We have been offering our employees special fitness programs at locations in Germany since 2014 to help counteract the effects of a day spent working at their desks. Qualified "mobile fitness coaches" teach easy-to-do exercises particularly for back and neck to small teams of employees. These programs are very popular among our employees. By the end of 2017, we had given more than 1,000 courses within the framework of our comprehensive health promotion activities.
Recent scientific studies show that taking regular breaks is more effective than lengthy exercise sessions after work for people with desk jobs. We therefore added a new exercise offer in 2016 with the Active Workplace project. This project gives our employees the opportunity to combine their job with exercise with the help of so-called desk bikes. These stationary bikes help effectively prevent health risks associated with lack of movement at the office workstation.
About 4,000 employees were able to use a desk bike during its first implementation phase. This first phase was scientifically supported by a study conducted by BerufsgenossenschaftVerkehr (the occupational accident insurer of the transportation and telecommunication industries), the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV), and the German Sport University Cologne. The academics examined not only the test participants’ levels of acceptance and whether they felt good using the equipment, but also physiological activity parameters, energy conversion levels, and individual posture. Not only were participants having fun, their mental activity also increased. Another positive side effect was that participants burned more calories when cycling than when just sitting.
Because the positive response of our employees was supported by the accompanying study, we decided to order an additional 500 desk bikes in 2017. In the meantime, over 10,000 employees have taken advantage of this program. We are planning to expand the program in 2018 and include international locations as well.