EXCLUSIVE: Tui UK and Ireland has launched a walking challenge to promote fitness and wellbeing among its employees.
The walking challenge, called Step To It, was launched at the end of April, and is aligned with National Walking Month, which runs from 6 May to 2 June.
Carolyn Parker, HR business partner at Tui UK and Ireland, said: “We’ve called it Step To It, which is two-fold. One reason is because it represents what the challenge is about, which is how many steps employees take, but it is also a call to action to get people motivated.”
Tui UK and Ireland has opened the challenge up to 20 teams of 10 members each. It is available to its 1,200 employees at its head office.
The travel organisation is working in partnership with Travel Luton, which is providing employees with starter packs that include a bag, a pedometer, a water bottle and walking maps.
Around the world by foot
The organisation’s product team has also been involved in defining the route, which will showcase some of Tui UK and Ireland’s key destinations and hotels for the summer 2014 season.
“Employees will all start at a particular point and, depending on how many steps they complete, they will reach new destinations,” said Parker.
“Teams will receive confirmation of what destination they are at and then will receive information about a hotel in that destination, so we’ll use it to promote some of our key products.
“They all start virtually in Antalya in Turkey and they will end up in Jamaica. There are 10 destinations they reach, virtually, through the course of the month. The team will virtually cover 10,282 miles.”
The virtual steps will be translated using a multiplier. Parker added: “Say you walked four miles, that might equate to 40 miles, and if a team of 10 walked it, that would be 400 miles.”
Tui UK and Ireland launched the challenge, which is part of its Your Life health and wellbeing programme, at an event on 1 May, handing out starter packs and explaining the rules of participation to employees.
During the organisation’s wellbeing day in June 2013, its occupational health team completed lifestyle assessments among employees and found that improving levels of activity and the regularity of activity was a key interest.
Parker said: “The walking challenge comes close to that. Because they’re wearing the pedometer, they will have 10,000 recommended steps per day.
“Hopefully, people will get into the swing of walking more versus using other modes of transport, even if it’s just taking the stairs instead of the lift. It is about how changes to daily behaviours can have a tangible benefit to overall health.”
Tui UK and Ireland will also survey employees at the beginning and end of the walking challenge to identify why they are participating and whether those reasons have been satisfied.
“It’s nice to have a fun challenge like this, but it’s important that we can demonstrate there is a return on investment, and really sell the benefit, so maybe next time around we can get more people taking part and get a bit more funding from the business,” added Parker.