Whirlpool hosting a charity walk for the United Way

NOW: Whirlpool hosting a charity walk for the United Way

BENTON HARBOR, Mi. -- Hundreds of Whirlpool employees took the first steps to raise thousands of dollars for the United Way.

The goal is for all Whirlpool employees worldwide to take enough steps to circumnavigate the globe.

“As a kickoff to our United Way campaign, Whirlpool has committed to providing up to $50,000 for each walk around the world," said Mark Morrisey with Whirlpool. 

According to worldwalking.org, it takes over 80 million steps to walk around the world-- and Whirlpool will donate up to $100,000 to the United Way if their employees manage to do it twice!

But the challenge is not just about raising money, it's part of the appliance maker's new Be-Well Initiative, which encourages Whirlpool employees to take short "micro-breaks" throughout the day to get outside and do some physical activity-- like taking a short walk. 

“It’s really important that we take time for self-care, and walking is a great way to do that," said Emily Kirschner, Corporate Communications Manager at Whirlpool. "As we’re coming back to the office and being back in the office environment, you can feel like you’re in meetings all day or you’ve always got your face in the computer, and it’s really important to take a couple minutes—just take fifteen minutes—and spend some time walking.”

Marc Bitzer, Whirlpool's CEO said “We just want to have a more mindful approach with our employees to be well. Be well at home, be well at work, and this walking challenge is one of them.”

And it allows employees to get more acquainted with the walking trails at Whirlpools Global Headquarters campus.

Kirschner said “It wasn’t until last week that I did a walk with our facilities crew to check it out to plan for today that I really got that full experience, and I just said ‘wow, this is beautiful.’”

Those trails, which are open to the public, are also undergoing an expansion-- to add mountain biking paths to promote even more physical activity on the campus.

“By the time we’re done, we’re going to have about seven miles worth of trail systems," said Mark Richards, Head of Global Real Estate at Whirlpool. "It’s going to be anywhere from intermediate mountain biker paths to advanced. We’re trying to pull as many features as we can with our campus. We’ve got a pond in the back, lots of woods, some terrain, and we’re also going to have this path system go underneath M-63 through a tunnel in the future, as well as we’re going to incorporate a lakeside view with some trail systems on the west side of M-63.”

They hope to finish that those mountain biking paths by the Fall. 

According to Whirlpool, these micro-breaks not only help employees stay healthy-- they also hope it will promote more staff socialization with people coming back in person after all the pandemic shutdowns.

“I’ve met somebody today that I’ve been talking to on the computer for two years—and today was the first time I saw them face to face, so I think that’s a big part of it too, just encouraging that movement, encouraging people to get to know their colleagues and have a more well-rounded experience in the office," Kirschner said.

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