The Wellcome Trust uses app to engage staff with physical activity

Photo: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images

Medical research charity The Wellcome Trust has a large nine-storey building, as well as two floors below ground, at its main office in Euston, London.

The charity has a wellbeing group that meets regularly to discuss how to improve the health of staff, which suggested encouraging more people to use the stairs.

The organisation partnered with Stepjockey to put this into practice in 2016, with employees encouraged to download the app and signs placed in the stairwells to raise awareness.

Sam Conaghan, health and safety manager at the Wellcome Trust, says: “We had our first challenge in August last year where we pitted teams of five against each other and had a leaderboard. We had a good take-up, with about 100 of our 750 staff signing up.”

The Wellcome Trust measured the use of the stairs before and after the challenge, and found a notable increase in the number of people taking the stairs afterwards, even if they were not using the app. “It has changed behaviour,” says Conaghan.

She believes the initiative has helped to reach staff who do not use the organisation’s gym. “Not everyone is comfortable or has the time to go to the gym,” she says.

The charity ran a second challenge in February 2017, where it offered different prizes designed to attract new users, and it has a third one planned for June. “During the challenges there is a general buzz and an increase in motivation,” says Conaghan. “Overall, the feedback has been very good.”