Lucille Bleekers interviews Amanda (Mandy) Studholme, the Health, Safety and Environmental Manager at Futamura. Futamura joined the SuperChamps programme a year ago (a programme designed to support wellbeing champions), and Mandy describes the impact the programme has had for building engagement, both across employees on the manufacturing side of the business, and on the office side.
LB: Mandy, you’ve got a number of SuperChamps but you also earlier this year took part in our 6-Week Metabolic Kickstart program. So if we start off with looking at, when you first were looking into a partnership with SuperWellness, what were your main objectives? What were you hoping to achieve with working with a wellbeing provider?
AS: I stumbled across SuperWellness really, just doing an internet search. The ‘health’ in health and safety had kind of been forgotten about. So we wanted to bring that to the forefront. And when I got in touch with SuperWellness, they had everything that we were looking for: the webinars, the posters every month, the wellbeing calendar. It used to take me and another lady from HR quite a lot of time to find posters, find materials that we could use for our internal health campaigns. We don’t have to do anything now because, working with SuperWellness, they give us the topics at the beginning of the year, and then every month, the posters are there. And I wouldn’t be able to create anything as good as that. So it’s twofold really. It was the posters making people aware and also the webinars.
LB: And how has your experience been so far?
AS: I think you feel part of the SuperWellness team. Nothing’s ever too much to ask, there’s always somebody there. I actually feel as if I personally know each and every one of you guys. I think last month I couldn’t find something on the portal so I just emailed Angela and within five, ten minutes it was there, and every step of the way, there’s been help and advice for everything really. I think you do feel part of the team and also everything’s just so easy.
LB: That’s great, obviously from our perspective, we’re thrilled that you are having such a good experience and we do love working with our clients and trying to help out as much as possible. And I was also just thinking, you’ve got employees who are maybe working shifts all day, they’re out on the plant, so they’re not in an office, they don’t have access to watching all the webinars. And so the posters work quite well for you.
AS: Yes, so we’ve now got our wellbeing boards on there. So every month it’s a different topic, from meal ideas to healthy heart, to sleep. We’ve also had the webinars and then the 6-week program, so everything is interlinked. And we also got the booklet for the shift planning meals, which has gone down really well with the shift workers. We also did the body composition testing on site which was really good. I think if we do it again, which we hopefully will, we’ll get more people because of word of mouth.
LB: So, if we look more specifically at the 6-week program, what were your specific aims?
AS: We’ve got an aging workforce, we’ve just all got through COVID where a lot of our eating, drinking habits haven’t been the best, and people have kind of forgotten to look after their health. If you look after your body, it’s going to feel better and you’ll have more energy, better mental health. So that’s why we went into it. And people really, really took to it. We had probably more people on the six-week program joining every week than we have on some of the other webinars. And some of the interaction that we had, you would never think! Some of the ladies really, really took to it and the gents as well. It was really good because every week was different and every week we got something different. For me it was the protein at every meal and the activity – even just getting up every 20 minutes having a walk around. So we got a lot out of it.
LB: And are there any other benefits that you you feel you’ve noticed in your team?
AS: I think because we did the six week program and then the body composition afterwards, a lot of people were actually really, really surprised that what they’d done in those six weeks had actually helped their results on the scales. And it’s not just about looking thinner, but it’s the salt and sugar in people’s diet. There’s lots of different things that we’ve learned. One of the ladies who’s really into a fitness, she’s rubbed off on everyone else. There was a big debate about the three minute plank. It’s really good. And you get so many great recipes as well. A lot of people were creating the food and then saying how good it was. So the benefit was right across the spectrum really. Some people lost weight, some people just felt healthier, some people got out into the fresh air. It’s lots of different things but every single person got something out of it.
LB: Just back up what you’re saying, we did a questionnaire at the start of the program and a questionnaire at the end and we we then compared to see if we had any improvement. We had 33% of the people that took part said that they felt that they were eating healthier now. And there was an improvement by 77% of those who were having four plus portions of fruit and veg. Snacking was down, people were drinking more water, reducing fizzy drink. Then on the exercise element as well, those who did three days or more of physical activity increased by 25% and there was a 50% increase in those who do muscle strengthening exercises at least three times a week. What I quite like as well is when I get feedback from people saying their families have adopted the changes as well. There was also certainly an improvement in overall mood and positive outlook and happiness. Happiness improved by 77% and actually satisfaction with life by 40%.
AS: Yes mental health improved as well. By getting out and improving wellbeing, just even going for a walk at lunch time. And you actually see that people continued with it, not just the six weeks, it’s still continuing.
LB: To finish off Mandy, what would you say to any other organizations who are looking at their wellbeing strategy and in a similar position, needing some support?
AS: I would definitely suggest signing up for SuperWellness because I was in a position where I didn’t know where to start. Where do you start with a strategy? We had a calendar. We half attempted to fulfill it, but with SuperWellness, everything is just sent to you or it’s on the portal. Everything is just effortless. And the standard and quality of everything, I couldn’t do that in a million years. And everybody is fantastic. They’re so helpful, and actually they feel like the friends because you’ve got so much contact with people. So I would definitely recommend SuperWellness, yes.
Check out our interview with Mandy’s colleague Martin Cockroft, to hear about his experience of volunteering as a SuperChamp to support colleagues at Futamura.