The Great Oven Bits Get Healthy Challenge of 2015™

Here at The Oven, we’ve been known to partake in our fair share of sweet treats and rich foods. From our “Donut Thursdays”, celebrating birthdays with Emporium Pies, or simply enjoying some good old fashioned Texas BBQ we don’t tend to hold back in the food department.

But as a company that’s working to constantly improve ourselves, we took the new year as an opportunity to re-evaluate the state of development on ourselves and our bodies.

The Why

A great deal of research has come out recently regarding our health. The dangers of sitting all day, the mental and physical benefits of walking, and the importance of quality fuel for optimal health and creative output have all sparked recent debate and discussion 1. We fully realize that we’re not the first company to set goals and make strides in this area, and we by no means have it all figured out. All we know is that we want to be healthier, and a great way to start is to start. So this year we’ve set a few things in motion to improve our health and our lives as a company.

Standing Desks

Though there are multiple opinions about how good standing desks are for you, it is common knowledge that standing – in moderation – is better for you than sitting all day. If sitting all day is bad, how do we fix it? Sit less!

To help battle the trend of being sedentary, we’ve purchased a number of standing desks. We also purchased adjustable monitor mounts and standing pads to help ensure proper posture and long term comfort.

Standing desks have been a win for us so far and there is always someone making the rotation from sitting to standing and vice-versa.

Fitbits

One of the obvious topics for being healthy is exercise. Yes, we all know that more exercise can lead to being generally healthier. What we didn’t know is that exercise, even simply walking more, can increase memory growth, problem solving capacity, and increase happiness. That’s a huge win! It gets us up and moving around, but also gets our brain juices flowing with valuable proteins. Plus, there have been numerous studies that link the value of walking to overall health.

To encourage this, we’ve decided to give everyone in the company an allowance toward the purchase of a fitness band of their choice. Overall we’re promoting that everyone get a Fitbit, that way we can all keep track of progress and give encouragement as a team. We’re also hoping to add some incentives along the way, but right now we’re just getting folks jazzed up about walking and moving around.

You can see a little screenshot of our February progress here: Team Oven Bits

More of What’s Good For You, Less of What’s Not

Another way that we’ve been promoting healthier decisions is by providing more opportunities for healthy snacking. This means adding more fruit, nuts, and granolas alongside the cookies, cakes, and sweets. So far the reception has been great, and to our surprise, healthier foods have needed quicker restocking than sugary foods.

So how did we start the topic of conversation about nutrition? We had a little blender experiment.

  • In one blender: Almond milk, spinach, and fresh fruit.
  • In another blender: A chicken sandwich meal (complete with fries and a coke).

It was no surprise which smoothie was the most popular, and we all learned a great lesson about what we’re consuming every day.

Our Blending Experiment

We’re Open to Feedback

At Oven Bits, our main goal is to build a sustainable software company where people love to work. There are many ways that this goal will be accomplished. Will it be through pixels, code, and creating incredible experiences? Absolutely. Will it also be through promoting health and empowering ourselves to be the best we can be? You betcha.

We’re not the first team of good looking folks to attempt this same type of change. If you have any suggestions, encouragements, or gotchas - drop us a line.


  1. If you’re looking to get some great info on the subject matter, you can check out The Healthy Programmer and watch the author’s talk from Big Ruby Conf