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Workplace Wellness: IDEO Insights

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Folks from IDEO London have been getting out and about and talking to inspiring, proactive players in the realm of workplace health for our Workplace Wellness Challenge. Here's a quick look at their insightful collection of posts which include provocative questions based the responses they received – to trigger broader, bigger and bolder thinking about our challenge question: How might we create healthy communities within and beyond the workplace? We hope you'll find the time to delve into each post a little deeper to further explore our challenge topic and enrich your thinking for the Concepting phase.
You might be interested to know that the team explored a variety of different design methods to dig deeper into the challenge in search of inspiration. These ranged from Analogous Inspiration which we've explored before on OpenIDEO to Expert Interviews. You may want to give some of these techniques a go in your own explorations.
Trying to Raise the Bar
Getting workplace wellness initiatives off the ground can be difficult and motivations are not always where you think they are going to be. People have a lot on their plate when they are at work, how can we make health easy for them? Check out tips on making good behaviour the easy option, starting small and letting things grow plus peer to peer motivation. Read more...
“I noticed that when I chopped up the fruit or made up small pots of yoghurt and muesli, people chose them and didn’t get as far as the chocolate and biscuits.”



Ministry of Food
Interview with nutritionist at Bradford's Ministry of Food.The Ministry of Food was set up by Jamie Oliver with the goal of teaching people to cook tasty, nutritious, cost effective dishes, with the intention that they would then pass on these new skills to others in their network. Includes thoughts on impact beyond activity and the power of advocates. Read more...
“We are cooking good food together – but a lot of it is about building confidence and socialising.“



Health for Social Good
Goodgym gives people a reason to exercise. It takes exercise out of the gym and makes it useful, by volunteering on community projects and supporting those who are isolated or less mobile. Interview with Goodgym member and administrator including insights on reducing isolation, the right offer for the right place and making health a social opportunity. Read more...
“Cities provide the ideal infrastructure for us. There are lots of lonely people who could benefit from some interaction and lots of people running past.”
Run Dem Crew
Interview with Charlie Dark, DJ, poet, writer and founder of Run Dem Crew, to understand how exercise became a platform for him to create a vibrant creative community of like minded people that inspires the next generation. Includes gems around celebrating every achievement, leveraging social media and changing attitudes to exercise. Read more...
"We take kids from Sofa to Finish Line. We invite them to run with us, we recognise that when you feel better about your body it can improve confidence in other areas."
Work Foundation
Interview with researchers Ksenia and Anna to understand some of the big trends influencing work and how work can actually be good for your health. Includes insights on the link between quality work and health, requirements of an ageing workforce plus issues around technology and trust. Read more...
“Studies have shown that good quality work is good for individual and community health. High quality work that provides self-esteem, a measure of control and autonomy is proven to improve physical and psychological wellbeing”
Olympic Construction Site
Interview with the team behind the new holistic occupational health programme which took into consideration ‘Workplace, Worker & Wellbeing’. Includes commentary on invoking healthy competition, making healthy choices simple and appealing plus how small changes can have significant impact. Read more...
“Construction workers can be very macho, don’t ‘believe in stress’ as it were and there’s an impression that they just eat burgers and chips. But, they are really interested in their health, if you offer them a different diet or other health options, they really seize them”.
Connecting Hard to Reach Communities
Interview with Shaun Danquah, independent government advisor and ex-gang member talks about learning to identify the motivations that resonate most with the community that you are trying to reach. Includes hints on challenging the cost-benefit model, showing people the whole pathway plus indirect levers and measures. Read more...
“Gang culture is aspirational for many kids because of the scene that goes with it. It’s about the right symbols, brands, language, hangouts and people. This is what we have to replace for kids coming out of gangs. They need a new sense of belonging to reduce the risk of isolation and bad habits recurring”
Looking to the Past for Inspiration on the Future
Interview with historian Dr. Vicky Long to cast light on periods in the 19th and 20th century when employers with vision invested in employee welfare and created solutions we can still learn from today. Includes perspectives on home working, small business support and work / life balance. Read more...
“The early 20th century saw a peak in employers who felt a moral and business obligation towards employee and community welfare. Often large factories would provide education for workers, exposure to the arts, ‘house-craft’ skills and advice on lifestyle choices."
Google London: Aiming High
Google has set itself the goal of being the healthiest, happiest workforce on the planet. Each office globally has a dedicated team who work to create an environment that promotes collaboration, engages and energises ‘Googlers’ throughout each day. IDEO visited Google's London offices over lunch to experience employee benefits first hand. Includes highlights on nudging folks in the right direction, social serendipity and getting everyone to muck in. Read more...
“Casual collisions - interacting with someone that you wouldn’t otherwise regularly come into contact with – is very important to Google’s collaborative spirit. One of the reasons we offer a complimentary café is to get people together”.
Institute of Mindful Leadership
Interview with Janice Marturano to understand how being more mindful can improve much more than just work performance. Includes discussion on creating space for the mind, ripple effects and employee bonding. Read more...
“24/7 connectivity, multi-tasking, long working hours and demanding travel schedules mean that many office workers suffer from lack of mental space which reduces concentration. Meditative techniques are wonderful for increasing focus, clarity, creativity and compassion”
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