It is Government's ambition that departments work closely together to create a more physically active nation, where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy the many benefits that sport and physical activity bring, at every stage in their lives. And with this in mind Civil Service employees are being encouraged to lead the way with the Civil Service Workplace Challenge.
The Civil Service Workplace Challenge is an initiative promised in the Government's Sports Strategy 'Sporting Future: A Strategy for An Active Nation’, published in December 2015. It comprises a portal where civil servants in a number of pilot departments can sign up for a range of challenges, for example, doing a specified number of walking steps over a set period of time. Participants can also share their sport and physical activity levels and the website enables teams to compete against each other. Users can enter into online 'challenges' to gain points, populate leader boards, set personal goals and even raise money for charity.
The Civil Service Workplace Challenge is designed to offer something for every participant providing a variety of options, activities, and possible targets - including recording CO2 saved by walking or cycling instead of driving to work.
The Civil Service Workplace Challenge follows the success of the Public Health England (PHE) Workplace Challenge which has been in operation for over 18 months as part of PHE’s wellbeing programme which aims to help over 5,000 members of staff to be healthy at work.
The organisations taking part in the initial pilot of the Civil Service Workplace Challenge are Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Department of Health (DH), Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), the Cabinet Office (CO), the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR). Their participation is being funded for an initial 12 month period by DCMS. Over 425 Civil Service employees have joined the programme in just the first 3 weeks since the Civil Service Workplace Challenge launched.
Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said:
"I am delighted to see the Civil Service Workplace Challenge in place, as recommended in the government's sport strategy 'Sporting Future: A Strategy for An Active Nation'. The Workplace Challenge has already been successful in encouraging people to get active in ways that appeal to them while fostering a spirit of friendly, fun competition! An active workforce means better staff health and wellbeing, engagement and commitment. I look forward to seeing the impact that this programme has across those government departments involved in the pilot and would encourage everyone who has the opportunity to sign up."
The Civil Service Workplace Challenge launched at the beginning of July with a Rio team challenge where Civil Service employees from participating departments get together in teams with the aim of collectively getting as many people to Rio as possible. Over 60 teams took up the challenge and covered over 24,000 miles in just four weeks – the equivalent of 4 people covering the distance from London to Rio!
The launch of the programme coincided with the Civil Service Physical Activity week and staff from DCMS were joined by the Sports Minister for a midday mile walk (pictured).
Following the Rio team challenge, participating departments will be developing programmes of activity for employees in partnership with their local County Sports Partnership and the Civil Service Sports Council. Workplace champion training will also be delivered in partnership with the British Heart Foundation Health at Work team to help volunteers from across the Civil Service to get more staff involved and to create active workplaces.To find out more about how your workplace can follow the lead of the Civil Service to realise the benefits of a healthy and active workplace why not get involved in the Workplace Challenge and support our manifesto – www.workplacechallenge.org.uk/manifesto