Nestle encourages staff to take a long walk

No, not another redundancy scheme; this is an employee wellbeing initiative, by food company Nestle.

Last Updated: 06 Nov 2012

Nestle UK’s new boss Paul Grimwood has come up with an unusual way to boost productivity: he wants employees to spend less time working. Or to be more precise, he wants them to spend more time walking. He’s encouraging his staff to get involved with a global competition that requires teams of seven to take a ‘virtual walk’ around the world in 125 days. Grimwood reckons this will make his workforce happier, healthier and therefore more productive. Assuming they don’t start pigging out on Kit-Kats in the Nestle canteen to compensate…

As part of this ‘Walk for Miles’ initiative, Nestle UK is putting forward no fewer than 255 teams (that’s nearly 1,800 people) for the Global Corporate Challenge. They’ve all been given a pedometer, and their aim is to walk an average of 14,000 steps a day for the next four months. How they manage this is up to them: if their normal routine is insufficient, they can always go for walks in the park at lunchtime, or get off the bus a few stops early, or even do a few extra trips ups and down the stairs. (Perhaps Nestle could put a few tins of Quality Street on the top floor.)

Now, some will no doubt be sceptical about a company that’s famous for its sweets and chocolate making such a fuss about healthy living. But Grimwood, whose own team kicked off proceedings with a sponsored treadmill walk this morning (we’re guessing his other six team members found it hard to say no), insists that this is the best way for him to boost efficiency and productivity among his new charges: ‘We feel the results on the bottom line, and they feel the benefit to their waist lines,’ he said, showing that if it doesn’t work out for him in confectionery, he’ll always have a career in cheese…

And just in case any of his staff struggle for motivation to go power-walking in their lunch-break, Nestle has even roped in some elite athletes to provide a bit of inspiration. MT’s favourite cyclist Victoria Pendleton and teenage diving star Tom Daly are among the Olympians signed up to Team Nestle, who (presumably in exchange for a healthy cheque) will be on hand to provide words of encouragement, and possibly some tips on performance-enhancing lycra. Given their respective disciplines, Nestle staff might even end up doing more walking than they do.

In today's bulletin:

FSA planning for worst recession in 60 years
Psst, wanna buy a car maker? Vauxhall jobs in balance as GM talks stall
Nestle encourages staff to take a long walk
Editor's blog: Recession puts wind in bean sales
Nick Hood: Wall Street worries about crypto-Communism

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