Good health and a good life go hand in hand, and ArcelorMittal strives to endow employees with the support they need to maintain a balanced life, both physically and mentally. The company drove the point home by observing Health Week from September 30 through October 4. In locations across the country, ArcelorMittal employees took breaks from their posts and refocused their energy through either a physical activity or health screening. At Global Research & Development (R&D) in East Chicago, the team enjoyed a full roster of activities.
Friendly competition heated up across the R&D campus as employees played basketball, table tennis, horseshoes, volleyball, and more during Health Week. Though an added air of festivity coursed through the whole occasion, the R&D crew actually enjoy health-minded activities year-round. Many take their lunch hour to jog or walk the path encircling the campus, and a large group plays fierce volleyball matches every day that the weather allows.
The culture at Global R&D is very mindful of work-life balance. Employees are encouraged to get up and be active as often as they can.
Global R&D is one of two ArcelorMittal research centers in North America. The East Chicago center employs around 200 people. Composed of research technicians and engineers, the group spends a lot of time developing solutions for a better steel product and working closely with customers to forecast those solutions. While the different departments work in the same vicinity, they rarely interact during the workday. Yet, all that shifts when it’s time to hit the volleyball court.
Dana Junglas, a research technician who has been with the company for nine years, spearheaded the special events for Health Week. Though volleyball has been a trend for years, Junglas is largely responsible for a lot of the fun health activities that employees team up on throughout the year, such as group stretching and push-ups, FitBit and Weight Watchers challenges, and more.
“I did some research and I saw a lot of other big companies encouraging employees to do stretches together, so I approached my management team with the idea to do this. They’ve been very supportive of it,” Junglas said.
Junglas majored in athletic training in college, claiming minors in biology and chemistry. Always a fan of sports and weight-lifting, he went on to earn certifications in personal training, fitness and nutrition, and sports conditioning. He enjoys using his expertise to show coworkers how to properly stretch and use their bodies.
“I’m not one to normally do this stuff, I’m usually kind of quiet and laid back,” he admitted. “But there’s something about this kind of teamwork in sports that brings people together. You get to see people outside of the work setting, get to know their personalities a little more. We work with people from all over the world here.”
Junglas said a few employees from Asia are world-class table tennis players, top-ranked in both their home countries and worldwide. Naturally, this makes for even more friendly competition during ping pong, Global R&D’s second most popular activity next to volleyball. Like Junglas said, the camaraderie blending with competition makes the challenges extra enjoyable.
“It’s very rewarding to watch people partake [in the challenges] and have fun together,” he said. “You’ll hear them talking amongst each other in the hallways like, ‘How’d you do? Here’s how I did!’”
And the Health Week activities grow every year. Junglas noted how 80 employees signed up for activities this year compared to last year’s 60.
“This is my first R&D Olympics, as we like to call it,” said Stephanie Brandner, a research technician who is approaching her one-year anniversary with ArcelorMittal. “Everyone hyped it up all year, and I have to say I’m loving it.”
Though Brandner was especially excited to have won the day’s basketball challenge, she said Health Week had a lot of benefits.
“[Health Week] gives you a chance to talk to people you wouldn’t normally talk to,” she said. “I’ve been spending time with engineers I don’t usually see.”
Brandner would go on to excel in horseshoes that day, as well. But everyone looked forward to the quintessential volleyball game. Mike Spencer, who joined the Global R&D team three years ago, helped Junkins organize this year’s Health Week lineup.
“I’m a sports fanatic,” he laughed. “Our volleyball games are a good midday break, a good way to boost camaraderie and meet different people in different departments.”
Activities also featured a 5K run, a relay, and a paper airplane competition—an especially fun challenge for engineers and one that Junglas looked forward to.
“It’s refreshing to work for a company that cares about its employees as much as the product,” Junglas said. “I can’t think of anywhere else I’d want to work. It’s a dream job for me.”
For more information about ArcelorMittal Global R&D, visit their website.