Collingwood's Well-Being and our Participation in the Global Corporate Challenge

At the end of our financial year in March, Doug and I took some time out to reflect on the achievements of the last 12 months and how we could accelerate our performance even more. One of the main things that came out of this was our desire to increase our focus on the well-being of our fantastic team. When we set Collingwood up 11 years ago, one of the over-riding objectives of the business and the culture we were looking to create was “work-life balance”. We wanted to create an environment where everyone enjoyed coming to work and where people were able to achieve on a professional level whilst being able to focus on their families and home lives. The reason for this stemmed simply from our personal desire to have a happy, engaged team, not from any real scientific research or commercial objective.

During the course of recent years, however, we have seen the development of the concept of employee engagement and the link between engaged employees, productivity, and a company’s bottom line is clear.

At our end of year reflection, we reviewed how we could further improve and build on the engagement of our employees. We identified that a culture that actively promotes employee well-being will help to drive engagement. Dr David Batman, GCC’s Chief Medical Officer, agrees that “prioritising health – both physical and mental – is arguably one of the most important pre-requisites to engagement”. (Source: GCC Insights, Get Engaged How a Healthy Culture Can Drive Greater Employee Commitment and Engagement 2016).

And so the Collingwood well-being programme was born.

We brainstormed and came up with lots of ideas which we are now implementing, from providing free fruit to weekly yoga classes to occasionally bringing our dogs into the office.

Another idea that came up was Collingwood’s participation in the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC). When I investigated GCC, the benefits to everyone involved and the business case for participation was clear. GCC is delivered in a fun and engaging way, with teams of 7 competing over a 100 day period against other teams from around the world. During the course of the 100 days, GCC takes everyone on a virtual journey around the world, empowering participants to improve their physical and psychological health, through a staged focus on physical activity, nutrition, psychological well-being and sleep. Through helping to create a culture of health, the benefits of GCC are numerous. These include improved morale, better teamwork, stronger engagement and reduced levels of stress amongst others. (Source: GCC website

Two teams from Collingwood have entered the latest GCC 100-day journey and the competitive rivalry has created plenty of good-natured debate in the office. As well as helping to improve our health, it is also great from a team building perspective. We started in Rome and so far team Happy Feet has walked / swum / cycled 561 miles and the Funky Bunch team has covered 520 miles, so we’ve got a bit of catching up to do! Already though, we are hearing that team members are feeling the benefit of this activity. With the golf course on our doorstep, we actively encourage team members to have a walk with colleagues at lunchtime or even have walking meetings instead of sitting around a table. We’re almost 3 weeks in now and I’m really excited about the rest of the journey and the benefits that taking part in this will generate for everyone.

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