Stairway to heaven-sent fitness

It’s the first thing spotted by the maiden visitor to our Oxygen House HQ: a multi-story building, but no lifts. Instead, apparently just an airy, modern, elegant staircase.

Of course, this isn’t the half of it. Short of installing a stairlift or an anti-gravity device (we’re innovative, but there are limits) we couldn’t possibly expect every one of our guests or colleagues to eschew the ease of an elevator in favour of a climb that might for some prove physically taxing. We’d never be so presumptuous. And we do have very nice lifts.

But not in immediate view. In fact, the building was deliberately designed to nudge visitors into taking the stairs, the elevators positioned discreetly, but not entirely invisibly, further away. With a flight of steps this enticingly ergonomic, the visitor’s immediate instinct is to obey the subliminal suggestion: to ‘climb me’.

This goes to the heart of a passion for fitness and health that informs much of how we roll at Oxygen House. For instance, all colleagues are encouraged to wherever possible opt for low-carbon means of getting to work whether that be walking, running or cycling – this promotes healthier, more environmentally-friendly commuting. More personally, I’ve many times sponsored smokers to quit, often by writing to their favourite charity to offer staged donations after they’ve given up for one, six and 12 months.

Subject to the obvious conditions, everyone’s encouraged to run marathons and complete outdoor events, the objective a leaner, fitter, healthier lifestyle for all. And whenever an invitation arrives to anything that involves improving physical activity, my instinct is to prompt people to respond with a resounding affirmative. Put simply, at Oxygen House it’s one of our mantras.


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