We sat down with Erin Brown and Sam Reid to talk about it.
What made prosource decide to go for the Walk at Work award?
Erin: A bit of background - the pandemic lockdowns and other restrictions disrupted the lives of everyone in the UK. Everyone in prosource’s working patterns were changed – many of us worked at home throughout the restrictions, and those that did attend premises when restrictions allowed were keeping essential services running but in largely empty buildings. It was all very different to what we were used to.
I think in all that disruption, many of us lost the behaviours and activities that helped keep us physically and mentally well. Things like meeting friends for a coffee and chat, going swimming or to the gym… We were all forced to adapt.
prosource were keen to support our people through a difficult time so our health & safety priority, along with COVID risk control, became mental wellbeing – and by extension, walking. Even during the strictest lockdowns here in the UK we were allowed to walk, and it brought home the value. It’s accessible for most of our workforce and the physical and mental benefits are great.
So, in late 2021 as we were reviewing our Health & Safety plan, we decided to continue our walking focus to support the return to client premises, and working towards the award was a good way to develop new ideas on how to support walking and active travel.
Active travel – was that also part of the award?
Sam: Yes, organisations have to complete a range of actions to achieve the award – including considering active travel, which fitted well with our environmental strategy. We had a few things underway already but something we hadn’t thought of that was generated by the award was producing signage highlighting active travel opportunities around our HQ.
Can you tell us more about the actions?
Sam: The actions are really varied because every business is different, there are categories and you choose the option that suits you best, or you can agree an action with the award team. At prosource, most of our personnel work all across the UK – our actual premises and core HQ team are small in comparison. We challenged ourselves to make sure that we had actions that would benefit our whole workforce.
I think our favourite action from the whole initiative was the Step Count Challenge – we had teams where all the participants already worked together, and some that we matched them up. There was a lot of banter and encouragement.
We also ran a different mini challenge each week where participants told us about their walks, submitted photos and we gave away goody bags. It was a lot of fun.
It sounds like everyone got into it!
Erin: They did, and it was lovely seeing how everyone fit the walking into their daily lives. We had a few walking commutes, some people with dogs, lunchtime walkers. Everyone agreed that the challenge helped them prioritise getting the steps in and being outside made them feel better. We were very lucky with the weather during the challenge though.
Sam: Yes, not like the beach clean, that was one of the other things we did for the award and the weather was absolutely horrendous that day! It did put a bit of a dampener on things. We still got some rubbish picked up though. Aberdeen City Council had sorted us out with pickers and bags and we got our kids involved as well.
Would you recommend the Walk at Work award to other businesses?
Sam: Definitely! Getting the basics right to support employee wellbeing is important and the award helped us make sure we had those in place. Really glad we did it.