As most of the FB Chain team spend their working days sitting behind desks, the Letchworth-based chain manufacturer has decided to take action by launching a number of healthy lifestyle initiatives, including a six-week gym fitness programme.

“Moving into the new office wasn’t just a chance to grow as a business, it was also an opportunity to develop as a team,” says FB Chain’s managing director, Peter Church.

The company’s proximity to a supermarket had resulted in an almost constant supply of cake and biscuits in the office, to the point where a bookcase in the staffroom had been aptly renamed ‘cake cupboard’. In addition, lots of staff were eating takeaway food for lunch. “We managed to persuade staff to stop bringing treats into the office, and to start eating more healthily in general,” Peter says. “Who knows, we might even begin to see a few books on the shelves!”

The new office has also been equipped with height adjustable desks, which allow staff to work standing up. Standing up while working has been proven to reduce the risk of weight gain, heart disease and back pain. It also helps to improve mood and energy levels. “Some staff members have already reported having fewer aches and pains, which is great to hear,” continues Peter.

The company has also taken small steps to increase the amount staff move. The number of personal printers has been reduced, eating at desks is no longer permitted and the addition of stairs means staff are required to be more active. As part of the programme, staff wore activity trackers, which showed that, on average, they are taking more than 1,000 extra steps per day.

For six weeks in early 2017, 15 members of staff worked with local gym The Hub on a company-funded programme. It began with individual sessions with a nutritionist, who took base measurements and agreed personal goals. Participants had full use of the gym and were supported by personal trainers. Combined, the team had lost 35.5lbs in bodyweight, 27.3cm off their waists and 20cm off their hips by the end of the programme. Six members of staff have now signed up for continued gym membership.

“The programme has played a key part in creating a positive working environment, and there seems to be a little more energy around the office,” Peter concludes.