At MetLife we believe corporate culture drives strategy which is why we have dedicated committees aimed at supporting employees physically, socially and emotionally in order to create a great place to work.

As well as my day job, I chair one of these committees - the Social Club - where we look at ways to help people interact, network and build a sense of one team at MetLife.  

In the past we’ve hosted trivia nights, bowling, games nights and parties in order to bring a sense of fun to the workplace and contribute to the unique culture at MetLife. This year we came up with the idea for an all-staff table tennis competition. 

Office table tennis tables are synonymous with cool tech startups - perhaps not as much for 150 year old life insurance companies! That said, we cleared the idea with HR and ran a month-long competition which culminated in the best players from each department competing in a grand finale. It’s been our most successful social activity to date. Here are five reasons why we think it’s been so popular.

It’s easy to find time to take part

People often struggle with after-work social events due to family commitments, particularly during the week. Table tennis offers a great opportunity to step away from your desk for 15 minutes during the day to engage in a fun activity with your teammates. 

It attracts all sorts

MetLife prides itself on having a really inclusive culture so we try to find activities that everyone feels comfortable taking part in. Table tennis is the kind of game that appeals all kinds of personality types. In fact, it’s often the quiet ones that ended up being our most dominant players!

Competition brings people together 

Competitive spirit is a key trigger for engagement. At MetLife we’ve seen everyone get involved from the CEO to IT developers, finance actuaries and sales teams. Senior leadership participation is a big catalyst for others to join in - nothing earns you more cred than whipping the boss! And even if you don’t want to play, it’s a great spectator sport to cheer on your teammates. 

It’s cheap and easy to set up 

A regular table tennis table won’t cost much and it’s a worthwhile investment. If you don’t have a lot of budget, you can pick up a second-hand version for next to nothing. Plus you can pack it away if you need the space for something else.

It’s good for your physical and mental health

A game of table tennis is a great way to lose a few calories while you’re at work, particularly if you’re sat at your desk most of the day. It also keeps your brain sharp, improves your reaction time and releases a healthy dose of endorphins, which can do wonders for your productivity. 

Lee Gallagher, Account Manager and Chair of MetLife Social Club