Software organisation Liberty Information Technology (Liberty IT) hosted two nutrition workshops for its 400 Belfast-based employees as part of its focus on employee health.
The 45-minute events, delivered by Vital Nutrition, were held in May and June 2018 as the main component of the organisation’s ‘healthy quarter’ during April, May and June this year.
Around 20 employees attended each workshop, and topics focused on mood-boosting and stress-busting foods and included a cookery demonstration and tasting session, which covered quick and easy lunches and healthy breakfasts.
The healthy quarter was organised by Liberty IT’s employee health and wellbeing committee, called LIT Balance, alongside its charity committee. In addition to the nutrition workshops, the organisation arranged a ‘pound for pound’ challenge, which saw Liberty IT contribute £1 to its charity partner for every pound of weight staff members lost during the challenge. Employees paid a joining fee to start the challenge and gain access to recipes and further information, with the fee donated to charity. Liberty IT also created a booklet for them to take home, featuring recipes, information and links to related websites.
In addition, the organisation held a lunchtime walking club where employees could go for a 30-minute walk, as well as providing healthy snacks, such as bags of nuts and health bars, as an alternative to the vending machine, with all payments donated to its charity partner.
The nutrition workshops were communicated to staff using videos and adverts on internal TV screens, promotions on internal instant messenger forums and an all-employee email. Information was also put on the staff intranet, where employees could sign up.
The activities align with the organisation’s ongoing strategy around employee health and wellbeing. This includes providing free fruit every other week and hosting exercise classes throughout the year. LIT Balance, which primarily organises these activities, was formed four years ago.
Liberty IT is now planning to host more nutritional workshops for its 100 employees at its Dublin site in September-October 2018. Its Belfast site held nutritional workshops in 2017 and is planning to continue with more workshops in 2019.
Johanne Jefferson, communications specialist at Liberty IT, says: “It’s very easy to just buy convenience food, but [employees] feel sluggish afterwards and we thought that if we bring in these nutrition workshops, it will help people to choose options that will give them fuel for the rest of the day, and just think about making smart choices that actually help [them] make it through the day without sugar crashes, or needing junk food snacks to keep going. So, it was all about boosting employee energy and giving them informed choices to try and make their day better.”