Off the sofa, you!
Giza de Jong is P&O advisor at Strukton Rail.
She's also project leader of health month at Strukton, which starts on 1 October and lasts the rest of the month.
We all know that our health is important, but we don't always act accordingly. That might be because people feel that it means going to the gym three times a week and only eating sensibly and healthily. And that's quite an obstacle.
"Living healthily doesn't have to be hard. That's why health month is as accessible as possible"
Fortunately it's much easier than that. Because living healthily is mainly about finding the right balance: between eating enough vegetables on the one hand versus crisps or chocolate on the other. A beer versus water, exercise versus an evening on the sofa. Everything in moderation, that's my motto. I eat healthily and do regular exercise. On the other hand, I'm happy to spend an evening on the sofa watching a film with a bar of chocolate.
Living healthily doesn't have to be hard. That's why we've made health month as accessible as possible, so that colleagues can see that you can make your life much healthier just by making a few small changes. Throughout the month of October, employees can find all kinds of health tips on intranet. It's often cited as an example, but always taking the stairs instead of the lift makes a big difference. A good night's sleep also has health benefits. And you sleep better in a dark room with plenty of fresh air.
"We're going to get moving with activities all over the country: StruktONtour"
Besides the tips on intranet, we try to get employees off the sofa with lots of different activities through StruktONtour. The code word is 'low threshold'. Going bowling or mountain biking, for example. Colleagues in Groningen can take part in the 4 Miles of Groningen. But walking is an option too, by taking part in the StruktONtour step competition. For a month, teams of eight Strukton employees try to take as many steps in a day as possible.
Through this competition, I get my sofa moment later in the evening, because I first have to achieve my daily target of 10,000 steps. That corresponds with walking approx. 7 kilometres, which is the daily target of the StruktONtour step competition.
Last year was the first time we organised this step competition and it was a resounding success. Apparently Strukton employees are very competitive. This year, we're doing a virtual walk past different Strukton sites. The journey starts in Sweden and takes in the Netherlands and Belgium on the way to Italy. And back, for the real fanatics.
Rediscovering the balance
Walking from Sweden to Italy, bowling and mountain biking are fun activities, but health month is obviously not just 'for fun'. It shows that Strukton takes its employees' health seriously and wants to help them improve it. We do that all year round. In October we merely emphasise this with health month. Because if you're fit, you can do your work well. Which is nice for yourself and for the organisation, of course. Obviously, there's more to it than just a fit and healthy body. Things like working conditions, your competencies, your job content and the norms and values on the work floor are also important.
From personal experience, I know what it's like not to be in balance. My problem was taking on too much with too little help. Fortunately, I recognised this in time and stepped on the brake. Within a couple of months, I'd restored the balance, also thanks to my manager who took the situation seriously. We made good agreements about work allocation and discussed this every week. I also took things a bit easier in my private life and I talked to a coach. That combination helped: after a working day, I still have enough energy. To go for a nice walk as part of the step competition, for example.