Posted By Eileen O’Reilly

Posted on29th July 2016

When we heard about Westfield Health Walking Lunch 2016, the team and I were all really excited.

At Futures Advice, Skills & Employment, we are a people-focused company and recognise the importance of investing in our colleagues. We have an initiative called ‘More than Work’ which supports employees in health, wellbeing and social activities. It is part of our health and wellbeing approach that recognises the importance of activities other than work, and we thought the Westfield Health Walking Lunch 2016, would be a great fit for this.

The campaign appealed to us because we recognise the importance of taking a real break during the day to increase energy and sustain concentration levels. Also, the element of team work and the external competition gave it an edge, making it more interesting and motivating.

We started by setting up a Land’s End to John O’Groats company challenge. Employees got into teams and competed to see who could total the most steps, walking the equivalent route from Land’s End to John O’Groats (837 miles in total). So that lots of staff could take part, we included teams from within the same office, as well as virtual teams from across our offices around the country. So, someone in our office in Leicester could be on a team with someone from our Nottingham office – they would both total their weekly steps and add them together to contribute to the team.

Throughout the month, the nominated walking team leaders totalled their team’s weekly steps and populated a leader board with the results and the equivalent distance walked. For example, the first week’s target was to take around 78,000 steps which would be the equivalent of the first leg from Land’s End through Bodmin to Oakhampton. This continued each week so that if targets were continually achieved, employees would have travelled up through the country and reached the equivalent of John O’Groats. 

The team leaders were also responsible for populating the Westfield Health leader board and sharing the top tips with the team to keep the initiative alive and fun.

People became really creative when planning more steps into their daily routines, and, following Westfield’s advice, people got up and about in their lunch breaks giving themselves a good screen break and a chance to stretch their legs.

Staff really engaged with the campaign and there was some very healthy competition between teams when it came to checking the total steps each week!

One of my colleagues had the idea of walking to a different park on each of her lunch breaks and taking pictures at each one to share on social media channels.

The campaign definitely boosted staff morale, and having that time at lunch meant people came back to work in the afternoon feeling refreshed and revived. We noticed that even just a small bit of movement and fresh air can have a huge impact on your afternoon energy levels.

We were delighted that, by the end of the month, we’d walked more than 6 million steps as a company – this is the equivalent of walking from the UK to New York!

We’ve decided to put the £1,000 prize money out to consultation so that staff can decide how it is spent. Lots of ideas have been coming from yoga sessions through to Fitbits and fruit bowls!

We’ve since continued to incorporate walking into our everyday routines, including taking a good break at lunch time, and we’ve even signed up to take part in the Robin Hood Marathon as our next corporate challenge.

Westfield Health’s Walking Lunch initiative showed us how easily we can up our activity levels throughout the working day and we definitely think it’s a good step in the right direction for tackling the problem of sedentary behaviour in the workplace.

Eileen Oreilly, HR Manager at Futures Advice, Skills & Employment.

Worth reading? Share this post on