Step up for the workforce pedometer challenge

NDET 27-9-12 MC 2'Julia Rodgerson and Jon Cooper supporting the pedometer scheme
NDET 27-9-12 MC 2'Julia Rodgerson and Jon Cooper supporting the pedometer scheme

BUSINESSES in Chesterfield and north east Derbyshire are being urged to step up and join a fantastic new healthy workplace campaign aimed at boosting team morale, fitness, productivity and profits.

The Derbyshire Times, Derbyshire chamber of commerce and NHS Derbyshire County have joined forces to set up the Workplace and Workforce Challenge for companies to form a staff team and receive a fistful of pedometers so everyone can record their workplace activities including walks, cycle commutes and lunch trips to the gym.

Senior public health manager Sandra Johnson, of NHS Derbyshire, said: “Good health and employment should go side by side. Employers need to start to think that health and well-being is something they should encourage.

“We’re so pleased to get this campaign running with these pedometers and the aim will be for companies to encourage healthier lifestyles among staff at work on a long-term basis.”

The DT, Derbyshire chamber and NHS Derbyshire County launched the scheme today, Thursday, September 27, at the Enable Group centre, at Holmewood, with backing from BRM Solicitors and Derbyshire Sport.

BRM outlined how problems with unhealthy staff and absenteeism can prove very costly. The DNCC also explained how 15bn people suffer sickness absence in the UK a year, costing about £9bn and costing Derbyshire £136m and £43m in sick pay.

The campaign aims to bring staff together, encourage team-building exercises and joint activities such as targeting sporting events as teams and taking on challenges for charities.

DNCC chief executive George Cowcher said: “This campaign is a light-hearted way of getting across a serious message to businesses about the importance of workplace health and the well-being of employees.”

The knock-on effects of the Workplace and Workforce Challenge is expected to boost work efficiency and help stave off health hazards often associated with the sedentary, office lifestyle.

Firms are encouraged to consider facilities around them such as gyms, parks and leisure centres where membership deals may be available for those who sign up in groups.

Six Derbyshire Times’ staff will be leading the way on the pedometer challenge and will be competing with other firms’ teams over a six week period due to start next week, Monday, October 1. Pedometer points will be averaged out depending on the different sizes of teams and totals will be tallied with the most successful being awarded The Workforce Challenge Trophy.

Employees at the winning company will also get a NE Derbyshire District Council 15per cent discount on its Just Do More Unlimited fitness membership scheme which will be valid at all the local authority’s leisure centres.

DT reporter Jon Cooper said: “Given that many companies are working harder and harder to survive difficult economic times, good health can easily be forsaken.

“But we do this at our peril - because this inevitably leads to an inefficient workforce and sick days. So do please step up and join the challenge.”

The DT will also be publicising firms taking on the challenge and highlighting those making the most outstanding or unusual efforts to get fitter.

Those interested can register for the Workplace and Workforce Challenge by calling Derbyshire chamber event organiser Jon Smart on (01246) 207207 for an information pack and pedometers.