Numerous medical studies have shown that the sedentary lifestyles of office workers sitting in front of a computer for eight hours a day is dangerous to human health. In fact, as one major study showed last year, that kind of non-active lifestyle can increase a person’s risk of premature death by as much as 60 per cent.
This year, Wheaton Precious Metals International Ltd. in Camana Bay wanted to ensure its employees are active, and found a unique wellness initiative in which to do that: the Wellness Without Limits programme led by personal trainer Kym Bailey.
“Wheaton saw the programme as an opportunity to offer employees professional guidance and resources to build a healthy, happy and balanced work lifestyle,” says Ounesh Reebye, Wheaton’s vice president, streaming operations and metal sales. “The company created and committed to a six-month wellness initiative, and Kym provided one-on-one coaching and support for employees.”
Kym says that most corporate wellness programmes offered by gyms don’t really work, partially because once a person signs up, the motivation to go to the gym is solely up to the individual and people often stop going.
“With a gym, if you go or don’t go, no one cares,” she says. “I wanted to come up with a wellness initiative that people would stick with. With this programme, the participants are accountable to someone.”
Her programme includes interactive, online coaching that uses a mobile application that each participant must download. After initial one-on-one consultations with all of Wheaton’s participating employees, Kym developed a personalised training programme for each of them.
“Everyone has their own programme,” she says. “I don’t want to force people to do exercises they don’t enjoy doing.”
However, once the personalised programme was established, Kym does push the participants — through the app — to stick to the regimen in order to get them into the exercise routine. The programme also includes a nutritional element.
Ounesh says Wellness Without Limits is the first wellness programme Wheaton has tried. To make it more interesting, he says Wheaton added a “healthy competition” element, breaking the six-month programme into a series of competitions.
“The first phase was individual-based and focused on nurturing individual goals,” he says. “Each employee was asked to set a goal. At the end of two months, Kym selected a winner based on who had made the most progress towards their goal.”
The second competition focused on creating an environment at Wheaton where employees were encouraged to support a happy and healthy lifestyle, Ounesh says.
“For this phase we split the office in three teams and created challenges with a coordinated point system for making healthy choices such as eating five servings of veggies a day, drinking a minimum of six glasses of water per day, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and eliminating added sugars during work.” The yet-to-begin third phase will be a full-office challenge, he says.
The programme has been a productive platform to bring employees together both in and out of the office and it’s had benefits beyond just physical health, Ounesh says.
“It has been rewarding to see the growth in some individuals, and leadership in others,” he says, adding that the programme has also had a positive effect on the office environment.
In the long term, the desire is to bring about lifestyle changes for the Wheaton employees.
“We really hope employees will come out of this six-month programme with the skills and tool sets needed to keep going,” he says.