Sleeves up, wellies on wellbeing action

Sleeves up, wellies on wellbeing action

Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Europe (AND-E) is difficult to say in any accent – in Geordie, it borders on hilarious.

We are however the European arm of one of the world’s largest insurers, providing motor insurance to Toyota and Lexus customers across Europe. We’re also the parent company of the largest telematics (black-box) insurance brand in the UK, Insure the Box.

We just love to get stuck into the proper sleeves up, wellies on wellbeing action because for us it’s not about one off initiatives or a bit of effort here and there, it’s a continuous journey. We take a holistic 5 strand approach to wellbeing focusing on mental, physical, financial, social and work wellbeing which does not stop with our direct team, it also extends further to their families, friends and the wider community beyond.

We’ve introduced a good old mix of initiatives so far such as:

  • Paid time to attend cervical, breast and 40+ health checks in working hours
  • Menopause awareness education for managers and colleagues
  • Free period products in rest rooms
  • Free fruit weekly
  • Quarterly financial wellbeing workshops
  • Free will writing
  • 31 fully trainer mental health first aiders
  • World of work day for local young people
  • Our hugely popular Connected Communities programme where colleagues supported each other by hosting and attending weekly virtual sessions to connect, have fun and learn something new within the working day. From yoga, cook-a-longs, JavaScript and crafting to quiz club, chess and more there was something for everyone!

Across everything we do, it’s safe to say the most popular initiatives are ones in which there’s a sense of social connection and a spot of competition, which brings us to our North East to Far East challenge.

I’m sure pretty much everyone would agree that with the pandemic our work and home lives changed drastically more or less overnight. With isolation and worry effecting so many of our colleagues we knew we had to do something to bring people together even though they were apart. We had our communities for social connection but given the many benefits that exercise and being outdoors brings, we knew there must be something else we could do to make use of that precious hour outdoors time.

The idea, to attempt to collectively travel the distance from Newcastle to Tokyo. Logical move for a Japanese company right?! The plan was that everyone who took part logged their distance travelled by any means running, walking, cycling swimming or even paddle boarding (approx. 6500km as the crow flies) and used our offices along the way as progress milestones with fun facts about each to get to know each other.

Our intranet was the activity hub where we published weekly progress updates and encouraged colleagues to share photos from their adventures to showcase their parts of the world helping us appreciate how lucky we are to have such beautiful spots on our doorsteps. Seeing people get involved across Europe and sharing their experiences was fantastic and we were delighted to see friends and family getting involved too!

60+ colleagues took part so we not only reached our target in no time but also raised over £1000 for The Dragon Fly Cancer Trust by promoting the inspiring work they do with our ‘The Story Behind the Km’. Our team reported benefits of better mental wellbeing as well as physical pay off with more energy, feeling fitter and connected to their friends and colleagues and the whole event gave such a sense of camaraderie and connectedness as well as a spot of healthy, fun competition! – Excellent results! The challenge proved so popular that our next was to climb enough flights of stairs (or hills, mountains etc) to complete a 3 peaks challenge of conquering Mt Snowdon, Triglav and Everest! Maybe we can share that next time….

Our journey continues with help from Maureen Turner from Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust as we get ready to submit for our Gold level Better Health at Work Award. For information on joining the programme, contact Maureen Turner, Health Improvement Practitioner Specialist, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust on 0191 270 4514 or visit www.betterhealthatworkne.org

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