In today’s busy working life, giving attention to personal fitness and health becomes difficult. Taking out time to go to the gym for an hour also appears to be a humongous task. With so many awareness campaigns running, working professionals understand that in addition to their work, health is something they need to give priority to.
Everyone wishes to lead a healthy and stress-free life. However, finding the time to ensure fitness becomes a huge challenge. With employees investing so much time working for their firms, addressing their health-related and well-being issues becomes a social responsibility of their companies/employers. There is no dearth of studies and researches drawing attention to the fact that long working hours lead to physical and mental problems for employees.
Many progressive companies have now begun to implement policies and introduce interventions, which stress upon ensuring a healthy lifestyle for their employees. It has become a business imperative to engage the workforce and let the employees know that their company cares about them.
Apollo Munich Health Insurance has also tried to promote a healthy and happy culture by introducing a programme called ‘Niramaya’ which means something which is free from disease and illness.
Under this programme, the Company has tried to address problems related to the health and wellbeing of its employees by introducing a couple of activities.
The first activity is a stepathon challenge, where participating employees have to complete a certain number of steps and reach a milestone. The employees are able to track their progress through an app.
“As a health insurance company, which secures health covers for customers, we feel it is our duty to ensure a health and fitness culture amongst our employees as well”
Apart from individual challenges, the programme also has team challenges, where the senior leaders from different departments are made the team leaders and expected to achieve milestones. The winners are rewarded with trophies and points. Each point is equivalent to one rupee and points are rewarded within the range of 1000 to 10,000.
There are milestones such as one million steps in 90 days. Rewards are given to employees who reach one million steps in 45 days or achieve the highest number of steps in three months. The teams that count the highest number of steps are also rewarded.
“As a health insurance company, which secures health covers for customers, we feel it is our duty to ensure a health and fitness culture amongst our employees as well,” shares Gautam Srivastava, VP and head, talent management, Apollo Munich Health Insurance.
The stepathon was a great hit and witnessed 80 per cent of the employees taking part in the contest.
According to Srivastava, employees really found this initiative helpful because some of them not only experienced a change in their lifestyle but also managed to lose their belly fat.
Apollo Munich has also started the emotional assistance programme. This programme focuses more on addressing issues related to the mental health of employees.
It is enabled by an app, which helps employees make changes in their lifestyle/ habits. Using the app, employees can also meet counsellors for personal guidance and help. “By talking to experts and peers and through informal discussions internally, we came to know that personal problems and mental stress affect the productivity of our employees at the workplace,” says Srivastava.
”Sometimes, people cannot share everything with their managers. They need someone who can understand their personal problems and resolve them while maintaining confidentiality,” shares Srivastava.
The app also provides certain guidelines to employees which they can follow to bring about positive changes in their habits and lifestyle.
Apollo Munich has started Zumba and yoga sessions in different offices at 30 to 40 locations.
The ‘Niramaya’ initiative at Apollo Munich was a great mixture of activities and technology. It helped to address the physical and mental fitness issues of the employees. The app-based progress tracker is not only simple and user-friendly, but engaging at the same time.
The stepathon contest started in December last year and ended in the month of March, 2019. The Company is also planning to introduce more activities under this programme, such as setting up a health camp for diagnostics and health check-ups. The Company is also looking to introduce stress-handling sessions where employees will be advised on how to handle work-related stress.
“The Niramaya programme has helped us engage our employees and strengthen our relationship with them. It acts as a continuous engagement tool for us. The journey is yet to be completed as we have initiated something, which will keep on happening over a period of time” mentions Srivastava.