By asking workers to engage in 6 weeks of exercise, you may think that the RigRun offshore fitness challenge is purely for exercise enthusiasts and workout warriors.

But, from the feedback we receive each year, we know that this event is about so much more in terms of the benefits it brings to the mental health, morale, and productivity of everyone onboard.

Working offshore brings its advantages. However, it can also come with its own unique set of challenges; the uncertainty associated with weather and helicopter travel, long tours away from home, working in a highly hazardous environment for long shifts, and having to regularly undertake offshore survival courses and medicals, to name just a few.

It’s vital that offshore workers avoid both mental and physical illness. If they are well, physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally, they can thrive in an offshore environment, perform their duties safely and cope with many of the unique challenges that offshore working life presents.


The Current Offshore Wellness Landscape


There are many programmes in place to help keep offshore workers physically well.

Offshore worksites have kitted out gyms, healthy options on the menu, and most places now have Wi-Fi in the accommodation areas to ensure personnel can communicate with friends and family at home quickly and easily.

Since the pandemic, however, more and more people are feeling lonely, isolated and have less opportunities to interact in person. Humans are social beings and we thrive in an environment where we feel we have a sense of identity, belonging and recognition from our peers. And this is where sport comes in.


The Power of Sport


Sport brings people together all ages, races, and backgrounds.

It breaks down barriers and quickly dissolves a “them-and-us” feel – a great benefit in the offshore environment. By encouraging a culture of teamwork through an offshore fitness challenge like RigRun, people feel more engaged with their environment. When an offshore team is engaged, productivity increases, communication is smoother and safety conversations improve.

When the participants feel physically fit, they also sleep better, thereby reducing fatigue and concentration lapses. And when they strengthen their musculoskeletal systems through repeated physical activity, they are also less likely to have a slip, trip or fall.


Bringing offshore workers together to improve their health and fitness


“RigRun was a fantastic event that all of our offshore teams got involved in, which helped promote wellbeing, health and camaraderie across our assets.” – Steve Cox, Executive Vice President Integration, Harbour Energy

RigRun is a team event that aims to engage offshore workers and get them working together to compete against other companies within the industry. The 6-week event uses the power of sport to help people improve their mental, social, emotional and physical health.

Over 11 years, we’ve received positive feedback from OIMs, project managers and offshore personnel reporting the many benefits of RigRun. From how it’s made their teams happier and healthier to boosting productivity and collaboration, the advantages of taking part in RigRun are wide-ranging and extend well beyond just getting fit.

But how does the RigRun fitness event achieve this, and how can our annual exercise challenge help your team perform at the highest level?

Well, here are just four of the benefits of taking part.


Benefit #1 – Boosting your company’s morale through team fitness


Trust is at the heart of an effective and productive team, but how can we trust our team mates if we don’t even know them?

That’s where team-building challenges, such as RigRun, come in. Now we know they may just seem like a great excuse to get out of the office for a while, but these activities have been shown to have very real benefits for all types of organisations.

This is because working together toward a common goal that is non-work-related breeds a sense of familiarity. By encouraging offshore teams to work together toward a common goal – i.e. topping the leaderboard – teams begin to interact with each other in a way that goes beyond the occasional email or half-hearted passing nod.

Since no individual team member would be able to win the challenge alone, participants must support each other every step of the way by offering encouragement and help where it’s needed, leading to a working environment based on trust, empathy and empowerment.

Once they’ve built these bonds with each other, this often translates into how they go on to work together in their day-to-day roles with better communication and a deeper understanding of one another.


Benefit #2 – An engaged team is a productive team


Across numerous surveys, one fact is clear – an engaged workforce leads to better job performance and higher returns. Of course, how employees interact and work with those around them plays a crucial role in this. After all, there’s a much better chance of a person being engaged in their role when they enjoy working with the rest of their team.

Working together throughout the RigRun challenge, participants naturally break down the silos that may have been keeping them at a distance from each other. By encouraging communication between crew members who may not have otherwise interacted, team members can begin to feel more comfortable about working together on future projects.

For example, with increased familiarity and trust, team members might have more confidence discussing new ideas or feel a higher level of accountability to one another, resulting in better communication, more innovation, and fewer incidents on board.

Companies who sign up to RigRun have seen first-hand that the team mentality permeates throughout the asset during the 6-week challenge and this supportive mindset continues well beyond the final points being counted.


Benefit #3 – Improved wellbeing breeds a high level of work satisfaction


Looking at the individuals within each team for a moment, RigRun does more for individuals than just helping them get stronger, fitter, and healthier, and it all starts in the brain.

When challenge participants elevate their heart rate during a workout, more blood flows to their brain, providing it with oxygen and nutrients. As a result, the brain can perform at a higher capacity with these increased oxygen levels.

Taking part in daily exercise over 6 weeks as part of RigRun, participants keep this cycle going and subsequently enjoy the benefits of better judgement, improved memory and a longer attention span – great attributes for any offshore worker that needs to work long hours and handle continually changing priorities.

Moderate exercise has also been consistently shown to help people get a better quality of sleep – something that can be hard to get aboard an offshore rig. So, when it’s time for team members to come off shift and enjoy some well-deserved shut-eye, their exercise regime will be doing wonders for their sleep patterns, making them less likely to be tired during the day and more actively engaged with their work.


Benefit #4 – Mood-enhancing exercise leads to better mental health


In a study of UK oil and gas workers conducted by International SOS, it was found that 70,000 days had been lost due to mental health-related absences, and it was reportedly the single biggest reason for absenteeism.

Though RigRun cannot attempt to overcome the many facets of mental illness, we believe our team-based approach to physical activity can benefit the mental health of offshore workers in two ways.

Firstly, by engaging in physical activity, the body produces endorphins. Working their way through the nervous system, endorphins have the potential to raise self-esteem and reduce stress levels. Many people have experienced a significant improvement in their mental health by committing to a more active lifestyle, and they are less likely to develop conditions such as anxiety and depression, which could lead to long-term absence.

Secondly, adding a team element to the equation makes participants feel a sense of belonging. Once the challenge is over, they can hopefully feel more comfortable collaborating with others, reducing their workload and easing internalised stress and anxiety.

In addition, since RigRun participants have complete autonomy over the exercise they decide to engage in to contribute to their team’s score, they don’t have to feel pressured into lifting weights in the gym when they’d be more comfortable working through an aerobic workout in the privacy of their cabin. So they can belong to the team but have the confidence to do it their way.

“I saw an increased metric in productivity and overall good humour and health onboard. As well as a physical health bonus, it proved to be great for everyone’s mental health too.” – JP Kearns, Previous OIM


Could your offshore team benefit from taking part in RigRun?

If you’re interested in signing up your offshore team, head over to our Pricing page to download our Info Pack and register your interest.