Why We Partnered with Freshwalks

Last year, San-iT became a Freshwalks partner.

It was a natural next step in our relationship. Our team members have taken part in masses of Freshwalks and have benefited hugely as a result.

Let’s take a deeper look at the impact Freshwalks has had on our staff and what the future holds for our new partnership.

What is Freshwalks?

Freshwalks is the brainchild of Michael Di Paola, the Co-Founder of Studio North, an award-winning brand agency based in Manchester.

He created Freshwalks to give people an alternative way to network. It’s ideal for those who dislike corporate networking events but still want to meet new people.

Freshwalkers don’t connect by swapping business cards or LinkedIn details inside stuffy rooms. They bond by helping each other clamber over fences or wade through mud in the beautiful countryside.

Hikes take place in Cheshire, Derbyshire, Merseyside, Cumbria and Yorkshire all year round, and sometimes more further afield including Northern Ireland and Wales. There are routes for all fitness levels and four-legged friends are welcome. Michael’s team also hold Freshwalks in Manchester city centre designed to fit within a lunch hour (perfect for busy professionals).

A wholesome reward

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

– John Muir

To reward our team for all their hard work, we give our staff the opportunity to do a Freshwalk during working hours so they can spend more time outdoors.

For some, it has transformed them into pro-hikers. This has had a big impact on their physical and mental health.

Take Matt Simmons, our Solutions Architect. In June 2019, he committed to all the Freshwalks through to the end of the year. He completed this goal, and has since won the Freshwalks Champion 2019 award for reaching the top of the leaderboard.

Matt wrote a blog about his hiking experiences, explaining how:

“Freshwalks is the ultimate stress prevention where ideas can flourish along with connections to new people within business. A fog has lifted; coffee always helped in the past but now I don’t need it. Plus, with my energy levels up and my productivity increased, I sleep better and walking and running is much easier.”

This is a huge reason why we became a Freshwalks partner. It aligns perfectly with our core value: helping the team feel healthy and happy. Spending just five minutes in nature can quickly improve your mood, researchers from the University of Regina have found. Talk to any one of our regular Freshwalkers and they will attest to this.

Making meaningful connections

Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” 

– Vera Nazarian

The best business relationships come from those that are meaningful. You get to understand people’s personalities, needs and fears and this helps you be of more value in a social and professional sense.

We’ve acquired lots of business contacts through Freshwalks. But more importantly, we have formed many friendships. 

When you’re on a Freshwalk, it’s much easier to have organic discussions. Although business has taken place as a result of the experience, it’s not what gets discussed up those hills! The environment sparks all kinds of intriguing discussions, as Mat Simmons explains:

So many good conversations around technology have come out of people dropping back to walk with me.”

Networking on a hike makes for a whole new dynamic. One where the barriers of seniority are broken down because the challenge isn’t speaking to people who intimidate you. The challenge is climbing a steep hill or finding the safest path. It’s a real leveller.

Again, this benefit matches our values beautifully. San-iT is all about adding that human touch to our services. Forming strong bonds with each other, our clients and our prospects enables us to do this. Freshwalks makes this much easier (and fun) to achieve.

A future full of Freshwalks

We can’t wait to continue supporting Freshwalks far into the future. The organisation is a real asset to the Manchester business community. Whether you’re introverted, extroverted or somewhere in between, Michael Di Paola and his team have a special way of making you feel right at home.

Now that we’ve got a taste of being award-winning Freshwalkers (you’re looking at the Classic Team of the Year!), we’re raring to tackle new hills and hard core hikes.

Stay tuned for more updates on our Freshwalks adventures.