Natixis London Branch launched a wellness week on 12-16 October, to engage its 380 employees with their physical and mental health.
The initiative, which is the first of its kind to be held by the investment management, financing, insurance and financial services organisation, included a programme of lunch-time events to enable a higher number of employees to attend.
Staff could attend a range of talks, classes, activities, as well as gain information from health and wellbeing providers and experts. This ranged from fruit drops and head and back massages, to flu vaccinations and pilates classes (pictured).
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Third-party organisations were among those used to communicate wellbeing messages, for example, the Alcohol Health Network gave employees the opportunity to ride a bike that powered a fruit blender, enabling them to make their own smoothie while learning about alcohol awareness.
Stuart Bennett, employee benefits and pensions manager at Natixis London Branch, said: “We really wanted to focus on something that included a cross-section of wellness activities, which were then incorporated into a week. Maybe some of those activities don’t appeal to everybody but perhaps one or two do appeal, which is why we wanted to capture a wide selection of talks, activities, and people that [employees] could come and speak to.”
Employees could also attend a mindfulness talk by Michael Chaskalson, author of The Mindful Workplace, followed by a meditation session. This proved to be particularly popular with staff, and mindfulness and meditation tips were subsequently shared on Natixis’ intranet and social media network, Chatter.
To encourage participation in Wellness Week, those who attended were entered into a raffle and a prize draw was held each day. Prizes included Fitbits and copies of The Mindful Workplace.
“We wanted to give out prizes that linked with the theme of health and wellbeing,” said Bennett.
The prizes were also aimed at helping to get people talking about the event and encouraging them to put the health and wellbeing techniques they learned during the week into practice.
The firm plans to run more mindfulness workshops in the future, as well mental health first aid sessions for managers, and team-building events. After highlighting alcohol awareness, Natixis also hopes to raise awareness of smoking risks.
Following their popularity during Wellness Week, the organisation will also look at introducing fruit drops, massages and on-site pilates classes on a more regular basis.
Natixis is part of French banking Group Groupe BPCE, which employs 16,000 staff across 37 countries, and it is hoped that the wellness week initiative can be rolled out in other locations.
Bennett added: “We’ve had a lot of interest from our Paris head office and also our office in New York. They’ve been very interested in following suit and using it as a template to introduce into other countries”