Introducing The Office Olympics

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While the Olympics are upon us, we haven't really risen to the magnificence of the occasion. Cheering is one thing, but to actually imbibe the 'sporting spirit' in your work life is more of a tribute.


'Higher, faster, further' - usually this clarion call is something associated with business targets. But once every four years, these inspiring words have the opportunity to stand for something else. With the Olympic spectacle upon us, we owe it to the dormant sportsperson trapped within our bodies, to look at everyday working life a touch differently.

Presenting the first office Olympics!

Before you start scampering off to gymnasiums or join a fitness course that might threaten your life expectancy, let me assure you that these have been conceived keeping corporate India’s slovenly physical demeanor in mind.

So if your stomach has horizontal aspirations, a finance meeting is more desirable than running up the stairs, and warming up means getting yourself a cup of tea, these are just the games for you. What's more you can participate in the air conditioned comfort of your office environment.

To understand this new concept better, let's look at a few events typical of these games.

The Ceremonial Torch
Classically run in a relay format, the modified manner in which this has been deviously conceived is in keeping the running out and the relay part of it intact. 'Passing the buck,' not quite an Olympic sport yet, but a finely honed skill in most organizations, comes to the fore here. It all starts with an important mail that, after typically being unattended to, goes through a series of 'forward thinking' operations, as each employee manfully (and yes, womanfully as well) strives to get it off their plate. In the end the issue catches 'fire,' symbolizing the start of the games

This is the best event to get you going. It involves the most basic organizational competence - 'horsing around.' Winning simply requires show jumping over every assignment (read as in obstacle) that drops in your inbox; one might also get extra points for fox trotting merrily along the way.

Discuss (and) Throw
This is clearly a strength and endurance event. After surviving yet another pointless meeting, vent some well earned frustration by crumpling the agenda, and if adventurous enough, all the other pieces of paper on the table into a graspable lump. Then take turns going, to determine who can hurl it furthest from the office. An entertaining side angle is to make it the job of a new trainee to retrieve the lump. The event becomes even more enjoyable if your office is on the 23rd floor, and the elevators are not working that day. It's nice that at least one employee (though still unconfirmed), breaks into a sweat during these Olympic times.

The Men's Corridor Dash
To decide once and for all, the bragging rights for the 'fastest' man in the office. Organized with some help from the HR department, a rather comely specimen of the opposite gender is called in with regard to a vacancy-The intermediate prize of grilling her, goes to the first male who can make it to the conference room, where she is sitting. While most races at the Olympics are conducted in exemplary sportsman spirit, don’t expect the same in this highly competitive, testosterone driven, hostile environment. A further addendum to 'fastest' could culminate in the crowning of that champion, who can progress further socially with the applicant. Women, the infinitely wiser of the species, seldom fall prey to this initiative, and so you have one less medal to worry about.

Synchronized Screaming
This is literally a high decibel event, especially useful to rile higher management, typically after unfavorable appraisals. Working in pairs, choose moments of dead silence in the office, and then rip the environment like banshees. Let no one ever say again, your work never gave you anything to shout about.

Trouble Shooter
With India finding long lost glory in this discipline, it is only fair that we take this forward in our offices in true patriotic fashion. Carry any kind of projectile launching device and pick your targets with relish. It is wisely said that nothing quite causes as much excitement in the day, as a colleague, deeply immersed in work, being pelted rather painfully on the back of the head with an inconsiderate marble. To be fair, all kinds of uncomfortable situations have arisen in Indian mythology, because someone shot the wrong person. So if things get sticky, you can always claim calmly that there is perhaps history in the making

Gymnastic Gambits
One has always been awestruck with the flexible dexterity of Olympic gymnasts. Two events in particular can be made part of the corporate curriculum - The balance beam and the pommel horse, obviously, as you have shrewdly guessed by now, with suitable modifications.

For the balance beam renditions, use the conference room table. Pretend (and some might not have to) that it is as difficult to stand on, and do a leisurely round of stretching exercises. The actual beam is frightfully thin, but those cavalier souls have been practicing all their lives, where as you, doubtless have had more pressing issues at hand. Whenever the boss enters, jump off the table and sign off to an imaginary audience.

The pommel horse is likely to be even more of a hit. In fact the corporate version is spelt a touch differently. The 'pummel' horse discipline is about identifying that person in office who most people would like to leave a lasting impression on, and then simply giving in to their darker sides. Needless to say this is a tad rough if you are the 'chosen' one.

The more maliciously wiser ones amongst you are sure to jump on this triumphantly, claiming a serious spelling error. But like India's bronze in this, it is a name that this new version of the sport has well earned. Two participants, especially those who have voluminous amounts of paper on their table, line up. They then use their hands to rustle up a storm of noise. Needless to say the chap who can rustle up more decibels is the winner.

It would be unfair again to end without a tribute to the last of our medalists. Contestants take a regulation cargo box and go around the office, trying to cram it with as much stuff as is possible. Stationery and not so stationery objects, files, computers and even people are game prey. The winner is the person who manages to stuff his boss inside, and then is able to exhort him to for once 'think outside the box.' Both the cramming and the espousal of this statement are necessary conditions for the champion to emerge.

In conclusion, while the Olympics are upon us, we haven't really risen to the magnificence of the occasion. Cheering is one thing, but to actually imbibe the 'sporting spirit' in your work life is more of a tribute. It's been said for too long that athletes get all the glory and attention. Maybe its time we all did something about that.

Patron Saint-Juhu Beach United
Author, Creative Thinking Trainer, Brand Ideation Consultant,