Monday, June 9, 2008

Office-Gym Etiquette: Burn Calories, Not Bridges

“Sure, a fitness center seems like a great perk for employees. Work gyms are convenient and cheap, if not free. Of course, they're also inherently awkward. ‘It's a little more stressful sweating profusely around people that you are in a professional atmosphere with,’ says Justin Lucas, 25, a Washington resident who works for a human resources consulting firm. ‘Or vice versa: seeing somebody really, really talented sweat all over the place.’ Close proximity makes interaction unavoidable, but Lucas says that he and his boss, who also uses the gym, keep their fitness exchanges brief. ‘I already saw you for eight hours today,’ Lucas says. ‘That's my professional life. Now I'm just going to work out and be myself.’ Those who exercise at work say that they and their co-workers for the most part are respectful of this boundary. They recognize that lifting weights is about building muscle, not business. But even if you're not talking shop, your colleagues see you -- and they may be judging. So, some self-awareness is necessary at an office facility, where adherence to basic gym etiquette isn't just courteous, it's imperative.‘The same rules apply in the office gym, and the consequences could be even worse if you act like a boor in the office gym because it could seep into office politics,’ says Caroline Tiger, author of ‘How to Behave: A Guide to Modern Manners for the Socially Challenged’ (Quirk Books, 2003).”

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