Iris Worldwide uses an on-site personal trainer to encourage physical activity


Marketing and advertising organisation Iris Worldwide launched a physical activity programme five years ago for the 400 staff in its London-based head office, with the aim of energising and motivating employees who were putting in long hours tackling a demanding workload.

Partnering with 9tolife, Iris Worldwide has an on-site personal trainer four afternoons a week, providing a base programme of weekly personal training, circuit, and yoga sessions, as well as sports massage. Over the years, the programme has developed to include an additional holistic emphasis that includes specialist workshops around mindfulness and stress, as well as advice on nutrition. The personal trainer also organises monthly or bi-monthly health checks for employees, which are subsidised by Iris Worldwide.

As a result of these wellbeing interventions, since introducing the programme, Iris Worldwide has experienced 450 fewer sick days in total per annum, equating to a 25% reduction in the average sickness absence levels. Engaging with the programme has also led employees to form their own clubs, such as a football club and a running club.

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Claire Humphris, chief marketing officer Europe at Iris Worldwide, says: “What it has created is a positive culture around exercise and time away from your desk. People feel like they’ve been given permission to activate things around exercise at work and during work time. If we want to carry on with the same momentum and dynamism, we need to make sure we’re energising all of our staff.

“The lines between work and life have blurred completely because of how internet-based we all are, so if it’s blurring in one direction where work is spilling over into home life, you have to make it blur back the other way where you can bring more elements of time off or things that benefit [employees’] health in the workplace.”