Glasgow charity walks 6,796 miles during lockdown

Social Distanced Workplace Walking

STAFF at a Glasgow based charitable trust have walked 6,796 miles in just over ten weeks with the help of a bespoke walking challenge.

The Robertson Trust employees trekked over 6,796 miles as part of two bespoke Step Count Challenges which saw ten teams, and 41 colleagues achieve a collective 15,188,903 steps during lockdown.

Individuals ventured out in all weathers in a bid to boost their mental and physical wellbeing while connecting with colleagues virtually and boosting their daily steps, with the help of walking charity Paths for All’s tailor-made challenges.

Paths for All have encouraged other businesses in Glasgow to create their own bespoke challenges, and get employees out walking whilst Lockdown persists.

Gurdeep Kaur, Funding Officer at The Robertson Trust (TRT), said: “The Step Count Challenge was a great way to connect with colleagues whilst working from home and we enjoyed it that much that we are set to do our third challenge in March!

“It has been a fun way to get our steps in, which we were missing during our commutes to work, our lunch time walks round to the shop or a walking meeting.

“Whilst it has helped our staff physically, it has also increased their mental and social wellbeing, with colleagues organising virtual walks, in turn giving individuals some sort of personal interaction that we miss whilst working from home.   

“We made sure to mix the teams up so colleagues were interacting with new people, and friendships have blossomed as a result. It has been really positive to see people ‘virtually’ rally round their colleagues to make sure everyone was getting their steps – a little bit of healthy competition definitely set in.

“The challenge was near enough the first topic of conversation in every meeting, even those who were not completing the challenge were keen to get involved and hear how we were getting on.”

During the first challenge in June five teams with 19 staff members walked 7,252,686 steps and in September this increased to 7,936,217 with five teams and 22 staff members.

Daily local walks boast an array of positive mental and physical health benefits, whilst helping to connect individuals socially, online or with one individual outside, as exercise remains one of the few essential reasons for leaving your home.

Paths for All offers tailor-made step count challenges, inviting organisations of all sizes to set-up  their own walking challenge to keep  their workforce active by connecting colleagues working remotely.

Danielle added: “Within the Step Count Challenge we added some personal and fun tasks for our teams, some weeks we would ask people to find a picture of a rainbow or take a selfie with a specific object. This made people mix up their walks and often made people walk further and longer.

“During the first challenge we also fundraised for five charities and ended up raising over £1,821 which we were delighted about, TRT actually matched the figure so we ended up raising £5,463.

“Everyone who took part has benefited in their personal and work life. We receive frequent encouragement from senior management to get away from the screen and, we all now realise just how important it is.

“The Step Count Challenge was the perfect fit and I’d encourage more businesses to look at how they can put wellbeing to the forefront of discussions, especially as we continue to work from home.

“The main thing is everyone that took part thoroughly enjoyed it, the challenge was fun but also great for our health and wellbeing – which is a complete bonus!”

Businesses across the country including large-scale organisations such as Queen Margaret University, the Scottish Ambulance Service, and Commonwealth Games Scotland, are utilising the Walk at Work Award and Step Count Challenge.

The call to action for businesses to get their workforce moving comes as it is revealed many adults continue to sit for long periods of time while at work. Workplaces must take action to reduce sedentary behaviour and improve health and wellbeing.

Ian Findlay CBE, Chief Officer at Paths for All, said: “The workplace is where the majority of us spend a great deal of our time, whether it be at your adapted new home office or in the office during more normal times, it’s incredibly important that staff take a break from the screen and employers put wellbeing at the forefront of their mind.

“Walking is one of the simplest and best things we can do for our physical, social and mental health. It’s free, you don’t need any special equipment, and it can be easily incorporated into the average working day.

“The accreditation and challenges help businesses put their staff’s health and wellbeing at the heart of what they do whilst making exercise fun.

“The bespoke challenges are tailored to a business’ own teams, while our award gives employers the chance to earn a recognised accreditation – with support throughout the whole process.

“Walking can connect people socially in many ways, whether that be virtually or meeting with one other person socially distanced outdoors.

“We all need to play our part in helping to make the nation healthier and happier, in both a work and personal sense.”

The Walk At Work Award is aimed to reverse the trend of inactive workplaces and the accreditation supports businesses in tackling issues of staff wellbeing and corporate carbon footprint, while enhancing productivity.

Employers receive one-to-one support on how to create a walking culture at work as well as examples of best practice and where to find extra help and resources.

The Step Count Challenge is made up of teams of five and has one simple aim of encouraging people to walk more to feel happier and healthier, with participants having access to leader boards, goal setting and team chat to keep them motivated and connected. 

Businesses can register a team of five for just £30 – and can customise their own challenges with tailored branding and personalised messaging.

Paths for All believes regular walking is key to leading a happy and healthy life, and it’s even more important for people to continue enjoying short, local walks where it is safe and appropriate to do so with to the huge array of associated benefits.

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