The journey began with a question, ‘How do we keep staff healthy and bring them together while some are working from home and some are at the office?’ We needed a challenge that encouraged staff to exercise while also encouraging them to communicate, so we came up with the ‘Road to Olympus’.
What was ‘The Road to Olympus’?
The distance from the Tyne Tunnels to Mount Olympus, home of the Greek Gods, was just over 3,200km. This became TT2’s first ‘Health and Wellbeing Challenge’. We figured our staff could cover the distance in 2 weeks with teamwork and dedication, two of our core values. It worked out at about 3km per staff member per day if everyone got on board.
The Road to Olympus – down to the wire
The reaction from staff was fantastic, with over 50% of our staff taking part. Staff could email, Whatsapp or post their distances in a dedicated Facebook Workplace Group. The latter worked particularly well as staff posted pictures and videos of their runs, walks with their dogs and trips with their family along with their distances. It became a real hub of positivity among the staff and a great way for staff to interact, since they weren’t getting the opportunity to see each other in the office.
We were still a bit short going into the final weekend and we knew we’d all have to pull together to avoid failing our first health and wellbeing challenge. The TT2 management team decided to add a good cause as an extra incentive to get us over the line. For every kilometre that we collectively do, TT2 would donate £1. It was only on the final day that we managed to hit our goal, travelling a total of 3,422km.
Running for Good
Since so many staff were involved in the challenge, we took a vote on which charities we’d like to make donations to. Out of the votes we chose three charities, Marie Curie Foundation, The Dog and Cat Shelter, and The People’s Kitchen, splitting the donation equally between them.
The charities were delighted with the donation and the staff were proud of what they had achieved. Beth from the Dog and Cat Shelter said, “The fundraising everyone at TT2 has done is absolutely incredible and we are honoured to have been one of the chosen charities so we’d like to extend a huge thank you to you all.”
“It costs around £1.25 million each year to run the charity, with £15,000 every month being spent on veterinary bills alone.
“This could be anything from allergies to ear infections, x-rays or even surgeries such as cruciate ligament repair which one of our dogs, Angel [pictured below], has had in 2019.”
Laura from Marie Curie said, “Everyone at Marie Curie is thrilled to have been chosen by the team at TT2 as a Charity Partner and we are so excited to work together.”
“Marie Curie have been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic so your support means even more to us now.”
The People’s Kitchen were also pleased to be involved. Jackie from the People’s Kitchen said “The Peoples Kitchen are delighted you have chosen our charity to make a donation to following your wellbeing challenge. We provide food and friendship to homeless and vulnerable people in the North East area. Covid-19 has been a challenging time as we could not serve hot food for a few months but changed our service to a delivery service and made well-being calls to our friends [People’s Kitcen service users] to ensure they were all ok.”
All three charities sent us pictures to show us some of ways the donation helped them and they are excited about working with us in the future.
Where to next?
The health and wellbeing challenge was a definite success, and TT2 are keen to continue building on the success of this health and wellbeing programme.
The Health and Wellbeing Mission Around the Moon is now live, with the aim of getting staff to travel 11,000km in 8 weeks. Run, swim, row, cycle or moonwalk, it’s up to you. We will be looking at other ways to spread the health and wellbeing message among our staff and users and would love to hear your ideas.