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Hidden Benefits to Inefficient Parking

An epic challenge began 15 weeks ago. It set the brave on a vast journey to push themselves to their limits. It demanded time, sacrifice, sweat, and endurance. At times it was taxing and grueling. But more was at stake than a simple challenge; eternal bragging rights held in the balance.

The 2014 Wellness Challenge, you say? Of course that started 15 weeks ago, but the ordeal I’m describing is one of the many user challenges created as part of that Wellness Challenge.

This test of human spirit and ingenuity is called the Parking Challenge. The rules are very simple: park the furthest away from the office on Wellness Wednesdays. No bikes. No public transit. Just a long, slow walk all the way into the office and all the way back at the end of the day.

The challenge proved not to be for the faint of heart. Talented illustrator and soon-to-be father, Bill, issued the challenge to the entire St. Louis office. Situated in the picturesque planned community of New Town, the nearby streets of the St. Louis office boast many interesting opportunities for those willing to exchange a few minutes of their time for some extra steps.

Escalation became the dominant theme of the challenge. In the early weeks, a clever park at the nearby volleyball court could be good enough to snag victory. But as competition got wise, more extreme measures had to be taken: another 200 steps back to the Wedding Chapel or further back to the start of the canal. Nothing stung quite like the walk back after work on a hot, humid day only to realize the competition had parked just a car length or two further down the same street.

Eventually, there was not enough mileage in this direction: routes from the office had to be pursued: across the lake, out toward the community swimming pool, and eventually the lone basketball courts hanging out on the edge of town.

The contest was intense. Exhausting. And surprising each week. But in the end, there was only one victor still left standing (or parked in this case).

On September 8, 2014, the final week of the Wellness Challenge, I sent my Email of Defeat (EOD) to the challenge’s master architect and Banyan’s newest father.  Congratulations Bill on becoming the first ever Parking Challenge Champion. A truer opponent in ridiculously inefficient parking has never been known.

Teleworking is a Beautiful Thing

Who doesn’t love a little flexibility with how – and where – they get their work done?

This is the fifth annual Georgia Telework Week, which supports a concept Banyan has long embraced. Our ATL and STL teams both enjoy work-from-home Fridays and the option of teleworking during the week as needed.

Teleworking in Midtown

Teleworking in Midtown with my assistant

I find it’s a great combination for making the most of out my workday: I really enjoy brainstorming and collaborating with fellow Banyanites in our Atlanta office, but I also benefit from a quiet space to focus on independent tasks (and I’m not going to lie: it’s kind of awesome to work in PJs with a cat on my lap).

With members of both teams who routinely tackle hour-long commutes, the benefits to saving money on gas, reducing emissions, and spending less time behind the wheel and more time at home speak for themselves.

But it’s not just a hunch: a recent Stanford study on the benefits of a telework program found employees worked longer hours, were more productive, and suffered fewer sick days.

It’s been a good thing for Banyan (and our four-legged employees too).

Banyan's many shades of telework

Banyan’s many shades of telework

If you’re interested in starting a program of your own – or bolstering what you may already have in place – Georgia Commute Options can help. They provide free services and programs to more than 1,600 employers and 100,000 metro Atlanta commuters.

Actually, make that 1,601.*

Georgia Commute Options Says "Thank You!"





*Proud supporter of the 2014 Georgia Telework Week.


Capturing the Magic of Disney

Coffee, donuts + a great read

Coffee, donuts + a great read

At our second Banyan book club meeting, eight Banyanites spent a little time over breakfast discussing the book How to Be Like Walt Disney: Capturing the Disney Magic Every Day of Your Life by Pat Williams. This inspiring book walks through 17 steps to living a life more like Walt: one filled with optimism, creativity, success, and personal and professional growth and gratification.

Quitters Never Win

All personally and professionally successful people understand that “quitters never win,” but Walt surely invented the phrase. He had a never-give-up attitude no matter how many obstacles were thrown in his way, or how many failures he had to overcome. Our group talked about everything from the balance between business and creativity and how to improve every guest (or client) experience, to learning from failures and the power of perseverance.

The balance between business and creativity can be challenging, but Walt was truly a visionary who never stopped dreaming. For him, it was never about how much money he could make on any one cartoon, movie or theme park. His one steadfast goal: to make enough money on his last project to fund the next one. His vision for the Disney experience – and the magic he wanted to create through it – was always laser-focused. By keeping his eye on the quality of the work, striving to always exceed his guests’ expectations, and having faith in his brother Roy’s business savvy, Walt consistently exceeded his goal 1,000 times over.

Our Favorite Lessons

Of the many shared, two stood out among our book club:

  1. A little confidence and encouragement can go a long way. The book describes several situations where Walt was able to encourage his employees to achieve successes they never even considered merely by letting them know he believed in them.
  2. The glass is always half full. It’s easy to let the ugliness of the world get you down, but the truth is that Walt’s real world wasn’t all that much better than the one we live in. The difference was his unfailing optimism. It is absolutely contagious, even now.

It was a great way to kick off a workday. We all walked away with smiles on our faces wondering how great this world would be if we all could be just a little more like Walt.

What’s Next

The next Banyan Book Club read is The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg. Stay tuned for our review!


More Matters!

Did you know? September is More Matters Month – as in, more fruits and veggies on your plate!

As part of our healthy Change for Good wellness challenge, everyone at Banyan is trying to be a bit better about eating healthy and moving more. It’s easier said than done some days, which is where resources like those offered at More Matters really come in handy.

Whether you want to add just one more serving of fruits and vegetables to your lunch or dinner plate, learn how best to store them, or try new seasonal recipes, the site has you covered.

Go forth and eat well. We’ll be trying to do the same!



Behind-the-Scenes|Systems Dynamic Modeling

Take a look behind-the-scenes of our latest film shoot. Shot in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago, our interview with Chris Soderquist was all about introducing people to Systems Dynamic Modeling (a visual way to understand and gain leverage over complex systems to make better decisions).

Not a bad way to spend the day!



Pausing in between takes.

Pausing in between takes.

How's the shot?

How’s the shot?

Bird's eye view of the teleprompter.

Bird’s eye view of the teleprompter.

That's a wrap!

That’s a wrap!