Construction sites aren’t typically known for promoting healthier food choices but Ocean Housing group in Cornwall decided to change all that when they signed up their 230-employee workplace to go SUGAR SMART in 2018.
They knew there was a lot they wanted to change so over the past 12 months, they got to work on different initiatives to encourage healthier lifestyles. They started by raising awareness about the SUGAR SMART campaign and in particular, drinking water – by making use of their Health Champions to spread the word, messaging on their intranet system, posters, staff newsletters and even promoting it on their water coolers. They’ve also been running healthy eating information campaigns on their staff noticeboards and intranet – from 5 a day, the Eatwell Guide, sugar swaps and the importance of breakfast.
Most impressively, they held a 12-week modular staff Health Promotion event focusing on nutrition and healthy eating for all staff. This was accompanied by several programmes on healthy weight, exercise and sleep hygiene as well as yoga and boxercise classes. They always ensure that there is a variety of healthy options like fruit, during these training courses.
Being aware has helped with temptation. Being out in the van all day, it’s easy to pop into the shop and grab a naughty snack but the SUGAR SMART campaign has helped raise awareness so that is my first thought. Now I’m more likely to snack on fruit rather than chocolate or biscuits. Having a healthier lunch makes me feel less weighed down and by not eating the rubbish sugary foods I’m more energetic and less tired.
Tom, Construction Worker
As an Ocean Group Health Champion, I’m always on the lookout for how Ocean are promoting good health in the workplace. We are always reminded to stay SUGAR SMART or drink more water with posters around the building and on the back of the toilet doors. At events we are not only offered sandwiches and crisps, we also have the option of fresh fruit. The company also allows us to use the premises for exercise classes for free. Overall, I feel that Ocean is very committed to giving every opportunity to help improve the health of its staff.
Sarah Pechkaytis, Sales Administrator
We are very keen to support and promote new initiatives like SUGAR SMART because they usually come with excellent resources we can use and promote within our business to get key health and wellbeing messages to our colleagues. We run a wide variety of health and wellbeing initiatives here at Ocean Group, beyond the pure legislative responsibilities, to help create a culture of health and wellbeing to ensure we create a happy and healthy workplace to enable us to attract and retain the top talent and enable them to be their most productive for our business.
Nikki Forward, Head of Human Resources
SUGAR SMART is a campaign run by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming. SUGAR SMART is one of the featured campaigns in the UK's Sustainable Food Cities Network.
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Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.