Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg is a corporate law firm with employees in both Canada and the US. They reached out to us at the end of 2022 to put together a plan that would include a wellness challenge and some lunch and learns throughout the year.
Prior to the pandemic, Davies organized a lot of in person wellness initiatives in the office including nutrition sessions and yoga, but this had been tapered down due to the pandemic and everything they were offering was moved to virtual. As we’ve been finding with many of our clients, they were ready to reinvigorate some in person programming as they had found that virtual attendance was waning, but they wanted to ensure they could still engage employees both in person and online as not everyone works out of the office full-time.
They also wanted a holistic and comprehensive full-year of programming that would help employees prioritize self-care and their mental health, but still touch on other healthy lifestyle practices like nutrition, sleep, and exercise. It’s worth noting that they had organized smaller challenges within the office in the past, such as challenges around sugar, or drinking water, but they were looking forward to having someone else take over the planning and organization and hopefully encouraging more people to participate.
We put a plan in place for them for the year that included a 4-week wellness challenge to kick off the new year, followed by four lunch and learns and webinars scattered throughout the year. The topics of the lunch and learns would be determined based on continuous feedback throughout the year from staff which we helped gather.
Though some companies are used to running their own challenges in-house, here are some of the key benefits in having HEAL manage this program:
Everything was organized through our wellness platform and app, so employees across North America could participate. Participants were also given optional meal plans and workouts through the app to accompany the challenge, as well as desk stretches, meditations, recipes, well-being articles, workouts, and more, to continue to support them for the rest of the year in between challenges and lunch and learns.
We specifically focused on themes like building healthy habits, stress and self-care, improving energy levels, and boosting mood and improving sleep that suited their office. We incorporated daily challenges that had employees implement simple yet effective habits like drinking more water, taking more movement breaks throughout the day, getting more exercise in, and connecting with their colleagues. These habits seem simple yet they are often the most effective, and tend to be the habits that fall to the wayside when someone is busy or stressed but that really help you feel good. In fact, when we surveyed participants at the end of the program, they reported that they saw the biggest benefit from these simple foundational habits.
The initial challenge took place in February and we promoted it throughout January so that employees would have an opportunity to sign up after the holidays. The promotional communications that were sent out and the virtual kickoff event helped the challenge receive nearly double the participation expected.
“I enjoyed this challenge because it gave me a clear way to pick my own route on how to branch out with my health and wellness tactics. This challenge motivated me to wake up earlier before work (sometimes) and get to the gym to get my uninterrupted 20-30 minutes of movement in, which proved to improve my overall mood at work. I am hoping to keep up with this routine even when the challenge is over, since the bigger prize in mind is my health.” - Participant at Davies
The challenge themes focused on building healthy habits, stress management, improving energy levels, boosting mood and sleep. This translated directly into positive results in these areas - over 90% of participants saw improvements in their energy, stress, mood, sleep and activity levels as a result of the program. Furthermore, 96% of participants felt they were able to implement healthy habits. Many employees used the meal plans and workout resources we provided, with the desk stretch exercises being the most well received. This highlighted that an ergonomics session would be a popular lunch & learn option later in the year.
What we saw through the feedback was that the small changes and tips really made a big difference, especially at that time of year. As one participant put it,
“I really enjoyed the program. I believe the small challenges help people like me (who are typically fit but recently took a break from fitness) get back into healthy habits.” - Alison Kim
‘I loved the challenge. It was a great motivation for me to stay active and eat healthy food every day. Conversations with colleagues were very supportive and motivating as well.” - Antonina Kabanova
Even though the challenge is now over, because we have follow up lunch and learns planned and employees will continue to get access to the HEAL wellness platform throughout the year, employees still have access to the resources to keep the momentum up.