Trail talk – the best ideas usually start with dirt: An interview with our Chief Technology Officer, Tom Peck. 


7 minutes read time

July 02, 2019

Regular exercise isn’t just good for your health, it could benefit your company as well!

In order for a business to thrive, we need our employees to thrive and it all starts with health and wellbeing. In recent years a health and wellbeing workplace culture has become a core focus for organizations in an attempt to increase productivity levels. 

Like most SaaS companies, there are multiple problems to solve on a day to day basis, which becomes relatively difficult if you’re sitting at a desk, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This is why our Chief Technology Officer, Tom Peck, is an advocate of creating a work culture that promotes health and wellbeing. Read the interview to see how regular exercise could benefit you individually, and your company.

Would your company benefit from health and wellbeing programs within the workplace? 

I sat down with Tom to discuss how he manages stress, thinks up ideas, and solves problems all with a little help of daily exercise. 

You’re running 60 – 70 kilometers each week, do you think the distance you run makes a difference?

To be honest, it is completely dependent on the amount of time I have during the day, but generally, the more I run the more time I have to think. I can create more ideas and solve more problems the longer I run. 

Would you say that running has a positive impact on your life?

Most definitely. It’s only been 3 years since I really started to become consistently active and I have nothing but benefited from it. I think more clearly, I am less stressed and most importantly I can eat what I like (laughs). 

Would you now say that running has become a necessity in your life? 

A lot of my time is spent sitting down during the day because it involves being in front of a computer or in a meeting room. This is why I need to get outside to do some form of exercise, otherwise, I’ll go crazy. Therefore, I do think it’s a necessity because I wouldn’t be able to do my job as well as I can without exercise. It is important to me to continually grow professionally but also make sure I have a healthy lifestyle so I can keep up with my three young kids! 

Do you actively think about ideas or do they just pop into your head when you run?

Well because I am running in part to create these ideas and solve problems the answer would be yes I do actively think about ideas. However, there are times where I would purely run for leisure, to clear my head rather than think about work. Both scenarios benefit work because if I am not thinking about work on my run, I have a clear head to carry on the day. It’s not always perfect, however, at times I forget what the great ideas were if they come early in a run so you have to come up with ways of remembering them – turning them into a mantra can help!

Is the problem solving and idea creation better when you run with Andrew (Chief Security Officer) or by yourself?

When we have a problem that relates to both of us it is definitely better to run together and share our thoughts. We are constantly bouncing ideas off each other, even if they don’t end up sticking, it’s a great way to work through complicated technical problems. 

Have you always used running to solve a problem?

Running is sometimes just a way of switching off and putting off problems. Some days I’ll run at a leisurely pace to think about the issues we currently have and other days I’ll be more focused on the running, making sure I don’t twist an ankle and building up my endurance for an up and coming race. I haven’t always used running, as it has only really been 2-3 years since I started running consistently. Now that I do use running to help solve problems, I’ll never look back.

Do you find other forms of exercise helpful or is it just running that gives you the best ideas?

Just running really. I do also have a bike that I use to get to and from work but that is to get from A to B rather than ideas and problem-solving. Obviously, I have to be more alert when I am on the road so realistically it isn’t the best time to be in a daydream. 

Do you notice a difference with your mood or stress levels when you haven’t been for a run in a while?

Yes absolutely. As I mentioned before when I go for a run to just run, I am able to think more clearly when I am at work, which is a good way to relieve stress. I feel less grounded if I haven’t gone on a run. Having three young kids at home can also be stressful, therefore running is a good way to take the edge off.

What immediate benefits do you get from running regularly:

  1. I have a lot more energy.
  2. Eat what I like.
  3. Feel more focused because of the way you feel after a run. 
  4. The more you do it, the more addicted you get. It has now become an outside of work hobby of mine. As addictions go, it’s one of the better ones!

What benefits do you think the company gets from you promoting a healthier work culture? 

It encourages other team members to get on board. We currently have most of the development team joining in on the lunchtime runs and a number of employees join in on the out of work activities like when we completed the mud run over the past 3 years. It is really good for team bonding as a team we’re definitely showing signs of improvement as our productivity has increased from last year (since introducing a health and wellbeing workplace culture). We still have a bit of work to do with the other teams at WhosOnLocation to get them into the hills at lunchtime (laughs), but it shows that it can help within the company so its something I’ll remain persisted on! 

Do you think age is a factor when it comes to staying fit and healthy?

No, I don’t. As I got older the fitter and faster I’ve become and the more important it is. But it’s not really about speed, it’s about getting out there to give you time to reset and think more clearly. Running also shows that the more time and effort you put into something the better it becomes. It has taken me four years of progression to reach number 1 in the mud run (Wellington Tough Guy & Gal Challenge) (16th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st). This is exactly how we work at WhosOnLocation – iterative processes of incremental improvements. 

The thing I love about running is the simplicity of it. All you need is a good pair of shoes and some local trails to run around. We are very fortunate to be based in Wellington, New Zealand and be surrounded by amazing hills and greenery. The next race I have planned showcases a number of these – the WUU2K (Wellington Urban Ultra) which Andrew and myself are both competing in. 

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