Corporate Wellness

Highlights of Our Recent Firstbeat Events in London: Towards Better Corporate Performance and Healthier Employees

Tiina HoffmanM.Sc., Exercise Physiologist & Master Trainer, Wellness Services@Tiinafbt

Last week we had the privilege to host two events at our Firstbeat office in London: a corporate breakfast for decision-makers and HR, and a professional user workshop aimed at our Lifestyle Assessment professionals. The idea was to promote discussion on corporate wellness and performance and share experiences on how the Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment can add value to different offerings. Over 50 experts from different fields attended the events and the vibe was energetic, and discussion lively. Both groups shared a strong common interest in healthy employees who feel well, and in companies that look after and support their workforce. Here are some highlights from the day:

– In his inspirational talk during the morning session, guest speaker Carlyle Jenkins from Prohab Health and Performance shared his experiences in a project called the Ultimate Wellness Journey. The picture below captures the spirit of his talk and the same idea came across in later presentations, too: How to help ensure people are running on full, rather than empty, batteries – for better health and performance. Carlyle emphasized the importance of convincing the decision-makers, utilizing wellness champions within the company, and uniting the personal wellness journey that every individual takes with company/group engagement. The project Carlyle discussed included both personal feedback sessions and group workshops in nutrition, movement and resilience (balance between stress & recovery). The results were very positive – healthier individuals and, as a result, a healthier team and business.

In the afternoon workshop, we got to hear from three experts in different sectors in a case study session. This sparked some excellent and insightful discussion and debate amongst attendees and it was a shame to cut this short because time ran out. Next time we’ll need to dedicate more time to valuable opinion sharing.

– Psychologist and mindfulness expert Susan Peacock from LiveWorkWell talked about building resilience through mindfulness. The coach’s role is important when we want to see behavioral change, even if it’s sometimes as simple as helping a client find their OFF button. Susan reminded us to focus on the positives – what is working well – in addition to identifying the “negatives”. Susan’s final quote is worth remembering: “True resilience is about much more than surviving the worst day of your life. It’s about thriving every day of your life.”

– Exercise Physiologist Hadassah Sheer, representing Roodlane Medical and running wellness projects for BNP Paribas, shared her experiences working with traders. The BNPP corporate wellness approach is comprehensive and includes a multidisciplinary team of experts. The challenge is that work tends to be very hectic and nonstop, which can lead to burnout and health problems, yet the solutions and revelations provided in part by Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment were simple: taking a lunch break away from the desk and learning to take breaks to promote recovery. Impressive improvements were seen during the follow-up period and the project continues.

Justin Haroun from Westminster University highlighted the importance of individual and organizational change that benefits company culture, not just bottom-line costs/profits. The results of his resilience project opened the decision makers’ eyes to simple, yet effective changes. For example, not simply having 1-hr meetings because that is how the booking system worked but allowing for time to wind down and switch gears between meetings.

A common thread in discussion was the importance of professional interventions where follow-up is built-in, and the coach’s role in highlighting key issues, providing concrete tools and helping with personal and company engagement – even if ultimately, the motivation for change must be found within the individual.

Each event included a presentation on the new Fitness Level feature found in Firstbeat Lifestyle Assessment – based on a 30-minute moderate walk. This raised a lot of discussion and questions, as expected, but the feature was viewed as a valuable addition to Lifestyle Assessment, especially for the people towards the lower end of the fitness spectrum. Knowing where you are at fitness-wise makes it easier to start planning change – both for the coach and the client. The graph below emphasizes this, and if you want to read more about the feature, check out our previous blog.

Thanks to all speakers and participants! We will continue to host these events, so if you missed this one, hope to see you next time. In fact, we’re hosting a Corporate Breakfast in Manchester on November 7 and you can register here. And don’t forget your homework: I expect to see all professional users out walking and testing the Fitness Level. Talk the talk – walk the walk!

Tiina Hoffman

M.Sc., Exercise Physiologist & Master Trainer, Wellness Services

@Tiinafbt

Tiina is an Exercise Physiologist who works at Firstbeat as a Wellness Specialist. Growing up as a skier, Tiina spent 4 years cross-country ski racing and later 4 year coaching at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. After moving back to Finland, she found her way to Firstbeat after several years in overtraining and heart rate variability field studies at the Research Institute for Olympic Sports and the University of Jyväskylä. To maintain a good balance in her own life, she enjoys the outdoors – kayaking, hiking, xc-skiing and escaping to her cabin in the woods.

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