It’s World Health Day this Sunday (or today, if you’re reading this on the 7th of April 2019). Around the world, the WHO and other organisations are looking to bring more awareness to the vast inequalities that exist in the world between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ when it comes to health care and provision. This year, the focus of the campaign surrounds universal health coverage, which really shouldn’t be an issue in this day and age.
We try to be as healthy as possible, here in the office, knowing that even in our city, Glasgow health issues affect thousands of our citizens- and more support is needed. We know that we’re in the privileged minority, but we’re trying our best to introduce healthy options and activity to help not just our staff but the wider community too. Here’s an insight into how we stay healthy at Swipii… And how you can promote healthy living as well as health coverage for all.
If you know anything about being healthy, then you’ll know that getting your five-a-day is always held in high esteem. Fruit and veg can provide you with almost all of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy, as part of a balanced diet. So, we’ve introduced Fruit at Work. It’s provided to us by a company called Fruits in the City. Not only does this mean we can make sure everyone in the office manages to have access to fresh fruit, we’re also trying to support the community. Fruits in the City are also supporters of Edinburgh-based charity Streetwork and have teamed up with charity FareShare to make sure that more vulnerable members of our society are also getting access to the same fresh fruit. Fruit at work can help to promote a healthy lifestyle at home too, so it’s worth introducing it into your work if you haven’t already!
Staying active, for many, is the hardest part of improving your health. A good few of the staff at Swipii elect to use their lunch break in order to squeeze in their exercise for the day, with a lunch run or a short trip to the local gym. Some people are put off physical activity during the lunch break, due to the embarrassment of the red face when you come back or due to “lack of time”. Seriously though, it’s not for everyone. This is just one way in which staff here stay healthy. That said, it’s a great form of exercise, and it can get you energised for your afternoon ahead. I for one feel a slump at around 3pm, maybe I should take up lunch running. There are LOADS of tips on how to motivate yourself into going for a lunchtime run *takes notes*.
Part of the company culture here at Swipii is built around these four tenets: being mindful, being respectful, being empowering and being nurturing. If you want to find out more About Us and our culture, you should be able to get an idea from our blog and other pages on the site. Being mindful, in particular, can have a huge impact on your health, as is backed up by the Mental Health Foundation. Each member of the Swipii team works at their own, sustainable pace, and is encouraged to take care of themselves and maintain a work-life balance. On top of that, we try to make sure we’re always being mindful of others, giving support and guidance where needed. Mindfulness has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety, so it’s important to keep in mind.
As we mentioned, being mindful and taking care of our mental health includes being conscious of keeping a work-life balance. Being able to make your job work around your life and having that flexibility, can have “positive effects on health and wellbeing” (Source: Cochrane Library). At Swipii, we make sure everyone can feel like they have flexibility and don’t feel trapped in a schedule. Whether you need to work from home one day a week due to childcare, or you just want to have a working day that starts and ends a bit later because it suits your day-to-day pattern better, that’s entirely up to you. Self-scheduling puts you in control of your day and can lead to staff getting more rest and generally having better mental health.
Plastic bottles continue to be one of the biggest pollutants of our oceans, and one of the huge problem items always ending up in our landfills. In the UK, we use up to 13 BILLION plastic bottles every year and only about half of these are being recycled (Source: Refill). Did you know “Ingested plastic has turned up in almost 92% of animal-meets-marine debris reports” (Source also: Refill). That’s mental. We’re doing our best here to try and reduce the amount of waste we’re sending to landfills or into our oceans by providing each member of staff with their own reusable bottle to use in the office and at home. It’s a small step, but it has already reduced all of the team’s use of plastic water bottles- and it’s even inspired some to move onto reusable coffee mugs for when we visit the coffee shop downstairs too!
Not only are there environmental issues with water for marine life, there are issues surrounding the provision of clean, safe water to people just like us around the world. Health provisions in some countries are just appalling, which the WHO is trying to improve. Brewgooder is a Scottish company who set out with the idea to provide clean water to as many as one million people, by selling quality craft beer and using the profits to build the infrastructure required in villages and towns around the world to provide safe, clean drinking water. Their Office Beer Club has 94 companies in the club, all paying a subscription for beer- the profits from the Office Beer Club have already meant that 14 different projects have been completed. This has made sure 3,500 more people have access to the basic necessity of clean water. Skyscanner, Monzo, and Slack (and Swipii) are just some of the companies committing money every month towards helping improve the everyday lives of people around the world.
As with everything, it’s just the start. It’s shocking that 844 million people don’t have access to clean water. Every minute a newborn dies due to lack of access to clean, safe water and a sanitary environment (Source both: WaterAid). And then you get onto the topic of health coverage, the focus for this year’s World Health Day. Even with more clean water becoming accessible every day, children, adults and everyone in between are falling seriously ill and just don’t have access to the care they may need. What can we do about it? Try! There’s a #HealthForAll Petition live right now, which looks to push the United Nations General Assembly to make a worldwide commitment to making universal health coverage a reality.