As the Health and Fitness Consultant for Capgemini, my role is about attracting and retaining our employees by ensuring that they have the right environment in which to enhance their health and wellbeing. My colleague Deb Biddulph and I head up the Mental Health Activities under our Active Inclusion streams.
Capgemini have invested in their employee’s health and wellbeing by supporting and regenerating the gym area creating three workspaces for employees to improve their fitness, giving employees a place to rehabilitate themselves from injury or ill-health and a gym to network and improve their sense of community at work.
To help improve physical health, employees have access to an extensive gym, studio and pace room area which is a circuit room with kinetic kit that operates with a traffic light to guide you round. In the outdoor spaces we run a TurfUOut gardening club. Capgemini is a Gold Corporate Member with Shropshire Wildlife Trust so we are able to enhance our green spaces with bug houses, allotments (the food grown is donated to the local food banks in Telford and Dawley), butterfly beds and even a Pride Rainbow flower bed.
The Gym hosts a range of classes that are available for employees to access. These classes include yoga, specific weight training classes, meditation and mindfulness, fascial stretch classes to improve mobility and decrease pain for those suffering with impaired mobility and more lively FIT classes (focused interval training), Move It classes which is a slightly gentler version of the FIT – although I’m not sure the attendees of Move It would call it gentle!
The Gym has been well established for many years at Capgemini and 36% of the workforce is currently an active member. This is a great achievement for our health and wellbeing objectives at Capgemini as gym membership in the West Midlands is 10.5%.
Looking at ways we can support and enhance good mental health at work is a focus for Capgemini. We signed the Time to Change pledge two years ago and introduced Mental Health Champions across all our sites in Telford and the UK.
Deb and I work closely with Telford Mind and have invited them to create a bespoke training certification for our Champions where they received eight additional awareness sessions for a WELL-Certified after the yearlong programme.
During May’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we opted for a month of events for employees to take part in. Some of the topics covered were Menopause Café’s, TED Talks, Anxiety Awareness Sessions expertly led by Telford Mind, Litter Picks and drop in sessions for stress management, cancer awareness and TurfUOut gardening sessions.
In October we invited men to stand shoulder to shoulder raising awareness of the number of men who take their lives each week in the UK. We know men are less likely to reach out for support and so we run campaigns like this to make it easier for those who need to talk to do so. Over 120 men joined in and we also highlighted the excellent Zero Suicide Alliance training.
Capgemini encourages volunteering and this week we have 30 employees visiting Wrekin Housing Trust and Telford Job Junctions. Our volunteers will work with local elderly residents to improve their digital experiences and for those who have been out of work for a time and need some confidence in writing their CV’s and then loading them to various online portals.
The investment in our employees demonstrates that employees’ health and wellbeing at Capgemini is taken seriously. The driver for these events – to attract and retain our employees and by creating these opportunities at work, we hope to provide the work-life balance that so many people struggle to find.
What employees say about health and wellbeing at Capgemini:
‘It’s not just the gym – it’s the whole ethos around driving for health benefits in a positive and non-judgemental way. The gym provides a focus and draws you to exercise that simply wouldn’t happen if it wasn’t so accessible’
“With the stresses and strains of work, the camaraderie found in the gym exercising with colleagues is a great escape that helps even out the mind-body imbalance! Can’t say I always love the thought of it, but I’m always pleased with myself afterwards!!!”
“It has been an amazing platform to start working on my physical and mental health. It felt a lot less intimidating to start here than at a public gym, plus the convenience, communal atmosphere and the expertise available has really helped to keep me motivated.”
“Being diagnosed with dangerously high hypertension last year I hadn’t realised how far reaching this condition was and its true risk to my health and general wellbeing. Having turned to the gym for advice, I was promptly given a health assessment, placed on a dedicated training program and provided with dietary advice to help tackle this condition. The gym staff closely monitored my training progress in conjunction with regular check-ups with my GP.”
“Having the facilities and training specialist on-site has been a major benefit to me bringing this condition under control. I’ve found it easy to commit to my training without it impacting on my working day or adding to my commuting commitments. There is a great gym community within the organisation and the gym staff continually provide guidance, updates and general fitness information to its members.”
“Having the Gym on site allows a greater work life balance. Coming from a commuting role before joining Capgemini, I struggled to motivate and find time to attend an external gym after work often being too tired or over worked. Having this on site with the facilities offered and being able to attend when suits me and my workload really helps to keep a healthy mind and body, reduce stress and gain time back in my day.”
“As a working mum having a gym at the office is invaluable. It allows me to take action to improve my health and wellbeing without having to worry about who will look after my children. Without this facility I would find it really difficult to take the time to look after myself in this way. The physical benefits of attending a gym are obvious but the benefits for my mental health are just as important. When times are busy and stressful it’s great to be able to pop downstairs and do a class, attend a PT session or use the gym equipment.”
Become an active workplace
There is help available to employers to help create a happier, healthier workplace. Energize Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin run workshops for businesses who feel they need confidence and inspiration to make changes in the workplace.
These workshops equip businesses with knowledge around why health and wellbeing is important, how to create an active workplace, the key challenges for businesses face, and the barriers employees face when trying to improve health and wellbeing at work.
By Rachel Preece
Health and Fitness Consultant at Capgemini