The 'Take Ten' Pilot

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With 74% of adults in employment, spending an average of third of their waking hours in the workplace, it’s important that we embed physical activity into as many workplaces as we can across the borough. That’s why one of our groups for the Design Council process was focused on workplaces. At the end of the Design Council process, the workplaces design thinkers group decided to pilot their “Take Ten” initiative to get everyone moving more throughout the working week.

Before the workshops began, the team was aware of the wealth of evidence to show that a more active working environment is beneficial for employee health. Healthier, more active employees have been found to be more productive, have lower absence levels, reduced presenteeism and reduced stress and depression levels. Through the design council process, the workplaces group found that there were different barriers for employees, middle management and senior management; If you are interested in finding out more, you can explore our findings in our design council blog. “Take Ten” was created to address these barriers, and test the most efficient method for getting people to move more at work.

Calderdale Council Staff taking part in standing stretches behind their desks
One of the teams taking part in a morning workout session

What is Take Ten?

In April 2019 over 300 employees from Calderdale Council, Lloyds Banking Group, Calderdale College and SmartMove took part in the three month pilot to encourage physical activity in the workplace by giving employees an extra break of 10 minutes per day to be active in some way. The aim of the pilot was to increase physical activity levels by splitting the participants into groups, with different approaches for each group. The different approaches were:

  • Recruiting a manager to support the process
  • Daily motivational emails
  • A buddy support system
  • Equipment such as table tennis, desk pedals, hula hoops and more
  • A team-wide step challenge
  • A Facebook group for members to share their progress with each other

No matter which group they were in, the participants were given ideas to be more active at work such as 10 minute walking routes, standing meetings, walking meetings, desk and office exercises, whilst also being encouraged to come up with their own ideas.

6 members of the take ten pilot out for a walk in Piece Hall, Halifax.
A walking group in Piece Hall, Halifax

Halfway through the process, we caught up with Marie (one of the organisers), Toni from Calderdale Council, and Stuart & Dom from SmartMove to get their thoughts on the process to date:

How did it go?

The pilot spanned from April to June, with a wrap up event in Lloyds head office in Halifax to share learning and insight from representatives of each of the groups. There was, of course, a ten minute exercise break in that session.

A table full of 12 take ten participants debating the pilot at LLoyds head office, Halifax.
The learning event at Lloyds, Halifax

Feedback from participants was overwhelmingly positive with most employees saying that the Take Ten pilot had improved both their physical and mental health; in addition further common benefits were identified such as improved relationships with colleagues and team members, being more productive, feeling happier and less stressed.  Employees also reported feeling valued by their employers as they cared about their health and wellbeing. The following quotes illustrate some of this feedback:

“Being part of the Take Ten pilot has been invigorating.  It has helped me ‘clear my head’ when under pressure at work, it has been fun, it has helped me build stronger relationships with others in the team.  I feel better in my day to day life as have continued the Take Ten approach / philosophy outside of work.”

Take Ten Participant

“Without the Take Ten Pilot I wouldn’t have been able to get any exercise during my working day due to time restraints but now I use it every day to get much needed exercise which I feel is hugely beneficial to my fitness levels and wellbeing.”

Take Ten Participant

What’s next?

As the feedback has been so positive, the next step is to take the learning and tweak the process before rolling it out again to a wider network. To do this we will need to develop a Take Ten brand and toolkit to allow it to be more easily shared, and we will need to develop the workplaces network to ensure that we’re spreading the idea to as many workplaces as possible throughout the borough. As for the workplaces design thinking group – there will be more work ahead to find different ways to embed physical activity within workplaces.