Before Wendy took over, health and wellbeing interventions at Bakkavor had been sporadic.
She knew they needed a more formal programme to both help staff improve their health and see the results of the progress they were making. Starting with leaflets about the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle, interest spread quickly by word of mouth.
“Right from the beginning, my colleagues were intrigued and keen to know more about the programme – there was a real buzz around the company.”
Initially, the programme focused on nutrition, providing leaflets on diet, waist measuring sessions and themed promotions. Spring into summer events proved especially popular, because as Wendy says “everybody wants to know how they can lose those winter pounds and get back into their summer clothes.”
Exercise has played a big part too, with free skipping ropes for staff and a 5,000 steps a week pedometer challenge that led to some determined competition across the company.
The aim is to get everyone involved, and then to give them support all the way: “It’s important to keep up the momentum, and monitor improvements such as waist circumference and BMI – which we offer to measure every three months to help colleagues to keep on track.”
Wendy also told us: “Senior management has been 100% supportive, and come up with some brilliant suggestions for challenges, including static bike races, indoor golf, portable basketball hoops, table tennis and a boxing stand. And, as the programme has evolved, it’s become more and more interactive, with colleagues contributing inventive new ideas for events to help everyone move forward together.”
The programme involves more than just Bakkavor’s staff - the ideas about diet and exercise that they pick up from the programme are passed on to their families and the wider community.
“At Bakkavor, we believe health and wellbeing is as important as production, and although it’s not easy, we do our best to build it into our daily routine. We’re already seeing positive results – it’s small steps forward to a healthier future together."