It isn’t easy maintaining a healthy lifestyle in today’s fast-paced world. Many people say they don’t have the time to exercise and that it takes too much effort to eat right. Yet there are a growing number of nine-to-fivers who are finding the time and energy to do just that. They’re the people who wake up early to pack well balanced meals for work, or spend an hour or two running in the park at the end of the day. What sets these people apart?
Perhaps it’s the same thing that motivates a company to really invest in Human Resources. People take care of their bodies because they want to feel good and lead healthy, active lives. Similarly, HR focuses on keeping an organization healthy by strengthening a very vital resource—its people. Health buffs make sure their diets are good and that they get enough exercise. HR makes sure the right people are hired, that they are well prepared for their work, and that they have the support they need to flourish.
Fit for Business
Gelo is an HR manager at Accenture, a global management consulting, technology, and outsourcing company, and he is as passionate about HR as he is about his own health and fitness. “Accenture seeks to deliver high performance for its clients and leverages on the skills and expertise of its people,” he explains. “It’s our people who deliver the technology and innovation that helps companies become high performance businesses. And HR is at the forefront of making sure that happens,” he says.
Gelo believes that when it comes to HR and health, it all boils down to commitment. “I’ve always had this philosophy that if I can manage my own personal situations, then I should have the ability to manage professional situations. If I could lose 80 pounds in six months, then I should be able to do what it takes to successfully handle my HR projects and programs. I make sure to carefully plan the steps towards my work goals, manage activities on a daily or weekly basis, and manage factors that can slow down execution.”
His work involves providing talent and performance management solutions that improve the way employees work and live. “This is how HR makes a huge contribution to the success of the business. And because we’re a global organization, we think of solutions that can be applied, not just to our operations here in the Philippines, but also on a global scale. That makes the job interesting for me,” he adds.
Gelo attributes his own career success to Accenture’s dedication to employee development. “We really take care of our own people; we develop them,” he says. “That’s the reason why I’m manager now and that’s the reason I’m helping other people in my team develop their careers here.”
Fit for Life
Gelo used to weigh 250 pounds. “I struggled with my weight growing up, until I was 21,” he admits. He finally shed 80 pounds in six months in 2000, thanks to the same single-minded dedication he brings to his work. “I’ve managed to keep off the weight, but it has required complete commitment. I had to change my lifestyle, eat healthy and live healthy. I have a meal plan that specifies the type of food I need to eat in the week (this includes a lot of vegetables). I really stick to it and don’t give in to temptations. I also make sure to work out with my personal trainer at least three times a week. The challenging part is finding the time to meet my trainer. As an alternative, I am thinking of doing Bikram Yoga in the morning to supplement my gym activities.”
Eating healthy can be a challenge in many corporate settings. The hectic pace of the work day can make a quick fast food lunch extra appealing. There is also the daily temptation to reach for a conveniencestore snack when your energy level starts to dip. But these eating pitfalls don’t faze Gelo. “I don’t believe in cheat days in my diet. I have been living healthy for the last 10 years. To me, it is a way of life. It’s really about self-discipline and self-control. I’m really committed to maintaining my weight now.”
Gelo says he’s lucky that Accenture promotes a healthy lifestyle among employees. The company offers its people extensive health coverage and an annual medical allowance. “Accenture has always valued employees’ health and well-being. There are gyms in some Accenture sites and we have tie-ins with fitness establishments, which give our employees membership discounts. We also have a lot of sports clubs, like basketball, volleyball, football, and badminton. I think there is a real effort to make healthy activities part of work/life balance,” he says. “At the end of the day, being healthy is a personal choice, but it helps when your employer does a lot to support the choice you’ve made.”