Career networking often involves an invitation to break bread. It begins with a business person offering to take a perspective client out to wine and dine. Food provides the perfect backdrop for creating partnerships.
In between the cholesterol-laden appetizers at the beginning of the meal, and the dessert drenched in calories at the end of the meal, business deals are made and relationships are forged. Still the effectiveness of this professional routine can lose its luster after a while. It begins to feel like the same business dinner over and over again ad nauseam.
But what if there was a healthier, more interesting way to get business networking done. That’s the idea behind “sweatworking,” a term we first heard used back in 2011 in an article published by, The New York Times. (Sweating + networking = Sweatworking.) Courtney Rubin, journalist and author of “The Weight-Loss Diaries,” explains,
Attribute it to shrinking expense budgets...or expanding waistlines, but combining networking and working out (call it “sweatworking”) is a hit among health-conscious professionals seeking a wholesome new way to bond with clients and colleagues.”
In the same way that we all need to eat, many in the business world are realizing the absolute necessity of maintaining a daily workout routine. The question then becomes how to incorporate that into their long busy day. Answer: Why not invite the clients to sweat it out alongside you?
In a recent article in, Chicago Business, writer Brigid Sweeney explains,
Executives trace the trend to a combination of restaurant fatigue and extreme multitasking tendencies, augmented by an increasing awareness that being parked at a desk all day constitutes a major health hazard.”
Levels of exercise can vary from something as light as a office yoga to a much more vigorous spinning session, depending on the client’s preference and physical condition.
In that sense, sweatworking does come with a few new conundrums in regards to proper procedure and etiquette. An article for, CBS Miami, addresses this concern by suggesting,
If you do decide to invite someone sweatworking, experts suggest you tell them what to expect: describe what the class is like, what to wear, and what to bring, like a towel and water.”
While this trend is gaining traction among the younger executive crowd, it seems to be working well for a few reasons. For one, no cellphones make it easier to connect even while feeling the burn. There is also the camaraderie that comes with experiencing something difficult together. If both people are struggling to breath during a spin class, they are likely to come out of the gym feeling like they survived something together. In other words, vulnerability breeds bonding, which inevitably leads to better business deals.
Exercize + Networking = Sweatworking via Chicagobusiness.com
Office Yoga - De-Stress at Your Desk via Yoga Journal
Sweatworking the New Way of Networking via CBS Miami
For Real Sweat Equity via the New York Times