If you were to ask people where they spend the majority of their time, most would probably give the same response: at work. That’s where the working population spends on average 1400 hours of their lives every year.

If this is the case, shouldn’t employers aim to offer staff the best possible conditions in the workplace? After all, work shouldn’t be damaging to your health. And that applies regardless of whether you work in an office, in production or if your job requires a lot of travel. The aim should be to help you stay healthy – or even to improve your health –  and this is precisely the reason why workplace health promotion strategies exist.

I personally don’t consider health a state that can be reached – rather, health is a process that you have to work towards your entire life. As the person in charge of workplace health promotion at MANN+HUMMEL Germany, I consider it my main role to give staff the best possible information, advice and support on issues concerning their health. In this role, my biggest motivator is my own health. Nutrition, exercise and relaxation are all equally important to helping achieve a balanced lifestyle. That is why I actively strive to improve my health, make sure I get plenty of exercise and follow a healthy diet.

Why are workplace health promotion schemes important?

The world of work in the 21st century has changed dramatically for employees: increased workloads, stress, excessive burdens in the workplace as well as the negative impact on physical and mental health have resulted in companies being forced into action. Employers have had to develop comprehensive workplace health schemes that includes all the factors necessary to guarantee and promote the long-term health and well-being of staff.

MANN+HUMMEL has been implementing specific measures to address this issue for quite some time, e.g. with company sports groups offering yoga, hiking and Zumba (to name but a few), as well as our annual Health Day event and many other activities.

Now we are going one step further: for our workplace health promotion scheme, we have worked together with HR, our staff and organisational development teams, as well as Employer Branding, to develop a concept that encapsulates all of the measures and activities that form part of our plan to promote health at work and sets out these strategies within a model that will be rolled out across Germany and, in the long term, worldwide: the five pillar ‘healthy living@MANN+HUMMEL’ model. 

The ‘healthy living@MANN+HUMMEL’ pillar model

We developed the basic idea behind this pillar model by asking ourselves where our interests as a company and those of our staff overlap. Health, satisfaction and motivation were the key terms.

The five interlinking pillars of MANN+HUMMEL’s workplace health management scheme build on these ideas, allowing us to improve and maintain our employees’ health in the best way possible as part of a wider ‘healthyliving@MANN+HUMMEL’ concept.

Each pillar has been assigned to a ‘pillar manager’. I, for example, am responsible for two pillars – ‘being healthy’ and ‘staying healthy’ – which I will explain in more detail in the following section.

Being healthy

This pillar addresses the latest preventative and target-group specific health concepts. The aim of these measures is to give our employees the opportunity to take responsibility for looking after and improving their own health, and with it their performance at work. One great example of this is our workplace health promotion scheme for trainees, YOLO@MANN+HUMMEL, which has been awarded the Human Resources Excellence Award.

Furthermore, since June 2015 sports scientists have been working at our MANN+HUMMEL sites in Ludwigsburg, Marklkofen and Speyer where they visit employees at their workstations, suggesting improvements that could be made and setting up workplace schemes to improve employee health. The aim is to improve employees’ knowledge and awareness, particularly in terms of musculoskeletal disorders. The scheme will be introduced to the remaining German sites in 2016.

Staying healthy

Companies are by no means immune to the demographic changes taking place in our society. For example, at our Marklkofen site it is expected that almost 50% of employees will be over 50 by 2024. These figures are even higher at other sites. Studies indicate that although older employees are just as likely to fall ill as their younger counterparts, in cases of illness, they can take much longer to fully recover. For us as a business, we are faced with the question of how best to respond: how should we approach the issue of health with an ageing workforce? This is the question we aim to find practical answers to through our ‘staying healthy’ pillar.

For example, at the Marklkofen site an alternative four-hour shift model to reduce the workload on individual staff members is being trialled as part of a pilot project. Other preventative measures are being implemented, specifically targeting older workers, that promote ways to improve health at work and encourage staff to adopt a healthier lifestyle both at work and at home.

I look forward to the new challenges that lie ahead as part of my role as manager of MANN+HUMMEL’s workplace health promotion scheme. I hope that all of us at MANN+HUMMEL can work together to continue to build a corporate environment where health and well-being play a vital role.

Would you like to find out more about healthy living and health at work? Why not read my blog entry on work-life balance at MANN+HUMMEL.