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Colleagues 'walk and talk" to help improve mental and physical health at Tesco

Richard Thalemann

UK Food Operations Manager
Welwyn Garden City

10 Oct 2017

How regular team walks have delivered some surprising mental health benefits for colleagues at Tesco.

My team have been walking together at lunchtimes for the last 18 months. When it started, we were doing fairly short walks which built-up to between 1.5–2 miles a day. Our fitness levels have improved and now the walk is part of our daily work routine. I read about a primary school teacher who wanted to help tackle childhood obesity by creating the ‘daily mile’. The idea was simple – at some point in the day, the children would run or walk a mile around school.

Walking your worries away

Most of our team come from stores where we’re used to being on our feet all day. Working in the office is much more sedentary and since we’ve been walking, energy levels have improved. We wanted to help each other, remain focussed on a regular routine and just taking half an hour each day is all it takes. At first we supported each other at a slower pace, which then moved to half the group walking faster, taking it in turns to support the slower walkers. It’s great, as everyone can take part.

Connecting with colleagues

It’s surprising how much you get to know about a colleague in a more informal situation. I’ve learned a lot more about the team and feel that I know them better as people (and vice versa!). We cover a lot when we’re out – everything from 1-2-1s, group discussions or cascading information I need to share. It doesn’t feel like a task and before you know it you’ve walked 2 miles.

Energy levels have improved and it’s a great way to kick start the afternoons’ work. Taking regular walks has also helped me build an amazing team that I’m very proud to be part of. Everyone should try walking at work, not just during colleague health month but every day.

‘Walk and talk’

During the colleague health event and beyond, we’re encouraging everyone at Tesco to take time out to walk and talk, or just to talk, to support their mental wellbeing. These walks could take the form of walking team meetings, 1-2-1s or more informal catch-ups. World Mental Health Day should be everyday. We all need to protect our mental wellbeing and I'm proud that Tesco supports colleagues to stay mentally and physically healthy.

At Tesco we’re committed to making it easier for colleagues and customers to make healthier choices. To learn more about how Tesco is creating Little Helps to Healthier Living go to: www.tescoplc.com/healthierliving 

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