Sweat, plus networking. That equals ‘sweatworking’. There, we’ve gotten that out of the way in fairly short order, so that you don’t need to try and figure out what combination of words led to the term. And with that off the checklist, we can dig into what exactly ‘sweatworking’ is, why it’s important, and how you can use it to improve your life.
To, again, cut to the chase, sweatworking is essentially the act of networking while working out. That means that you’re making contacts, friends, and discussing your career while at the gym, fitness center, or doing yoga. Networking, of course, is one of the most important things you can do as a hungry professional to get your name out there, meet important people, and look for prospective advances.
And, as it turns out, combining that with a workout is turning into a successful outing, at least for people who are giving sweatworking a shot. It’s even being called “the new lunch meeting” by some, and is being compared to business meetings being conducted on the golf course, at barre class, or even during a spin class. All of those activities, in a sense, are a form of sweatworking — nobody really just cared to call it that before.
But now, sweatworking is going mainstream. And there’s pretty good reason for it.
We’ve discussed the link between physical activity and increased brain power and overall output before. Science has pretty much established that the more exercise we get, the better we perform in our occupational roles. There can be a plethora of reasons for this, but the one thing that many businesses in the U.S. have yet to do is really find ways to use that link to their advantage.
But with sweatworking working its way into office culture — along with things like exercise rooms, gym memberships, and walking meetings, it’s clear that at least some executives are finding ways to incorporate exercise into their employees’ routines.
And this is a good thing for everyone — employers should see a return on their investments through higher productivity and output, and employees get the benefit of living healthier lives. And for those who are going out after the nine-to-five and adding some additional “sweatwork” to their routines, there may be even more to gain.
“You’re getting to know people on a more personal level. You’re sweating right next to them,” NC Yoga Bar owner Lindsay Cunningham told NBC News, during a recent segment about sweatworking. “It’s come as you are, have fun, and be yourself.”
The most important thing about ‘sweatworking’ with coworkers, or potential coworkers, is that it tends to break up the “stuffiness” of office culture, according to NBC News. When you’ve all seen each other in a state of vulnerability and physical exhaustion, you can see your coworkers in a new light.
Fast Company has also devoted some time to covering ‘sweatworking’. According to a recent article, several CEOs and entrepreneurs from the Bay Area to Toronto have used ‘sweatworking’ as a tool to brainstorm, meet new clients, and even recruit talent to their organizations.
“They can observe how a potential employee shows up, how they challenge themselves, and if they enjoy working hard while engaging in a physical activity,” said Kanesha Baynard, a Bay Area transition coach, who works as a matchmaker of sorts for people looking for jobs, and those who are hiring.
Clearly, sweatworkers are on to something. At the very least, those who engage in some form of sweatworking are getting some exercise. Add a ton of potential other benefits on to that — like engaging with coworkers, meeting clients or contacts, and giving your brain power and productivity a boost from the physical activity — and it seems clear that there is little, if any, downside to sweatworking.
Obviously, there are still going to be a number of holdouts. Some people are uncomfortable with physical activity — especially exercising in front of others. That presents a tremendous opportunity to refine leadership skills, and develop deeper relationships, as a lot of time these individuals just need some encouragement.
Sweatworking may be an unorthodox concept to many, but don’t be surprised if your boss wants to take you to yoga during your lunch break, instead of Red Robin. There’s a lot to gain.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger