Scottish walking charity encourages businesses to get out walking
A GROUP of employees at a Glasgow business have hit a walking challenge milestone, covering more than 7000 miles in just four weeks.
45 Capita employees completed a Step Count Challenge which saw nine teams take over 15 million steps towards the end of last year while staying connected virtually with colleagues.
The organisation encouraged its workforce to get out walking more, with the help of Scotland’s national walking charity Paths for All who created a tailor-made Step Count Challenge, with participants stating they have continued walking ever since.
This comes as the charity are encouraging businesses in Glasgow to create their own bespoke challenges to get employees out walking as working from home continues, to boost mental and physical wellbeing.
Tracey Dudek, Operations Manager at Capita in Glasgow, said: “I’ve now completed my fourth Step Count Challenge and every time it gets better and better, it is so simple to set up and use – I now walk more than ever before.
“The challenge was the perfect way to get employees moving during lockdown whilst everyone was adjusting to the home office, it also created a little bit of healthy competition between our nine teams as they battled to get the highest number of steps.
“It was nearly the first topic of conversation in all meetings as everyone wanted to find out if others had got their steps in for the day and if individuals hadn’t we would rally round and encourage them to take a break at the next free slot in the diary to get outside and get their steps up.
“New conversations began amongst colleagues and brought the conversation of physical, mental and social benefits of walking to the surface, creating connections between people who were already active, and those that wanted to get active.”
Daily local walks boast an array of positive mental and physical health benefits, whilst helping to connect individuals socially, online or with one individual outside, as exercise remains one of the few essential reasons for leaving your home.
Paths for All offers tailor-made step count challenges which invites organisations of all sizes to set-up its own walking challenge to keep its workforce active by connecting colleagues working remotely.
44-year-old Tracey added: “All of the employees that took part benefited from increased productivity by fitting in a walk during the working day, it provided a much-needed opportunity to clear their head and focus on something besides work.
“Some colleagues went the extra mile and even incorporated hill walking into the challenge, an activity they have now actually kept up and has totally changed their lifestyle.
“The Step Count Challenge was the perfect fit for our employees and I’d encourage more businesses too look at how they can put wellbeing to the forefront of discussions, especially as working from home continues.
“The main thing is everyone that took part thoroughly enjoyed it, the challenge was fun but also great for our health and wellbeing – which is a complete bonus!”
Organisations across the country including Queen Margaret University, the Scottish Ambulance Service, and Commonwealth Games Scotland are also encouraging staff to be more active through Paths for All’s Walk at Work Award and Step Count Challenge.
The call to action for businesses to get their workforce moving comes as it is revealed many adults continue to sit for long periods of time while at work. Paths for All say workplaces must take action to reduce sedentary behaviour and improve health and wellbeing.
Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All, said: “The workplace is where the majority of us spend a great deal of our time, whether it be at your adapted new home office or in the office during more normal times, it’s incredibly important that staff take a break from the screen and employers put wellbeing at the forefront of their mind.
“Walking is one of the simplest and best things we can do for our physical, social and mental health. It’s free, you don’t need any special equipment, and it can be easily incorporated into the average working day.
“The accreditation and challenges help businesses put their staff’s health and wellbeing at the heart of what they do whilst making exercise fun.
“The bespoke challenges are tailored to a business’ own teams, while our award gives employers the chance to earn a recognised accreditation – with support throughout the whole process.
“Walking can connect people socially in many ways, whether that be virtually or meeting with one other person socially distanced outdoors.
“We all need to play our part in helping to make the nation healthier and happier, in both a work and personal sense.”
The Walk At Work Award is aimed to reverse the trend of inactive workplaces and the accreditation supports businesses in tackling issues of staff wellbeing and corporate carbon footprint, while enhancing productivity.
Employers receive one-to-one support on how to create a walking culture at work as well as examples of best practice and where to find extra help and resources
The Step Count Challenge is made up of teams of five and has one simple aim of encouraging people to walk more to feel happier and healthier, with participants having access to leader boards, goal setting and team chat to keep them motivated and connected.
Businesses can register a team of five for just £30 – and can customise their own challenges with tailored branding and personalised messaging.
Paths for All believes regular walking is key to leading a happy and healthy life, and it’s even more important for people to continue enjoying short, local walks where it is safe and appropriate to do so.
For more information on Paths for All, visit: https://www.pathsforall.org.uk
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