RSK supports heart health and wider wellbeing through staff pedometer challenges

In February 2015, environmental consultancy RSK launched an employee pedometer challenge to encourage staff to stay active as part of Healthy Heart Month. The challenge, which saw 50 teams of five employees achieve a total step count of 62,624,561 over the course of the month, ran alongside a range of activities to promote health and wellbeing. This included fundraising initiatives for the British Heart Foundation, and a quiz to increase awareness of heart health.

The organisation runs wellbeing initiatives on a quarterly basis to support the health of its 1,600-strong global workforce. In May 2015, it launched a Let’s Do Lunch healthy-eating campaign to encourage staff to take their lunch break away from their desks and to interact with colleagues.

This was followed by Give a Thought to Sport Day in October 2015, which looked to highlight the link between sedentary behaviour and health conditions, such as heart disease, as well as providing a fun way to promote physical activity and healthy lifestylesIn addition to spectators, around 150 employees took part in the sports day events, which featured old favourites such as the egg and spoon race.

In October 2016, RSK introduced its second pedometer challenge, which saw an increase in participation rates. Over four weeks, 63 teams globally took a total of 89,434,971 steps. Employees could choose to track their step count via pedometers given out by the organisation or through their own wearable devices. While the organisation did not publish individual or team step counts, it did promote the challenge leaders through its intranet each week, as well as sharing useful information, such as walking tips, via its Twitter page.

The aim was to encourage everyone to get involved, irrespective of their usual activity level. To do this, the organisation celebrated best improvers; the most-improved individual was recognised with a Fitbit Charge HR. There were also prizes for the most-improved team, the winning team, the most steps walked as an individual, as well as best team walking tip, best individual walking tip, best team name, and best team photo. The prizes had a health focus and looked to reinforce team spirit and social interaction, for example, healthy hampers, fruit baskets, walking books, and keepsakes such as mugs with the best team photo on and keyrings embossed with the best team name.

RSK also wanted to make sure that all global staff who were interested in taking part in the pedometer challenge could do so, including those who worked in smaller offices who may not have been able to form a full team locally. With this in mind, Zoe Brunswick, HR director, formulated teams from across the organisation, which also helped to create and strengthen connections across the business.

“The key for us is around having fun, raising awareness, and social interaction,” says Brunswick. “We are such a diverse business and we’ve got various teams, they could be sat in the same office and never interact with each other, so these sorts of [initiatives] are about bringing the business together and breaking down those barriers.”