Challenge:

How might we create healthy communities within and beyond the workplace?

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Our daily lives – what we eat, how we travel, how we look after ourselves and especially our work – can have a profound effect on our own health and wellness, and that of the people around us. Together with Bupa and the International Diabetes Federation, we're asking our global community to help us explore how people can best be supported in the workplace to make positive changes to their health and wellness – and what skills and tools are needed to pass these positive changes onto their networks of co-workers, family and friends.

Setting the Stage

Everyday around the world, we wake up, get ready and go to work. In fact globally in 2011, people spent between 1,300 and 2,200 hours working! While work is an integral part of everyone’s lives, the toll that work can take on our health and wellness is profound.

Around the world diabetes and other chronic diseases, including obesity, heart disease and cancer, are on the rise – alongside rapid growth in levels of work-related stress and mental illness. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation, there are 36 million preventable deaths every year from these health problems – a devastating social impact for communities and a major financial burden for everyone.

While what we do for work, where we work and who we work with can have a lasting effect on our overall health and wellness, they are just a few important pieces of the overall puzzle. In what ways does our work life influence our personal and home lives as well? 

While our challenge focus starts in the workplace, we’re eager to explore the positive ripple effect that can be experienced when happy, healthy and supported employees go back to their own families and communities. How can we leverage the place and the concept of work to improve the health and wellness of everyone – starting with the individual and moving outward to their friends and family, their colleagues and beyond? How might we create workplaces and workforces that act as health hubs for entire communities?

With your help, we’re interested in creating solutions that enable people make healthier choices at work and in life. From raising awareness, inspiring behaviour change or leveraging our co-worker and community relationships to catalyse broader health and wellness impacts, we’re eager to explore solutions together.

To get started, check out our Guiding Principles for this challenge, then head over to our active challenge phases to join our collaborative efforts.

Want to spread the word about this challenge at your workplace? Here's a poster to print out, hang up and invite your colleagues to join us!


About Bupa

This challenge is sponsored by Bupa, a leading international healthcare group that provide care homes, hospitals and health insurance to over 11 million customers worldwide. As part of Bupa’s commitment to a Well World, they have set themselves a goal to enable 60 million people to make positive changes, to be healthier and happier and to help protect the environment by 2015.


About The International Diabetes Federation

This challenge is in partnership with The International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the unique global advocate for diabetes. IDF works to advance diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. As a growing federation of over 200 member associations in more than 160 countries, IDF’s power lies in the capacity of its members to deliver care and prevention services on the ground, and its ability to connect global advocacy to local reality.


Community & Social Media Manager

Meena Kadri


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Attachments (2)

workplacewellness_brainstorminabox.pdf

Workplace Wellness Brainstorm in a Box

workplacewellnessposter.pdf

Workplace Wellness Challenge Poster

75 comments

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Photo of Catherine

I am happy to hear about this initiative. Many Americans spend more than half their lives in the office which can be an unhealthy environment from the sitting, to staring at a computer screen, to eating unhealthy and quick meals. Mostly, the stress makes people ill. I think that there is a lot of very necessary attention on American diets but not enough on stress in the workplace which can lead to more health problems than people realize. Stress can be alleviated through better management, teamwork, and happier more satisfied people in the office. I am glad that IDEO and Bupa is supporting a healthy work environment initiative.

If this initiative goes global, most people are laborers and especially agriculture laborers where the health problems are very different. There are techniques to teach people about how to farm with their current equipment but in ways that exhaust them less an are safer.

Photo of Arnav

Its high time employer's started investing in their employee's health. If not, I guess employees just have to invest in their own health. At the end of the day, it is their own health right?

I've written a number of articles on this lately, and spoken to a number of people. I'm very glad this is becoming a more well known issue

Photo of Gisela


Beautiful idea and already in development during the last 15+ years. More real existing role models for gentle workplaces will create more content and healthy people, who love what they do and stay healthy.

Not all beings are http://equal....in their personal needs, some prefer to do and work a lot in a group, others prefer to withdraw and have contact from time to time, to be productive and efficient. Some people prefer music to be productive, others need a calm space for concentration. A good solution would be the possibility to choose between small single rooms for individual choices and a large group room for *grooming* :) contact, brainstorming, discussions and eating?

Healthy food is for everyone, some like it hot and others raw..... :) depends on our unique bodies nature and systems, like the ayurvedic ideas about nutrition for example and ...yes.....biological grown food would be perfect for the environment and for health care prevention too.
Possibilities to *Sheik Yerbouti*.... a little dance inbetween or a trampolin, to pump fresh oxygen into the lungs and veins and please, do not laugh.....(or even better !!!...do so, laughing shall be so tremendous healthy and even good against aging and wrinkles)......a place for a little nap would be great. The liver detoxes after a meal much better, lying horizontal for about 20 minutes(?) the benefits for higher productivity will be measurable and most of all visible.

A yoga teacher once a week and massage offers have been added to the health prevention in some companies already. I remember that Benneton expected his employees to participate in the companies community sports offers many, many years ago. The problem is, the corporates inner social life should not change into an additional burdon for the employees.

A relatively new and big problem is health care for the eyes, some companies offer trainings, or better advice on prevention for eye relaxation, doing too much work at a computer screen, or relaxation and exersises to loosen up back, arms, hands and legs etc.

Sitting in well aired quiet rooms, with a relaxing view into green well designed gardens and nature or felicitous architecture.......What a lovely inner place to be, to dream about the future of healthy working places...... :)

How about an exercise machine right at our workplaces? Every boss is starting his day reading some stuff in movement today already. Why not using the same ideas for employees?

Water bottled in something that is not toxic and showing healthy harmonic crystals, viewed under a microscope, blessed by a person, who*s influence on water creates healthy crystals or music can do the same, a discovery we owe Masaru Emoto :)

At least one person, who helps to create good vibes in the team, a mediator or someone alike.

I forgot to mention ergonomic furniture. Aaah.....and a place to meditate or pray for a while.
How about a sauna for every company and aroma therapy, just in case, it would be convenient. I concentrate so much better with fragrances of oranges.

Forgot the architecture, the wall colours and furniture, the basic material would be made out of recycled natural stuff or natural, non toxic subtances, without pesticides, like all our clothes.



Many people I see today are completely overworked and exhausted. They work much too long and often never know, if they will have their free days without interruption. More and more people have to be full time available, since the development of the mobiles, people are asked to be always present, even in private time. So many people get phone calls from their companies, even when the have a day off.

The work time should be shorter for all and the work should be shifted onto more shoulders. It would change the co-workers and communities rapidly too. A part of the current problems is the burn out situation many experiencing and destroying families.

Photo of Jennifer

I agree with you on one key point, Gisela: that we are not all made the same. Not everyone wants to get on the floor mid-day with their boss and do yoga.

We can all agree that "health" does not mean just physical well-being - but it extends to the emotional health of a workplace. I think many of us have been in situations where the social and emotional environment of a workplace were more toxic than what any stress ball, vacation day or bean bag chair could fix. It's about relationships, in the end.

Because of that, I'm wary of prescribing "one-size-fits-all" remedies (ie. yoga, craft sessions, whathaveyou) - they're only good if everyone is into them, otherwise you risk seriously alienating some who may simply prefer their craft sessions with their kids, or aren't comfortable doing yoga with coworkers. And it doesn't address deeper, underlying issues around the health of a workplace - that coworkers are heard, valued, recognized, have empathy and understanding for each other, and keep their thoughts on the bigger picture - that we're all working together, and that we have whole and complete lives to live as well.

Here's my thoughts on how a workplace might approach creating a healthy workplace:

1. All team members contribute: The only way to ensure that everyone's needs are being met, is to have an open discussion about what everyone needs - Ergonomic chairs? Flexible hours? Gym passes? Whatever the specifics, it's most important that everyone is heard.

2. Empathy for the individual: Understanding and appreciating the ways in which your coworkers work best means everyone is more efficient. Understanding the life situations and needs (kids? elderly parents? training for a marathon?) of your coworkers also helps everyone work together to accomodate life stuff.

3. Space: It was mentioned before, and a great idea: Having a flexible workspace where people can work collaboratively and have post-its all over the wall, or work in solitude - space that is conducive to the daily needs of staff.

4. Recognition & validation: One of the biggest ways in which I see employees start to perform poorly is if they no longer feel valued, respected, or generally paid attention to. So many times I see good work happening without recognition - to the point where it's easy for resentment to build, creating toxic environments. Setting up a system where management and coworkers are encouraged to encourage each other more - as well as help each other grow through constructive criticism - helps air out and diffuse any situations that could turn personal and nasty.

The truth is, us younger generations are no longer willing to sacrifice our entire lives for careers any more. It simply shouldn't have to be done. Our parents went to college, which guaranteed them a good job; they bought houses, got married, worked hard to get to a high point in their careers. But the days of working for one company until retirement are gone - we're seeing the education system failing us, we're not able to afford houses, and our aging boomer parents are a looming issue on the horizon. We no longer put all our eggs in one basket, but go back to get multiple degrees, have separate resumes for various fields, take side jobs, hedge our bets, make it work. And workplaces are having to realize that working 60+ hour work weeks are no longer a badge of honor - it's a sign that something is wrong - whether disorganization, greediness, or inefficiency.

 

Photo of James

Fascinating point about people who take on mulitiple jobs... A lot of the inspirations on this challenge seem to be about allowing companies making their own independant decisions about how to improve their working environments and the health of their empolyees. You bring up another angle whereby an individual who is juggling a few jobs may want to bring some kind of healthy impetus to his/her life.

Perhaps there will be some concepts that focus on finding ways for these freelancers or those who work at much smaller firms to fall under larger umbrellas linking heath initiatives. These would hopefully include access to the same benefits larger firms provide in terms of medical insurance, nutrition and excercise programs.

Photo of Sean

I feel that we are playing far too much emphasis on what to do during the work hours and not enough around what we can achieve outside of them. Staying healthy and losing weight is each person's ultimate own responsibility. Not everyone wants to workout with their colleagues. For me my weight loss (40Kgs) came as a result of being shamed into it and now I have no problem putting on a swim suit or whatever and training with various groups.

If we could get local Govt on board in conjunction with business there would be more that could be done. Having things like community fitness classes subsidized for lower income earners in their local areas as well as community cooking and food education classes to help people to make informed exercise and dietary choices in their community would surely help the overall state of affairs. It's something I'm passionate about and have been lobbying for, but it's hard to get off the ground.

Ultimately the buck shouldn't be shunted on to the employer when rather a combined effort with big business could deliver great results.

This idea wouldn't hurt personal trainers as anyone with money to afford one would still pay for that privilege.

Photo of Damon

interesting vedio. I think company needs to offer more choices for employees, maybe provide opportinities to cook by themself in the company, just simple and healthy food.

Photo of Fei

Interesting video! I like this idea. I promote that company can provides healthy food for employees, to be healthy lifestyle.

Photo of M Fathahillah

there are two crucial things that decide someone's well-being; what he eats and what he does daily. unfortunately, people tend to think eating something delicious means eating unhealthy, and exercising is something stressful rather than fun to do.

what the company needs to do is, make people aware of the importance of health and whether their current lifestyle is healthy or not. this could be done by providing a health center, and health consultant. when people aware, they will have more motivation to live a healthy life-style.

on the other hand, company should make several changes so that the culture and schedule in company. for example, it is normal in Japan for a division in companies to have baseball matches against another division about once a month in weekend. other than encourage healthy living, this will also make their bond and teamwork stronger. a much simpler things to do is, to change small habit in work place. less sitting and more standing during work, no junk food in the office, or even having a no-elevator day is a great start.

during my internship in a LNG company we finish work earlier at 3 pm on Friday then having a light-aerobic class which is fun and suitable for all ages. we even had free gym-membership and playing futsal/football once or twice in a month even together with the higher-ups

Photo of chang

love your ideas very much.

Photo of Loan

100% agree

Photo of Loan

We often make the excuse that we are "too busy" to eat healthy or at least this is my excuse. My employment requires numerous hours at the office and managing a handful of people is not as easy as it seems. I often pass up breakfast and lunch and end of snacking on unhealthy snacks like mini chocolates and chips throughout the day. Recently my company offered me gym memberships and I must say, once you get into the regimen of the gym it is addicting to maintain that lifestyle. I get this additional energy after the gym and I look forward to getting out of the office to the gym. Not every company offers this but if this was a part of the company, it would provide an incentive to go without the commute.

Nice video...

Photo of chang

the video is pretty good.

Photo of Fei

I like the video, and I also like the tagline "Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives."
In my opinion, "the body is the capital of revolution." People have a healthy body, they can make more money and enjoy a better life. Besides, I agree that "work is an integral part of everyone's lives, the toll that work can take on our health and wellness is profound." In order to better improve work efficiency, at first we must have a healthy body. For instance, the workplace can provide meals for employees, and to promote "low-calorie, low-fat, high-protein." After the meals, the workplace also offer tea, fruits or other healthy foods for employees. However, the workplace can also hire health consultant, they can help employees to massage. So the employees not only have a healthy body, but also have a happy mood, which means "Healthier, Happier Lives." When the workplace improved employees morale, they will improve the work efficiently, so the company will get more benefits, it is a win-win result. However,in order to improve the health and wellness of everyone. The workplace can also do surveys of employees to make them feel warmth in workplace as same as at home. In the world only healthy cannot buy with money. So people have to care about their body to healthy life, not just for ourselves, it is also for our family and friends.

Photo of chang

YOUR idea "the body is the capital of revoltion" is funny~

Photo of julie

I think that if the company could manage a company health center, the company would benefits its employees to allow each employee and additional hour break time 2 days per week to exercise or utilize the health center facility. This would promote a healthier life style for the employees and possibly be enough time to change some of the employees habits and lifestyles. It would influence the employees to try exercising more often and lead a healthier life. I also feel the company vending machines should offer healthier alternatives such as fruits, nuts, or cheeses compared to the usual chips and candy, again to promote healthier options and lifestyles

Photo of julie

I think that if the company could manage a company health center, the company would benefits its employees to allow each employee and additional hour break time 2 days per week to exercise or utilize the health center facility. This would promote a healthier life style for the employees and possibly be enough time to change some of the employees habits and lifestyles. It would influence the employees to try exercising more often and lead a healthier life. I also feel the company vending machines should offer healthier alternatives such as fruits, nuts, or cheeses compared to the usual chips and candy, again to promote healthier options and lifestyles

Photo of chang

I strongly agree that healthy is wealthy. Once you sick, no matter how rich you are, or what kind of social status you stand by, that means noting! nothing.

Photo of Congmin

I like the idea you make, and nice video!

Photo of mengyuan

Nice video. I also think it is a good idea to have health center in companies if the company has the potential ability. Having a health center in the company not only would benefit employees but also the company.

Photo of Volker

Most pepole need to commute to their work place. All too often this does not require much of an exercise as cars/trains all kind of public transport etc is used. However, why not splitting the commute into two parts. For instance take the car/train whatever but not to the final desintation but exit earlier and make the rest of the distance by foot, scooter or simply bicycle. Ok you have to deposit your bike or use a foldable one with you already. But there shall be creative solutions for that. By that twice a day people will be have exercise on their way to work and back home. Positive side effect for car commuters: mostly crowed parking spots in cities can be avoided by parking in outside the inner citiy and riding eg the bike for the final 4-5 km to the work place.

Photo of Bridget

This change has to be driven by the culture of the company, by its employees. Every company should decide internally how best to support its worker's health and wellness. Perhaps some guidelines and ideas can be offered but encouraging creative innovation sessions where employees discuss what would help make a positive change for them and their colleagues.
Key elements are working hours, meal-times, exercise opportunities, co-workers and management, the building, technology, family time and support. Innovation could be encouraged around these core needs.
E.g. The building: Solutions might include changing the office space design, offering a design to encourage more movement with opportunities for solitude (everyone needs some quiet time in addition to social time), and collaboration.
E.g. Family time and support - how can the employer better support an employees obligations to family? Do employees balance work and family life?
E.g. Working hours - I used to live and work in Europe and in some countries it's very common workers opt for a 4 day, reduced hours work week. The culture accepts this and workers and managers alike can take this option without fear of risking their career and respect from their co-workers. In the US, we need a country-wide culture change emphasizing the importance of balanced life and the value of experiences and social time.
You should also think about reminders and rewards... finding ways to reward employees for improvements, reminding them why you are making changes and why this is important to them. Continue to check-in to ensure this is indeed important, useful, effective.

Photo of Edmund

The video is nicely done up. I like the tagline "Longer, Healthier, Happier Lives". Some large manufacturing plants in Taiwan has already put in action subsidized food for their factory workers. By having a subsidized meal, it encourages 95% of the workers to eat within the factory's premises.

The factory, which was manufacturing high tech led panels, made large investments into coming up with real time display on what the most popular dish of the day was. All calorie information is also listed on the led panels. This will allow the workers to eat healthily.

In order to make sure that the QC of the food was maintained, the system allowed the workers to submit their real-time evaluation of the food. E.g. Too Salty, Not Salty Enough, Too Spicy, Not Spicy Enough.

The information captured allowed the backend cooks to adjust to the preferred taste. This will ensure the workers are happy and have high morale. A company with happy employees is one that will make money. Particularly when we Chinese are so particular about food.


Edmund Ng
http://www.internetempire.com.sg

Photo of Longyin

idea is really meaningful .

Photo of LREI

Being healthy is something everyone should try to do, or go to the gym for an hour or two for your new years resolution just to make a little difference in your health. Especially if your job is to sit at a desk all day and not get any exercise for you to keep on growing. Standing desks are popular now because instead of sitting, you would stand.

Photo of Dewan

Google would be a great example, it's amazing how they have all these ideas about keeping employees healthy. Top management commitment is absolutely important to promote healthy lifestyle in work environment and it would also have impact on life beyond the workplace.

Photo of Fred

Does anyone know the concept of "Toilet fitness" at work ? :-)

Photo of John

I would suggest seeking out examples of what companies of all sizes are doing right now across the globe. Current activities in different cultures from small shops to large operations can be a source of inspiration as well.

Finding even little examples will go far in creating a catalyst to inspire other similar sized workplaces / companies to change. Even though this is a global effort, it needs to be implemented locally and culturally. Seeking out current inspirational stories of success (small & large) of healthy practices can serve as a guide to others (locally) to take the first step toward a healthier workplace.

Photo of om

Not sitting for ten hours at a time is the most useful step possible. The desk and chair are literally killing off our species.

Photo of Fernando

The stress would decrease significantly if each person chose his (her) job because he (she) likes it, and not because he (she) needs it. If you have the job that you like you will see it as fun rather than as an obligation, there the importance of human resources area not to seek people to fill a post and look for people who like the company and the position.

Another important aspect is that people in management and sales areas could work anywhere they want as long as they meets its objectives, this will give them a very important advantage in their health.

It could be excellent if the companies could require - recommend to their workers do half an hour of exercise a day as well as suggest them what to eat during the month.

Photo of Patty

I very much agree with your first paragraph. To build on that, team leaders and other lower to middle managers should be rewarded on employee development (and trained on it). If they have a great employee who isn't happy in their current role, it's best for everyone to try to place that person in the role that's a better fit. I think managers often balk at letting their best resources move on.

Photo of om

I'd love to see the HMO or corporate insurance underwriter get into the game. They all have very elaborate statistics on longevity and can provide a statistically accurate cost analysis of every heartbeat over a certain percentage of the resting pulse. Knowing this, the HMO or corporate underwriter should compensate the employer for every minute the employee is moving faster than a walking pace and has a heart rate within exercise boundaries for their height and weight. Using a fitbit or even id card with RFID would enable simple tracking. The user's terminal might even get locked down if the employee hasn't exercised enough or taken enough breaks to ensure concentration and health benefits.

Photo of Yehuan

Within the workplace, I think health center should be made in big companies. Doctors should be hired for employees' daily health, nutrition and so on. Basic medical equipment and medicine should be stored in the health center for the staff. Beyond the workplace, i think more public health clinics should be built around people's residental area.

Photo of Johan

Hi, what is going on with the process now, when winning concepts have been chosen? Have I missed some memo or something?

Photo of An Old

An important initiative in establishing positive mental and physical wellness within an individual’s daily life, is to teach and actively participate in effective communication within the workplace:

1. Active Listening. Use gestures and sounds that let the other person know you are listening and attempting to understand what they’re saying. We can show the speaker that we are engaged, before interjecting with a counter argument or agreement. Active listening can include: eye contact, slow nodding, “mhm” sounds, smiling, etc.

2. While speaking, use “I…” statements instead of “you..” statements. When others don’t feel that they’re being accused or threatened, it is easier for them to listen more effectively and remain engaged.

3. When receiving good news, respond constructively. Ask questions, convey interest in what they’re saying, and be supportive of the new revelation.

4. Replace negative criticism with requests for change. We’ve all been guilty of bashing from time to time; usually resulting in more harm than benefit. So, when the inevitable problem arises at work; it is important to practice telling others what we prefer, instead of attacking them for their shortcomings.

5. Remain relevant during conflict resolution. Stay on topic and remain focused. Avoid rehashing past disagreements in the midst of a conflict, as it will only fuel emotional biases and deter from formulating a solution.

6. Expressing ourselves clearly, in laymen’s terms. Rather than assuming the other person knows what we want and need; we can verbalize our thoughts and ideas in layman’s terms as honestly and clearly as possible.

7. Increase verbal communication. Emailing is a necessity to conduct business in 2013, but it is also important to frequently engage each other using verbal dialog. By vocalizing our ideas and thoughts with others throughout the day, we can embrace our human need for emotional connectedness and social engagement…not to mention, sharing can catalyze the creative process and generate momentous, new ideas.

Using the workplace as incubator for effective communication can help reduce work-related stress and the potential psychosomatic effects that may result from that stress. Effective communication skills can propagate positive mental health into other aspects of our lives, including our personal relationships. By communicating with each other openly, actively, and positively; we can establish a solid foundation for long-term emotional and physical well-being.

Photo of Tim

Reality: certain individuals perform better when offered incentives.

Therefore, organizations should provide tangible rewards to employees to modify wellness habits.

For instance, give points, cash or non-profit donations for: holding "stand-up" meetings; converting to a treadmill desk; altering diet (e.g., eat nutritious snacks several times per day); recruiting-then-committing to an exercise buddy.

Plus, senior management must sanction the program (e.g., select a firm-wide task force with annual budget); and ask staff/vendors for up front input to devise initiatives (this step will ensure buy-in).

By setting extra perks to boost a person's healthcare, these proactive types will push colleagues to improve their outcomes, too.

Photo of Zhien

have a routine examination might be helpful, nothing could be more useful than a doctor saying "you've got a cancer." and nothing could be more surprise than doctor saying "It is a early stage cancer, don't worry too much"

Photo of justinemily

Millions of people suffer from health and fitness problems because they prefer variety of things for eating like spices food always, then go to a cup of tea, then they go for milk and so on. Why this happen because of less knowledge.
I want to say please don't eat regular as it is our stomach which need 3 hours break to digest a normal vegetarian food while 72 hours it take to digest red meat.
Another thing is exercise - people don't prefer regular exercise and that is the man reason of obesity.

So here are some healthy tips hop you will like as i have searched on internet through - [removed by moderator]

1. Eat Fruits two time in day
2. Take light Meal in night.
3. Drink 10 to 12 glass of water.
4. morning exercise is better that energizes you whole day.
5. Do not prefer oily food as increase Cholesterol level in blood.

Stay healthy and this will only done with proper time management.

Photo of Scott

WHOOOOO WONNN?

Photo of OpenIDEO

Check 'em out: http://www.openideo.com/open/well-work/winning-concepts/

Photo of Johan

What will happen now? any timeplan? any advice?

Photo of Ian

There are so many initiatives that are easily attainable , yet not recognized or implemented. My previous company had 6 floors, and each floor (which really was not that big), had 2 soda vending machines and 2 snack vending machines. The soda vending machines only had unhealthy drinks that are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, simply as a way to keep us going. The snack machines weren't much better. We also did not have structured work hours - some people came in at 8am and left at 10pm. My first point would be to completely eliminate any sugary drinks from the building and replace them with healthier alternatives, with the same going for the snack machines. I believe both should be complimentary, because someone is more likely to grab something on the way to meeting than to have to pay for it, which they would rather go out to the street to buy. This will ultimately change the mindset of the employee, who could consider a healthier option at the grocery store, and initiating awareness of these alternatives to friends and the family. My second point is to make working hours semi-flexible. If it turns out that a person is putting in 10-14 hour days, the option of hiring an assistant should be explored. Employers are frequently oblivious to the workload of certain people. This will enable employees to be able to go home at a reasonable hour to spend time with their families, which is important in mental wellness. It also gives the employee extra time and energy to hit the gym a couple of times a week, hopefully bringing along their families.

Photo of Mark

I love how this thread stresses community. If everyone is doing wellness that it is a lot easier to do and if it is fun to do people will want to do it even more. How are we gonna do that? Our company took it up a notch and threw in fun, competition and of course money to get the desired result. What we are doing is the Biggest Loser Challenge which is based on a weight loss game show in the US. We all paid 20 dollars and whoever loses the largest percentage of weight wins the money. There is a weekly weigh in and you would be amazed at how many people started to talk about exercise, food and it brought the company much closer together. They also struck a deal with the gym on the first floor of our office and a lot of people now work out before work which brings in even more community spirit. Will this work for the masses? I don’t think so. But if for sure worked for us! We lost a collective 1100 pounds the last time we did this!

Photo of Minh

I think one small way to build healthy communities within the workplace is to allow and encourage employees to take spontaneous group breaks. These breaks would contribute to increased productivity, physical wellbeing, and a closer-knit team. Walking across the street as a team for a coffee or a frozen yogurt break would be a good example of this. Researchers have found that we're more productive if we work in 45 minute blocks and then take small ten minute breaks. Empowering employees to take these types of breaks would not only increase productivity, but it would also allow employees to fit in a bit of exercise into their day and build rapport with co-workers.

Photo of ranjitha

You should do what you love,that is the only way to be happy with the work you do and keep your work life helthier

Photo of cyril

Today the generation is all about adoptaition of technology, I feel the food habbits and culture needs to be reorganized. It is not about smart work, but it is all about hard work ensure that we walk. encourage out door games.

Photo of Kasra

Also one thing worth writing about, an example close to home. The retirement age in Ontario changed from 65 to however long your fit to work (doctors approval is needed). Since then my father had been going to the gym everyday and also having a healthier diet, therefore, he is hoping this will allow him to work longer. These changes have helped great. Sore back, and knees are no longer their and he seems a lot younger. Maybe if their were to be some sort of incentive (similar to my fathers) that could help?

Photo of Kasra

Has it been considered the health benefits of LEED certified office building? For example if the employee where to understand their offices health benefits they would consider to bring that to their everyday lives. Sometimes people have this idea of a treadmill desk however, it seems a bit 1984. I know some employers give benefits and encourage exercise and when they are healthy and lose weight they get prizes?

Photo of Rohit

In my opinion the current state of mind of the employee is very important as far as his performance and well being at work is concerned. It is often noticed that people who feel over worked end up being stressed and there are adverse effects on their health. Most health related issues at work are also due to stress. The main issue here is to extract maximum out of an employee at that same time not make him/her feel 'tired'. How do we tackle this issue? According to me ,there are a few solutions to this:

1. Have fixed and moderate working hours: What I mean here is fix the work timings such that the people come in at a certain fixed time and leave the office at a certain time. An 8-5 work schedule seems reasonable.
Also make employees work in moderate spells of time. Do not elongate the working hours on a rigorous task which leads to saturation of the mind and ultimately leads to lack to ideas, innovation and motivation to work. Instead of having one long lunch hour people can have multiple breaks of say 20-25 mins.
Since at workplaces you normally perform repetitive tasks, that get boring and stressful after sometime its important to keep individuals excited. Yerkes-Dodson law of performance states that an individual can perform known tasks better if he/she has high levels of arousal.

2. Introducing Concepts like power naps: Studies have suggested that power naps help improve mental performance of an individual. Also there are other things like having a games room, or may be a rest and relaxation room might help. This should be separate from the working space and should provide an ambience that induces calmness into the individual.

3. Introduce Hang out evenings and picnics: This not only helps increase the camaraderie among co-workers but also eases out any tension that might arise to do misunderstandings and arguments that commonly arise in a corporate workspace.

4. When at home its family time: When I look at work and an individual, I look at it as a relationship. In every relationship the individual needs his/her space. intruding into that space leads inconsistencies in that relationship. In this context, pestering the individual constantly when at home would deprive him/her of his/her space and would lead to inconsistencies in the form of added stress and tension. Also the individual would not be happy to not spend time with his/her family.

5. Promote food that makes people happy and is good for health: Research suggests that there are certain food items that keep individuals happy and energetic through out the day. Promote such kinds of food items at the cafeteria.

6 Workspace should be conducive to work and not stressful: this is depicted in a classic manner by IDEO. People should be able to design their own workspaces. This helps inculcate a sense of comfort in the individual rather than a feeling of being pushed into some space where he/she does not have a sense of belonging.

Photo of Rohit

In my opinion the current state of mind of the employee is very important as far as his performance and well being at work is concerned. It is often noticed that people who feel over worked end up being stressed and there are adverse effects on their health. Most health related issues at work are also due to stress. The main issue here is to extract maximum out of an employee at that same time not make him/her feel 'tired'. How do we tackle this issue? According to me ,there are a few solutions to this:

1. Have fixed and moderate working hours: What I mean here is fix the work timings such that the people come in at a certain fixed time and leave the office at a certain time. An 8-5 work schedule seems reasonable.
Also make employees work in moderate spells of time. Do not elongate the working hours on a rigorous task which leads to saturation of the mind and ultimately leads to lack to ideas, innovation and motivation to work. Instead of having one long lunch hour people can have multiple breaks of say 20-25 mins.
Since at workplaces you normally perform repetitive tasks, that get boring and stressful after sometime its important to keep individuals excited. Yerkes-Dodson law of performance states that an individual can perform known tasks better if he/she has high levels of arousal.

2. Introducing Concepts like power naps: Studies have suggested that power naps help improve mental performance of an individual. Also there are other things like having a games room, or may be a rest and relaxation room might help. This should be separate from the working space and should provide an ambience that induces calmness into the individual.

3. Introduce Hang out evenings and picnics: This not only helps increase the camaraderie among co-workers but also eases out any tension that might arise to do misunderstandings and arguments that commonly arise in a corporate workspace.

4. When at home its family time: When I look at work and an individual, I look at it as a relationship. In every relationship the individual needs his/her space. intruding into that space leads inconsistencies in that relationship. In this context, pestering the individual constantly when at home would deprive him/her of his/her space and would lead to inconsistencies in the form of added stress and tension. Also the individual would not be happy to not spend time with his/her family.

5. Promote food that makes people happy and is good for health: Research suggests that there are certain food items that keep individuals happy and energetic through out the day. Promote such kinds of food items at the cafeteria.

6 Workspace should be conducive to work and not stressful: this is depicted in a classic manner by IDEO. People should be able to design their own workspaces. This helps inculcate a sense of comfort in the individual rather than a feeling of being pushed into some space where he/she does not have a sense of belonging.

Photo of Richard

In the 11 years since our company's founding, our team has worked 40 hour work weeks, never weekends, and we've never denied a vacation request. We don't have "work from home" options, we don't supply our team cellphones and laptops, and we chastise our team if they are caught checking email while on vacation. Most organizations that claim "work flexibility" are really saying: "We give you all these things so that you are available for work 24/7.) Their children then see parents checking email on their smartphones while eating dinner, and sitting on the beach with their laptop. We still meet our deadlines because we have organized our work style in such a way that if we need more done we can add more people, or shift them from lower priority work to higher priority work.

There is so much talk these days about "sustainability:" economies, ecologies, energy sources, food sources, climates, beaches, forests, habitats, etc. It is time we shift at least a portion of this discussion to "human sustainability."

Often the pace we work at is for so little. Most of the projects in my industry (the industry of designing and developing software) that operate in "death march" mode fail to ever see the light of day.

I appreciate the impetus of this openIDEO effort. I look forward to being a positive contributor to the ideation within this conversation.

Photo of An Old

I'm intrigued with your company's lack of gadgets - I think it's very easy to get caught up in work at home and infuse your life with more stress if you have full access. A great tip I got from one of my coworkers who worked later hours than myself was to use email timers for evening emails to be delivered in the morning. It was a small nod of respect for my time and my responses were always more productive when I was focused on work.

Photo of Amanda

My work schedule dictates my life schedule. Clients, deadlines and meetings and achieving corporate goals, often are telling of how much I accomplish outside of work on any given day. If employers push and overwork their employees, we don't have time to pursue our passions: music, arts, science, athletics, family, volunteering etc.

Refocusing and balancing our work life with our personal and physical lives produces optimally fit and balanced employees. Exercise, wellness and sleeping shape our attitudes. By prioritizing health and wellness and allotting time for ourselves to us to push our bodies physically, it's becomes easier to push our minds into creating new and innovative ideas.

Here are four ways I think we could make our workforce happier and healthier:

1. A new type of happy hour. Instead of leaving happy hour until the end of work day, I propose moving happy hour to noon. Rather than drinking at the end of the day at a bar and waking up unable to function the next morning, I propose that a happy hour in the middle of the day. The new happy hour is devoted to making us happy. This can be anything from yoga, meditation, group exercise, cycling or some other rejuvenating activity. I've found that going for a 30 minute run during lunch gives me something to look forward to and also keeps me awake and ready for the afternoon activities.

2. Changing the business hours. Sometimes I have to be at work really early in the morning to work with remote teams. Other days, it doesn't really matter what time I'm in the office. I would propose that we change standard business hours to 10 or 11, so we can have time in the morning to spend time walking the kids to school without rushing, to make a healthy meal in the morning and possibly even squeeze in a work out before heading to work.
  
3. Making vacations a requirement. Taking a break from our professional lives is essential for producing anything creative and keeping us inspired to see unseen parts of the world or discovering a new hobby. Forcing employees to take vacations to explore individual pursuits inspires thought and innovation. Even a staycation gives us time to de-stress and reassess our priorities and goals.

4. Separation of Eat and Work: We separate Church and State, so why don't we separate the time space we eat and where we work (note: I write this as I am eating cereal from my desk.)? Snacking and stress eating can happen for 40 hours a week, if we're not careful. Limiting people to eat in one area might sound outrageous, but it may encourage community, since everyone eats in the common eating room.

Photo of Riddhima

Amanda has some great points! To add to that, every organization could make exercising necessary, like we got extra credits for being in a sport in college.

- In order to have employees be efficient the organization should have an active room for employee to run on a treadmill or have Yoga mats with Yoga Cd's. Having an active room could work both ways good and bad.

- Community exercises like gardening, group cooking challenges is a good way to build awareness around what you eat. The timing of this could be of high importance so you can break from work and come back fresh.

Photo of Dario

Employers could be motivated economically in order to improve health and wellness of their employees. Insurance companies could give premium discounts to those organizations that promote wellness: healthy cafeterias, gym facilities, flexible work hours, ...
Insurance companies and employers may reward those employees that keep good health conditions (phisical shape, appropriate blood pressure, low cholesterol levels, ...)

Photo of michael

I believe there is a direct link between depression, diagnosed or otherwise, obesity and diabetes.

People over-eat when they are anxious, angry, stressed, bored, sad or lonely. When they experience these emotions they "self medicate" with food. Some of these people will have been diagnosed with depression, others will not. Plenty of these people will lead normal lives functioning well at work and at home, but they will not be in control of their eating habits. This is a manifestation of anxiety and or low self worth which are symptoms of depression.

Photo of Jennifer

Taking care of your health, includes helping take care of those around you as well. To help reduce the spreading of illness. I would propose if someone gets sick, the workplace should feel a supportive enough of an environment for you to stay home and rest, or to work from home if you can. Using Skype, phone and email as ways to communicate. It creates a happier and healthier workplace!

Photo of Laurie

This IS wonderful. Lets mark off safe walking trails in neighborhoods --a 1/2 and 1 mile route, etc.. Lets place UPC code scanners on the nieghborhood track, give everyone a swipe card or better yet an ap where distance walked can be recorded. Have healthy awards presented in 5 mile increments. Neighborhoods could compete; schools, offices; community organizations, etc. We're on a roll....!!!

Photo of Anne

marking off distances on established routes is a great idea and neighborhoods can take this on themselves!

Photo of Ed

I think this is a wonderful challenge. I am eager to dive in and see what I can contribute. I was very interested in a start-up I discovered on twitter back in 2008/2009. It was founded by Jen McCabe and issued challenges for bursts of microfitness. With the growing penetration of social tools within organizations I believe the platform is there to achieve a critical mass for engaging people in healthier habits.

Photo of Riley

The necessity of consistent travel of the greatest challenges that today's working population faces as business becomes increasingly global. And staying healthy while traveling can be tricky.

Companies might make staying healthy easier for their employees by simply providing resources to make better decisions while traveling, including lists of restaurants in major cities and airports where healthier eating options are available to subsidizing exercise classes while traveling on business or promoting participation in a program like the Westin Workout (http://www.westinnewbalance.com/gear-lending.php), where travelers can borrow workout gear for $5 and avoid having to pack sneakers and spandex in their carry-ons.

And, as always, inspiration is most resonant and credible when it comes from the top down. Leaders who set examples of healthy lifestyle choices are more likely to have resonating messages with their teams about making positive health decisions than those leaders that don't practice what they preach.

Photo of Cheena Malhotra

Creating Health communities within and beyond the workplace can be best achieved by nurturing peer educators as health ambassadors/ change agents with in the workplace, who can be well trained to advocate Healthy Living practices even outside the workplace in their nearby communities, amongst the relatives etc. Project HOPE developed a holistic program as follows:
Program overview:
• motivate and assist work unit functionaries to adopt healthy habits and lifestyles
• Heighten awareness among senior, middle and junior level workers about the prevention, detection and care of NCD.
• Reduce loss of working days at work unit
A training package developed consisted of
• Advocacy material
• Training Manual
• Monitoring plan
• PowerPoint and flipchart, flipbooks detailing modular training
Tools developed for lifestyle changes were
• A story-board for anchoring of discussions during training sessions
• Posters for lifestyle change support customized to accommodate cultural variations
• Pocket-size booklets to disseminate carry-home messages
• Communication, role play and behaviour change materials
• Tools for self assessment of NCD risk
There is a great need of such programs to create solutions to problems like NCD. To achieve it to the fullest there is need to conduct needs assessment in various work units and associated communities, involvement of change agents in various welfare activities,Internal mobilization of funds from parent factory for sustainability, collaboration with workplace management and Governments ,Long-term project design to facilitate and track desired lifestyle changes.

Photo of José

Can we transform our resting equipments and spaces, like couches and living rooms, in physical interaction stations?

Photo of Donald

Diet and health are understood to be intimately linked, but many of us make poor choices despite understanding this link. I believe this is driven by the cost and ease of access for the less healthy options, with more processed foods being cheaper and more readily available. Given the need to stem this tide, more effort is needed through public and private efforts to change the availability of healthier options, in terms of both cost and ease of access. Local food vendors often look to companies to build their base of available clientele, for example. This typically is addressed simply through available coupons, etc. A first step would be for companies to take a more active role in promoting local vendors that provide healhier meals, perhaps providing promotional additional financial support for reputable, local providers versus your typical fast food vendor.

Photo of stephanie

This makes me think of NYC, where Mayor Bloomberg has emphasized health through various campaigns and policies such as banning smoking in restaurants and bars and requiring chain restaurants to post the calorie content of food it sells. In NYC, the City of New York is the largest single employer. Many if not most City employees buy lunch rather than bring and eat homemade lunch. Applying Mr. Humbert's idea, the City could incentivize local food-oriented businesses to sell healthful lunches to employees and incentivize City employees to eat healthily, e.g., by providing tax breaks to the former and meal discount coupons to the latter. Or maybe create some kind of point system through which employees who meet certain health bench marks receive some kind(s) of benefit(s) for their cost savings to their employer, the tax-paying public.

Photo of Jeffrey

I couldn't agree more, and I think it comes down to motivations and availability. Recently, I've seen something amazing start in a very organic way (no pun intended) at the school where I teach. An employee was laid off last year due to budget cuts. However, she took this as an opportunity to start a healthy-foods catering business - something she's always dreamed of doing. She delivers healthy - and I might add extremely delicious - lunches to our campus every week. She's since expanded to other schools and campuses on other days of the week. Each week's menu comes in an email message about the health information and impacts of every ingredient in the meal. We teachers are quite busy, and it's fantastic to have a healthy meal delivered right to your classroom! Not surprisingly, the catering business has spread rapidly, to almost a third of the staff - almost 50 subscribers, and growing. I'm a much happier teacher when I'm well-fed ;-)

Photo of Joana

If we pass most of our time at work... We should invest in having availability of healthier options at work.
Simple things can be implemented at a low budget. What if you only have healthy food available at work? Presentations about how to balance work and a better life?

This challenge is very important as changing a company's culture for a healthier one is not an easy thing to do. It is a long run and we should start asap...

Researching what the "best places to work" are already doing is a good starting point.

Photo of An Old

"We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us." Sir Winston Churchill

Photo of John

Work needs to be dignified and appreciated..., again. The craft in craftsmanship has been lost in the rush to make everything at the lowest cost. If we want everything to be the cheapest, then the health of workers will be neglected in order to compete in a world that wants the cheapest, no matter the long term cost to all of us.

Photo of John

Companies need to be encouraged to make work situations more meaningful in simple ways that don't require big budgets to implement. Such practices will act as a catalyst for more improvement as companies see happier workers and smarter productivity (as a by product of such improvement).

Photo of Mike

A work based youtube platform that educates people around the world about the exercises, food choices, sustainable work practices, etc that really work. The most popular and effective videos enter programs that are offered to businesses as the best practice standard to increase employee satisfaction, sustainable practices, and reduce turnover.

Photo of John

Inspirational stories may already exist within the Bupa global network, but be below the radar screen. We need a way to tap into small communities across the globe to see what is being done locally (small shops, offices etc.), and working and could be shared on a larger scale, or even combined to create greater synergy and a stronger outcome.

Photo of Aaron

Glad to see the emphasis on community in this challenge. This is especially important, particularly in the long run as community builds accountability and accountability breeds consistency.

Photo of John

An awareness of preventative or holistic health modalities must be part of this process. Alternative and cheaper forms of health maintenance practices such as acupuncture need to be introduced into the health care system. Acupuncture, is fundamentally an illness prevention system and one of the cheapest to implement, without the need for the latest or largest forms of technology....., at the highest cost.

Photo of Laurie

Less sitting, more standing