Active Workplace, Active Europe Workshop
A successful joint-event before the summer !
2019, July 09th
On June 21st, the PACTE and EMoCS projects co-organised a workshop on Active Workplace, Active Europe in Brussels at the Committee of the European Regions. The two projects, both funded under the Sport Chapter of the Erasmus+ Programme, decided to join forces to deliver an interactive event to share experiences and ideas on Active Workplaces.
Promoting physical activity at the workplace to tackle the sedentary crisis
With over 200 million inactive citizens, physical inactivity has become one of the most important challenges in Europe. Despite growing scientific evidence on the benefits of promoting healthy lifestyles, 66% of local European decision-makers are unaware of this situation and the sedentary crisis is unfortunately developing.
Promoting Active Cities Throughout Europe (PACTE) and European Meetings of Company Sport (EMoCS) projects intend to contribute to the European effort to raise further awareness on the importance of health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA), and the role it can enrol in and around the workplace. Indeed, workplaces have been overlooked as a setting of focus to promote healthy lifestyles; yet this is the place where Europeans spend most of their time.
An interactive workshop with over 70 stakeholders to discuss Active Workplaces
PACTE and EMoCS were delighted to welcome over 70 stakeholders representing a broad diversity of backgrounds, from companies to sport federations and associations, academics, and local authorities. Participants had several opportunities to share their experience across the three topical workshop sessions that unfolded throughout the day.
This first session aimed to discuss the role municipalities should play to promote active workplaces. Facilitated by Nicky Yates from the Liverpool City Council and Steve Marsden from Evaleo, the idea was to get a better sense of the challenges and potential opportunities municipalities may face to convince companies to invest in physical activity. An inspiring presentation of the city of Liverpool set the basis of the discussion as Nicky Yates demonstrated the progress that has been covered since the city initially recognised the value of physical activity in 2005. Then, the participants were divided into small groups to brainstorm on three main topics. A main point of agreement was for municipalities to remain neutral in the process, while endorsing a role of facilitator to influence physical activity in and around the workplace. Their main aim should be to actively raise-awareness and communicate on the stakes to convince companies on the vast benefits that come with enabling employees to be more active throughout the day. Finally, participants discussed the potential barriers cities could face, from recurring change of governance to bureaucracy working in silos, conflict of interests or financial issues for example.
In the second workshop the participants shared their thoughts and ideas on creating alliances and partnerships to enable active workplaces. The two facilitators, Jerome Péro from FESI and Gurvan Heuze from EFCS, directed the debates to identify key tools and solutions to help decision-makers and companies deliver more effective programmes. What emerged is a real need for multi-level, integrated and holistic approaches and partnerships. As physical activity is often one of the only white flags between managers and employees, it is crucial to include everyone in the programme from the very start, so that employees can feel it’s a collective initiative.
Finally, the last session discussed a potential European certification for active workplaces. Moderators Michael Gross and Alister Dalrymple from Evaleo helped collect participants’ contributions. The latter widely agreed to broaden the approach from sport to physical activity and movement, as they wish the certification could promote all kinds of physical activity and not only those focused on health. There is a true interest for the creation of an external European recognition that might be created only if internal and external stakeholders join forces. To conclude the session, participants shared their views on the investigative stage, trying to find a right balance between a recognition guideline as complete as possible to ensure its effectiveness but not too demanding as it could prevent workplaces from applying.
All inputs have been compiled by both the PACTE and EMoCS projects and will be of true value for the next steps of each project. Stay tuned for further information on PACTE’s next topical workshop on October 4 in Brussels, dedicated to Active Mobility!