Linfox makes gains with new workplace health initiative

By: Brad Gardner, Photography by: Brad Gardner


Healthy Fox program has helped Linfox employees shed a significant amount of weight.

Linfox makes gains with new workplace health initiative
Early wins: Marian Merrigan says Linfox's Healthy Fox program has already achieved significant results.

 

Linfox’s fledgling workplace program aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of its workforce is already delivering positive results.

The Healthy Fox program was only launched in July last year, but workers are already reporting significant wins, particularly concerning weight loss.

The program runs initiatives based on four pillars: nutrition, fitness and strength, mental health and wellbeing, and general health.

Health checks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease have already been carried out under the program, along with challenges to improve worker fitness and eating habits.

"We’re still learning and we’re still finding our feet. We’re keeping it simple but we have got some really good results in a short amount of time," Linfox national health and wellbeing manager Marian Merrigan told a recent forum on truck driver health.

A Linfox truck driver who took part in a pilot 10,000 steps challenge as part of Healthy Fox lost 10kg. Merrigan says the company now plans to implement a national challenge in September.

"We had a driver on a pilot program a couple of months ago that was able to safely make additional steps around his truck as he was clipping curtains. He had a 10kg loss within six weeks," she says.

Healthy Fox also piloted a 10-week healthy eating challenge. Merrigan says 36 employees involved in the pilot reported an average weight loss of 3.5kg, while five employees lost more than 8kg each.

"The kickstart challenge has now rolled out nationally to all of our Linfox sites," she says.

Merrigan says there are 944 Linfox employees taking part in the challenge, which is running for 12 weeks.

"There are some prizes at the end of that. We are also getting reports back from some sites that we have some significant wins there of 10kg losses or more," she says.

Linfox has also spent time on small-scale initiatives, such as marking food in vending machines to notify workers if their selection is healthy and encouraging better hydration habits.

"We have had significant weight loss of somewhere between 4kg to 6kg [because] of drivers changing their hydration habits," Merrigan says.

She says drivers are giving energy drinks, flavoured milk and sodas the flick in favour of waters infused with fresh fruit.

"We’re also trying to partner with some existing food companies, and why we’re wanting to do that is so we can promote them and say this is a Healthy Fox option," Merrigan says.

"We can state that this is a healthier choice you can make in your day, especially when service stations and fuel stops are often the only places our drivers can be."

Upon the launch of Healthy Fox in 2014, Linfox chairman Peter Fox told staff he believed the workplace played an important part in equipping employees with information and opportunities to make healthy lifestyle choices.

The nutrition side of Healthy Fox includes promoting alternative food choices, menu planners, and healthy canteen options.

Along with the walking challenge, the fitness and strength aspect of Healthy Fox includes a program on spinal health and involvement in charity events such as Relay for Life.

The mental health and wellbeing pillar partners with national depression awareness and support group beyondblue to provide materials and resources, briefing sessions and employee assistance schemes.

The final part of Healthy Fox, general health, provides health checks and education on fatigue management, smoking and drugs and alcohol.

Linfox has also set up a Facebook page containing links to articles on healthy eating, exercise, weight loss, depression and dealing with stress.

 

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