- Happier at work: 10-week nutritious-diet-&-exercise-challenge boosted job satisfaction by 28%
- Bucking the trend: unlike other firms in lockdown, their mental health & happiness rose by 18%
- Strong-willed: workforce was ‘determined’ not to let Covid restrictions cancel wellness campaign
- Flexible: workshops & workouts planned for the office switched to online Zoom seminars instead
An enterprising accountancy firm turned lockdown losses into double-digit profits – by crunching vegetables instead of numbers.
Undeterred by the constraints of Covid, their upbeat employees and managers joined forces to take on a new corporate health and wellbeing challenge.
As an HR investment, UK accountants Charterhouse spent 10 weeks swapping their calculators for cucumbers, spreadsheets for side salads and Excel for exercise bikes.
Aiming to achieve measurable improvements to their health, wellbeing and fitness, working from home, they linked with one of the UK’s leading, award-winning corporate nutrition consultants, SuperWellness, who converted their office workshops into Zoom sessions.
Experts from SuperWellness, who have supported more than 100 UK businesses over the past 10 years, including Network Rail, HSBC and Harrods, crafted a bespoke programme to help 31 Charterhouse employees around the UK connect remotely.
Charterhouse started planning for the challenge last year and this meant, when lockdown began this March, they were able to make the transition seamlessly from working in their office environment to continuing remotely.
While many other companies reported lower incomes and dipping workforce morale in lockdown, Charterhouse bucked the trend, notching up measured improvements including:
- an 18% rise in employee happiness recorded in before-and-after tests
- a more-than-doubling of people eating 5 fruit & veg portions a day (18% to 43%)
- a 48% decrease in the number of people snacking daily on crisps or chocolate (in marked contrast to a new report this month showing youngsters’ snacking has risen by 40% in lockdown)
- a 28% boost in job satisfaction at the end of the challenge
- 23% more participants rated their life satisfaction 8 out of 10
- a 14% increase at the end of staff describing their health as ‘good’ or ‘better’
- a 39% increase in staff doing physical activity 3 or more times a week
The three-month programme, including preparation and data analysis, has just ended and saw the workforce split into three teams who turned their focus in-house to improve their knowledge of key topics like sleep, stress and brain health.
SuperWellness founder Angela Steel said: “Our team, led by corporate nutritionists Magdalena Wronska and Natasha Simmons, helped Charterhouse using twice-a-month group coaching, monthly competitions in a private Facebook group, and webinars.
“They achieved significant improvements to their own healthy meal planning, nutrition for good mental health, and stress resilience. They were all incredibly enthusiastic.”
To create reliable, standardised data, results were measured through a comprehensive health-and-wellbeing questionnaire based on Public Health England’s Health Needs Assessment.
For the SuperWellness challenge, participants were encouraged to submit posts, photos and videos of their experience in a bid to win prizes for ‘Best Breakfast’, ‘Most Colourful Plate’ and ‘Best Workout Video’. Due to lockdown constraints, prizes, like Magnesium lotion to help with sleep, were sent by post.
In another finding, there was a 4 per cent increase in the number of Charterhouse employees who scored their anxiety level as 7 out of 10 or higher, indicating that Corona anxiety was continuing to affect them adversely.
GREAT TEAM EFFORT: (L-R) Charterhouse’s Rut and Angela from SuperWellness on Zoom
Charterhouse HR Manager Rut Stefansdottir, who booked the programme and also took part, said: “We were thrilled to sign up for the SuperWellness Challenge. They put on a truly inspirational and also fun programme for us.
“Unaware of what else 2020 would bring, we committed to doing this because we’ve always been people-oriented and keen to invest in our workforce.
“Then, just a week before we were due to start, lockdown hit us. But this challenge was all about our teams’ health and wellbeing in the longer term, so irrespective of whatever else was going on in the world, we were determined to follow through.
“This has been one of our company’s greatest success stories. The results are amazing. The positive feedback from participants has encouraged us to continue working with SuperWellness on other follow-up programmes.”
Since completing their challenge, Charterhouse has now booked a further webinar on immune-system health, group coaching sessions, and body-composition testing for individuals when the workforce hopefully returns to the office later in the year.
SuperWellness’s Angela Steel added: “The aim of the challenge was to support lasting healthy habits for participants and deliver measurable outcomes. The timing also meant the programme played a key part in helping employees to feel engaged and connected throughout lockdown.”
CASE STUDY ONE
Krisztina said: “In the past I often felt lack of energy. After hours and hours browsing the web, I managed to put together a diet-and-exercise routine and over time I felt better. Even though it made a difference, I still had days when the symptoms were present. And this is where SuperWellness came in and filled all my knowledge gaps about the different food groups, what a balanced diet looked like and how bad food choices can affect my energy level, mood and overall health.
I have put my new knowledge to the test in the last couple of months. I quit all sweets and biscuits, instead I snacked on nuts and seeds. I do shopping once a week, and I make sure the majority of my trolley is filled with veggies as colorful as possible, and I buy more oily fish rather than meat.
In the evenings I have only light meals, such as a salad, recently around 5.30pm. The biggest breakthrough for me was when I learnt about resistant starch and how it can improve insulin sensitivity, which possibly caused my symptoms. It is as simple as cooling down your cooked potatoes before eating them. Potato salad is my new favorite and my energy remains high!
I have also developed a daily walking routine with the goal of achieving 10,000 steps. Not straight away, but I’ve started to feel the difference. My energy level is very good, my focus is better, and have no brain fogs after meals. I do have to be very conscious though about my choices, but I am sure if I keep it up, it will come naturally. Thank you SuperWellness for all the support and the super fun sessions. You helped me a lot!”
CASE STUDY TWO
Job: Executive Director
Success: Gave up sugar for 10 days and shed more than 1 stone
David said: “I found the SuperWellness programme engaging and informative, with lots of helpful tips and a few humorous moments. I had a great reaction/weight loss to the ‘No sugar for 10 days’ at the start and also enjoyed eating cereals and berries for breakfast. Sadly though I couldn’t give up coffee. By the end, I’d lost over 1 stone. Having completed the programme, I’d definitely recommend to others that they take the opportunity to fully indulge in the education and act upon things.”
CASE STUDY THREE
Success: Feels more energetic and alert after cutting back on snacking and computer screen time before bed
Hamed said: “These sessions have given me good awareness of impact of bad-quality food on our health especially high sugar intakes. I have significantly reduced amount of sugary foods. I have made a lot of other changes in my diet like including more variety of colourful food, food with essential minerals like zinc and magnesium and food with essential fats. I have also reduced snacking and now include a good amount of protein in each meal.
“These sessions were not just about food but they also gave me good awareness about the impact of lack of sleep and stress on our health. This awareness helped me to change my exercise time from evening to afternoon, reduce my screen time and food intake before going to bed. With all these changes, I’ve experienced a significant improvement in my health. I feel more energetic, have increased level of alertness and better concentration. SuperWellness sessions have been fantastic. They were designed really well with very useful information about our health and I really liked the challenges which were fun.”
Notes to Editors
About Charterhouse (www.charter-house.net)
Charterhouse, and its top team of accountants and tax advisors, have been helping businesses to grow for over 50 years. They are also the ‘go to’ firm of financial experts for other accountants, providing them with a consultancy service on the more complex and technical tax issues they face.
Seen as an essential part of their client’s team, they are proactive – and ingenious – in identifying creative opportunities to help them achieve client’s ambitions. By sharing solutions in a simple, straightforward and down to earth manner, their expertise means less work and less time spent on the nuts and bolts of a business for those aiming higher.
Working from offices in Harrow, the business gives unparalleled experience with every size business and just about any industry sector you can name. They offer far more than the traditional tax and accounting services, providing expert consultancy and advisory services to a wide client base, ranging from SMEs, larger corporate businesses, high net worth individuals, start-ups and individuals.