The origin of ThinkShout Planks

By Amy

If you walk into ThinkShout’s office around 2pm on any given day of the week, you’ll be confronted with the following:

Group Plank

Occasionally, dogs get into the mix…

Amy Greg and Ducky planking

This is what we affectionately refer to as PLANKS; a 100% optional activity aimed at helping us get up, move, stretch, and encourage general office health during those snoozy afternoon hours. The origin story of these afternoon planks is best shared by Amy, one of our front-end developers and the initiator of our afternoon planks. Here’s her take on this unique office tradition.

In Amy’s words:

I didn’t exercise at all in my 20’s. I spent much of my time partying with friends, playing video games, watching lots of movies and shows, and eating deep fried foods and sugary delectables – it was a good life! (Who am I kidding, I still do that on occasion.) Unfortunately, doing these things on a constant basis was starting to take its toll: my mood gradually darkened, extreme fatigue was setting in, my self-esteem tanked, etc. But, that wasn’t the worst of it! I felt my body breaking down. It was hard to walk, hard to breathe, and I kept throwing my back out from stupid, mundane, daily tasks.

So when my 30th birthday rolled around, I found myself thinking about the state of my body, how much time left on this earth that I may or may not have, and all the adventurous things I long to do with this time left. Nothin’ like a notable revolution around the sun to make a person think about their life choices and potential implications.That’s when I made the shift towards improved overall health and wellness.

Naturally, these goals were present in my mind while I was looking for a new workplace, a little over three years ago. It was clear to me, besides my strong desire to do meaningful work (like the work we at ThinkShout do for mission driven organizations), my workplace also needed to be one that cares deeply about the health and wellbeing of their employees.

Besides being a B-Corp, ThinkShout’s benefits are pretty darn tough to beat. Feel free to visit our job postings to see for yourself. In addition, our company offers options for alternating sitting and standing desks. Coworkers even bring their dogs into work occasionally, which is great pet therapy for all of us. This was definitely the place for me!

A year into working at ThinkShout, my back started complaining again. Anyone who’s ever googled “health risks of desk jobs” or some variation would know why, but I’ll spare you the search: non-movement is not good for our bodies. If this is a new concept to anyone reading, I highly encourage you to do your own research on this subject.

New Years Eve was swiftly approaching and I found myself talking with my colleague, Greg, about a resolution to get my body moving more at work. That’s when he mentioned a daily “plank” exercise ritual that he and his former coworkers would do together – every afternoon his team would do planks for a certain amount of time to get some blood flowing and break up the day with some movement. Needless to say, Greg and I made a pact to start planking every workday around 2pm.

Others at ThinkShout quickly began to notice what we were doing and asked if they could join. They also started pitching ideas like taking walks, running around the block, wall-sits, stretching and even foam rolling. I started a Slack channel called #walk-the-plank for the purpose of coordinating times to exercise and inviting others to join in (this is all optional, of course).

After two full years in existence, I’m proud to say that “planks” at ThinkShout have taken a life of its own. My colleagues will even take up the torch and lead sessions in my absence. Every day we’re grateful to have those few moments to move and care for our bodies. Some even confess that the results are equivalent to drinking a caffeinated beverage, which I’d imagine aids in our productivity levels. And, to my sweet relief, my aches and pains are a thing of the past!

So, if you ever find yourself in the ThinkShout office around 2pm, you might be around to witness these planks in action. Better yet, feel free to join in the fun – the more the merrier!