gym memberships. We also open Viget Spots You up to alternative types of exercise like rock climbing and yoga for those who want to buck traditional gyms.

Vigegym

Through a grassroots effort (AKA enthusiastic employees bringing in their spare gym equipment), we have acquired a small collection of workout equipment for people to use at the office. It sits out in our main working area at HQ and encourages people to take breaks for exercise throughout the day. It’s not unusual for me to walk over to the printers and find someone doing push-ups in the middle of the hallway. We also have a culture of taking group walk breaks. If someone feels like they need a break, they’ll post on Slack and get a group to go on a quick walk.

Center Stage Stairs

Two out of our three offices have stairs that everyone has to take throughout the day. In Durham, everyone starts the day climbing the stairs to our second floor office. At headquarters, we have a two-floor office with a center staircase. This has been life changing! We’re constantly up and down the stairs throughout the day because our desks sit on the fourth floor while the kitchen and meeting rooms are on the 5th floor. Integrating this small amount of activity is an awesome way to break up the time spent sitting at desks.

Group Meals

Did you know that eating alone can have both negative physical and psychological effects? At Viget we make an effort to take a break and enjoy eating with our colleagues. At our headquarters during lunch time, you can find a big group of us gathered around our eating tables chatting and enjoying lunch. Group lunch is a time for us to de-stress and re-focus. When you eat with others, you naturally eat more slowly and enjoy the eating experience more so you come away feeling more satisfied.

Kitchen Tools

On average, eating out can increase your calorie consumption by about 200 calories per meal. It also ups your intake of sugar and saturated fats -- things that in excess over time can lead to diabetes and heart disease. Bringing your lunch to work is a better alternative. This past holiday season we encouraged our staff to do just that by providing everyone with lunch boxes and reusable containers (double points for being both healthy and environmentally friendly?). We also stock our kitchen with tools to make your lunch at work -- from cutting boards and knives to a spice cabinet and multiple microwaves, we have lunch covered!

Healthy Snacks

It’s probably best to do as the French do and refrain from snacking between meals; but, we all have days where we just need a snack. In the last few years we’ve made the shift to more healthy snack options like fresh fruit, cheese sticks, and nuts. We do stock soda; but, I’m happy to report that our soda consumption is steadily waning as more and more folks switch to seltzer and just plain ol’ water.

Creating a healthy environment at the office doesn’t have to be hard or expensive. Most of our initiatives have evolved naturally (like group meals and Vigegym) and some are fairly low cost (like providing fresh fruit). The key is to pick a few to try and see what sticks. Ultimately, people tend to want to be healthier and they’ll jump at the opportunity to make their days a little different and a little more health-centered.


Introducing POLITICO’s 2016 Election Coverage

Politics has a lot in common with sports. Highly skilled professionals duke it out in regular electoral contests. Political parties command an irrational amount of team loyalty. The complexity of the rules and the volatility of the human element create huge demand for prediction, commentary, and analysis. Even President Obama recently compared politics to football.

But as many political news junkies (myself included) will tell you, no sport can match the high-stakes drama of an American presidential election. As Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, “The difference between winning the Super Bowl and winning the White House is the difference between a goldfish and a vault full of gold bars.”

Naturally, then, when POLITICO approached us with a sports-based concept for enhancing their 2016 election coverage, we were all in. The basic design challenge: to better leverage the massive traffic spikes on POLITICO.com during political “stadium moments” like debates, primaries, party conventions, and election night by showing the right type and volume of content at the right moment of the narrative arc – think pre-game, gametime, and post-game coverage.


Boulder, Meet the Busy Board

The Viget Boulder office is nestled in the heart of downtown Boulder, a couple blocks off historical Pearl Street Mall and mere yards from the Boulder Transit Center. Every day a parade of locals pass by our office windows:

  • Nearby residents walking their dogs.

  • Professionals racing to catch their bus.

  • Friends from neighboring agencies and tech companies on their way to lunch.

  • A literal parade (the CU marching band setting up before a Pearl Street Stampede.)

  • Randos smoking and staring into our office like we’re an aquarium exhibit.

We get it all.


Meanwhile, for a couple years now we’ve had a large standing display screen in the office. It had originally served as a device to test our in-store display design for Dick’s Sporting Goods: Baseball. Here’s Sam giving the touch screen a go:

After the Dick’s Sporting Goods project wrapped, the display lived on for awhile as “The Gif Board,” boldly displaying animated gifs from the office Campfire room (in the dark ages before Slack) for the whole office to see. But eventually the novelty wore off and The Gif Board was retired.

Then the display sat in the corner, dark and dead. Doug hung his coat from it. It was a sad time.

But today I’m thrilled to announce that the display has found a new purpose: Busy Board!


Forever a Student: Fostering A Learning Mindset

Soon I’m embarking on a new adventure; I’ll be heading off to code school full time to learn software development.  

Transitions are a good time for introspection, so I’ve been wondering what it will be like to “go back to school.” Will I be able to get back into the mindset of a student and pick things up quickly? What makes a good student? And what makes a good teacher?


Announcing… Gifbowl!

We Vigets love games. We’re known to host game nights at the office, discuss our favorite board games over beer, and even bring games to our holiday gift swaps.

So, when our annual Pointless Weekend rolled around (in which we design, build, and launch an app or site in 48 hours), the Durham team jumped at the opportunity to build our own game that we’d play for years to come.