American Express extends wellness scheme to Italy

EXCLUSIVE: American Express has rolled out its global wellness programme across its offices in Italy.

It has now launched its Healthy Living programme in 15 of the 45 countries in which the credit card company is based.

The launch, which took place in early November, included a series of presentations for its 500 employees based in Rome. The presentations were streamed live to the Milan office, where 150 staff are based.

Breckon Jones, director of health and benefits, Europe Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at American Express, said: “The country manager spoke about the link between mental and physical health leading to good performance.

“I spoke about the global Healthy Living programme and how we see differences in themes in different countries, although the programme look and feel and the brand is the same from market to market.”

A motivational speaker, Davide Tizzano, an Olympic gold medal rower, also addressed the workforce about the link between mind and body. Jones added: “He used his own example about training for sport, having to be mentally resilient and manage his energy in order to perform at his peak, and talking about how that translates into the business environment.”

The Healthy Living programme is structured around four areas: nutrition, exercise, healthcare and emotional wellbeing. The main focus for Italy is nutrition, and its link with emotional wellbeing.

American Express will introduce nutrition counselling, with an onsite nutritionist at the Rome and Milan offices once a fortnight. “People can also have one-to-one consultations,” said Jones. “The programme is not just to keep a food diary or to be told what kind of food they should be buying, there is also an element about self-esteem and coaching, and helping people to think about the importance of eating the right foods to manage their energy and their emotions.”

The Italian offices previously offered health benefits, including onsite doctors and nurses, but did not have an integrated focus on health and wellbeing.

The Healthy Living programme is part of a wider business strategy to engage employees. American Express has also introduced its diversity and inclusion programme in Italy, as well as its flexible working programme.

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“These have all gone together in Italy this year as a strategy to increase employee engagement,” added Jones.

The Healthy Living programme is in place for employees across Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Norway, Sweden and the UK.