A wellness programme for all employees at our Pilar site near Buenos Aires in Argentina gives employees easy access to healthy food during the working day

The Right Kind of Fruit Machine

© Ene | Dreamstime

Johnson Matthey sites around the world are concerned with the occupational health of employees, but the company's commitment to staff health and wellness goes beyond that. The Pilar site near Buenos Aires in Argentina did an audit of the nutritional habits and fitness of employees to see if their lifestyles were healthy.

The findings showed there was definitely room for improvement. Only 20% ate fruit and vegetables regularly and only 31% took regular exercise. There were no preventative health programmes in place, or any initiatives to improve quality of life.

The site decided to launch a wellness programme for all employees with the help of an outside professional. The programme complemented an existing initiative, started by employees themselves, to improve fitness and counter the ill effects of a sedentary lifestyle. The group was assisted by the company doctor (to advise on diet) and a personal trainer (to help with fitness). Yoga was introduced as an alternative to keep fit.

But this did not go far enough and, under the wellness programme, steps were taken to create an environment where people had access to healthy food during the working day. A number of employees have breakfast onsite, or want to snack at other times during the working day, so dispensers offering different types of cereal were installed in the dining area. To tackle the problem of employees not having their 'five a day' portions of fruit and vegetables, a fruit dispensing machine was also installed. Every month, each employee is issued with 20 free tokens to use to obtain fruit from the machine – with the result that employees get the chance to eat fresh fruit every day at work. Uptake has been excellent, and at least 90% of employees at Pilar now eat fruit on a daily basis at work.

Better still, employees have taken their new eating habits home with them. The behaviour change achieved at work is now having a knock on effect on family members of employees as well.