Tue 11 August 2020

How to keep your staff healthy in lockdown

by Tim Pockney , 2020 , Tags Wellbeing Walking Staff HR
Walking image

Codethink staff have been predominantly based at home now for more than three months. In that time the way we all interact with the world has changed considerably.

One of the last things that we did as a company before starting to work from home was to sit and talk about our experiences of remote work and how important it was to pay attention to wellness during this time.

We all knew that this was a different case to normal remote work - normal freedoms such as high street shopping, entertainment and freedom to exercise have been limited. The effects on our wellbeing could be significant. As schools were shut and children spent more time at home, home fitness interest skyrocketed. During the month of May, Codethink staff got in on the act and joined the #walkthismay initiative.

Everyone was encouraged to add 20 minutes of walking to their day, introduced during a Friday talk session from our Head of People and Culture as a way to fit in more time outdoors each day. Benefits of adding 20 minutes of walking to the day include:

  • Improved heart health and blood pressure
  • Improved quality of sleep
  • Reduced feelings of anxiety
  • Improved cognitive function

Prior to lockdown restrictions, our original plans for 2020 had included attending a number of international conference events which were sadly cancelled due to travel restrictions. To keep up momentum and engagement across the company, we added a number of Codethink specific targets to the walking challenge, mapping out the distance to some of the locations we have been for conferences - the nearest in Dublin and the farthest in Almeria, setting our biggest target at 1850.31km from Manchester.

The initiative proved to be a huge success, with participants registering a total of 2040.1km over the month.

If you want to run something like this for your company, here’s what you need:

  • A spreadsheet with a row per participant spanning the month.
  • Distance targets - we went with a small, medium, large, and stretch target.
  • A running tally of distance covered vs the targets.

“It is truly fantastic to see the level of engagement that we had with this wellbeing initiative during a difficult time. Most importantly, our colleagues felt individual health benefits as well as the cultural benefits of working collaboratively, even in a virtual world." - Abi Wall, Head of People and Culture

Happy walking!

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