by Katre Trei

Nortal Walking challenge: 5 motivators to help you get those steps in!

A story of how we got our employees to walk!

Since the beginning of spring, we have been challenged in more ways than we can count – managing work, spending time with friends and family, exercising, and balancing it all. Sometimes though, beauty lies in simplicity.

As the summer vacations started to approach, we discussed the best ways to keep our employees engaged with their colleagues and motivate them to stay active and healthy. We decided to go old school and organize a Walking Challenge throughout July and August. For the extra sporty ones, we started an Activity Challenge combining the average of various parameters related to physical activity.

We were amazed to see how seamlessly people reached more than 1 million steps while motivating each other. By the end of summer, we had spent 56,662 Big Mac’s worth of calories and circled around the Earth together 3.02 times (158,616,000 steps combined). This was all thanks to the efforts of 32 teams in 8 countries who participated.

Here are the 5 top motivators that helped our people to get those steps in:

1. Walking my pet aka “I did it for the dog”

Doing the morning and evening walks with a furry best friend is probably the easiest way to succeed in a walking challenge. Helen Kokk (the 3rd place in our Walking Challenge and the best female participant) says that dogs are the best companions for walking and great motivators.

Oleg Shvaikovsky (the winner of our Activity Challenge and runner-up in the Walking Challenge) promised that he would help his dog lose the extra weight it gained. His goal was to walk at least 10-15 km per day. Oleg reached 1,599,845 steps in two months, and his Labrador has lost 4kg ­– so far, so good 😉

Oleg and his Labrador (Tallinn, Estonia)


Team 2Havannas members Pasi Anttila and Otso, Mika Kirveennummi and Nasu (Walking Challenge team winners) (Turku, Finland)


Helen Kokk with a special kind of furry friend out for a walk (New Zealand)


2. Surround yourself with a great team

Sometimes when the couch just feels so comfortable, all you need is someone to push you! A great team can really go a long way here.

Kristen Kotkas, Martin Külvik and Leiger Virro (from the EUIF Fighters team, the Walking Challenge runner-up team) praised their fantastic support. The challenge became a massive event among their group of approximately 40 people supporting each other. During the two months, they shared impressions and pictures from nature tracks, animals and sunsets; they shared music and training routes; and played disc golf and geocaching. The team inspired each other to walk, and the longest hike ended up being 56 km (64,000 steps).

Bus stop compilation during the 56 km hike (Tartumaa, Estonia)

Igor Manic (the winner of our Walking Challenge) reached 1,680,312 steps in two months. He said that his greatest motivators were the sunny weather and the support from his team. “Oleg was also properly leveling up this challenge!”

Team Sobriety Testing members Maja Duvnjak, Nevena Velickovic, Ivana Pejovic, Igor Manic (Belgrade, Serbia)
Jaanus Loitmaa with his celebrity team (Estonia)

3. The challenge made me do it!

“My daily challenge is to reach a minimum of 8,000 steps; the Nortal challenge really raised the bar high,” says Helen. “I started to divide the day into sections to be able to reach all the steps.”

Helen Kokk (Norway)

Jaanus Loitmaa (runner-up in the Nortal Activity Challenge) was preparing for the Ironman challenge, which gave him the extra motivation to be active. “I gave up driving and walked everywhere instead. My main physical activities came from cycling, running and swimming.”

Jaanus Loitmaa (Estonia)

4. Staying healthy

Despite ergonomic workspaces in Nortal, we still spend a considerable amount of time sitting down in front of our computers. Walking is a simple way of breaking the habit and getting some exercise in. And if you are adventurous, Helen recommends skiing, snowboarding, hiking, snorkeling, horseback riding, and well, yoga: “Daily yoga is a must. I love the feeling of cracking my muscles and bones after a long day of sitting.”

Helen Kokk (Uganda)

5. Using your time wisely

Oleg lived in the U.S. and worked in different time zones. It taught him how to make the most of his time. “While living in the U.S., I started my workday often around 6 AM. I had work calls until 9:30 with Finland and Estonia whilst walking around, and by the time I reached the office, I was already up to 15,000 steps.” Now living in Estonia, he uses the time for walking for catching up with podcasts, audiobooks, and friends and family.

Oleg Shvaikovsky (Estonia)

We hope we have inspired you to walk.

To finish, here’s a fun video of Grace Abild. Grace lost to Josh Buchacher by 10,587 steps, placing 2nd place overall at Nortal U.S. To motivate each other, they had wagered a bet that the loser must wear a lobster suit. “The Nortal Walking Challenge bet made me do it!”



Katre Trei

Event Manager at Nortal

Katre Trei is Nortals (Virtual) Events Manager. Katre supports all of Nortal with developing ideas and the full execution of activities. With her bubbly energy and drive to make her colleagues and business partners smile, Katre primarily focuses on executing outstanding company events in Estonia. Currently, most of her attention is on keeping remote employees happy and engaged via virtual activities and events.

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I joined Nortal, a company that perfectly aligned with my values and offered a program called 'Nortal Nomad,' enabling me to grab my suitcase and code globally.

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