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corporate wellness

A sustainability review, carried out

Activities such as Zumba can help bring exercise into daily life


considerations. The workplace is a community setting, so the ethics of public health are paramount. “The number one rule is not to do

anything that could hurt people from a mental or psychological perspective. I’ve seen an incident where a local gym sent a personal trainer with scales and a blood pressure monitor into a company to run a weight-loss programme among a small group. The only person who was overweight out of the 10 employees ended up being unduly targeted without the correct support, in defi ance of the wellbeing principle.” Corporate clients are also increasingly demanding the provision of integrated services that complement existing areas of big spend, such as private medical insurance. “We provide everything from a small gym to a fully integrated site linking nutritional advice, health assessments, fi tness centre, occupational health team, physiotherapists, physiologists and GPs,” confi rms Jones of Nuffi eld Health. “While the confi dentiality of

information between employees and our clinicians is sacrosanct, we can give employers general measures as to how fi t their population is through combined data, such as average blood sugar levels or the number of referrals to GPs after health assessments.

“Corporate clients never ask for less

– they always want more. One of our clients has a pathology lab embedded within its wellness centre, for example. Your average fi tness club is simply not in a position to manage such a network of complex services.”

MOTIVATION TO ACT Initiatives that are engaging the UK workforce vary from the educational to the all-encompassing. Chester & District Housing Trust (CDHT) recently entered 180 staff into iGlobalWellness’ Stay Active Challenge. Participants were divided into groups of fi ve based on weight, fi tness, gender and age. Everyone was provided with an iAM – a wireless activity monitor incorporating accelerometer technology to measure calorie burn, speed of movement and metabolic information – with results uploaded to a website. Following an assessment week to track normal individual activity rates, participants were challenged over an 11-week competitive period to gain points by increasing their activity levels, supported by online information including an e-newsletter, motivational sessions with a wellness coach and advice on healthy eating from the head of nutritional support at iGlobalWellness.

84 Read Health Club Management online at

for CDHT after the challenge, noted that participants had increased their daily activity levels by an average of 64 per cent; those who were overweight achieved a higher increase than those of normal weight (77 per cent versus 49 per cent). Not only that, but 67 per cent were maintaining their new activity levels. “We’re not forcing people into organised behaviour, but rather encouraging them to be aware of how activity can be integrated into their daily lives – whether that’s by skipping between meetings or trying a Zumba class,” says Tomlin. “By taking part in the challenge, companies have an understanding of their populations through aggregated data based on age and gender, giving them the tools to decide where wellness investment may be required.” Taking more of a DIY approach, New Leaf Health has launched a cost-effective piece of health-monitoring equipment, available to hire or purchase, which can be installed by companies in a private room or designated area, with the fl exibility to be moved around sites if they have multiple locations. Employees are invited to check their own health status at the DIY Health Check Point, using simple visual guides, to gain an assessment of their metabolic age calculated through BMI and/or other tests such as visceral fat, hydration and blood pressure. On completing the tests, individuals

receive a print-out with results and guidance on what they can do next to improve their wellbeing. “This is all about empowerment through awareness,” says Olding. “Where the DIY Health Check Point has been introduced, we have seen a 60 per cent uptake by company employees because they respond to the privacy and DIY features. We also encourage fi rms to recruit volunteer wellbeing champions from their workforce, who are trained to assist staff members in using the equipment and promote health by handing out information on monthly wellbeing topics, such as sleep or hydration. “Small groups are effective in motivating one another, and the wellbeing champion is a sustainable way ahead. We believe in equitable wellbeing policies. If fi rms are thinking of installing a gym, for example, this will usually only engage 20 per cent of the population.”

HSBC: LEADING BY EXAMPLE HSBC’s headquarters in Canary Wharf, London, does include a 3,114sq m, FIA FLAME Award-winning fi tness facility. In

october 2012 © cybertrek 2012


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