From Meditation to Cricket: GE UAE’s HealthAhead Week Inspires Employees
Imagine you’ve just come out of an intense meeting. You have another one later today; the big report is due tomorrow, and the project update is on Sunday. But right now, you’re opening a door from a busy hallway into a room that’s quiet, peaceful and darkened.
You and a dozen other employees are about to spend the next hour doing calming yoga and meditation.
This opportunity to slow down and practice mindfulness is just one of many initiatives that GE UAE is running as part of the company’s global HealthAhead program.
HealthAhead seeks to inspire GE employees and their families to achieve their best health possible through a culture that empowers and supports living a healthy well-balanced life.
Although the program operates various initiatives year-round, to raise awareness of the program among GE’s UAE employees, the company recently offered all the initiatives over seven days, a “HealthAhead Week.”
Alongside meditation sessions promoting healthy eating, running & cycling outings, and table tennis tournaments were also held throughout the week.
As well, health checkup booths were set up at GE offices in the country to give employees a quick snapshot of how they are doing. Free coffee and healthy snacks were on offer, while healthy lunch options – which are always available at the company cafeterias – were promoted with discounted prices.
“The HealthAhead program reflects GE’s understanding that we as employees are constantly using our imagination to help our clients and improve the world,” said Joe Chalouhi, Senior Executive HR, Global Growth Operations, GE & Bakher Hughes, a GE Company.
“We recognize that we can best help employees do this by fostering a healthy environment at work and home, and even out in our communities. But that requires real action and a culture that empowers and supports living a healthy well-balanced life. That’s what HealthAhead does,” he said.
By the end of the week, hundreds of employees had directly participated in at least one aspect of HealthAhead. Nearly 325 employees received health checks, 150 enjoyed the healthy lunch options, and 100 tried the healthy snacks. More than 25 did yoga or meditation, 25 played table tennis and more than 25 enjoyed cycling or running.
The HealthAhead theme for 2018 is “mindfulness,” so that has brought a special focus on activities such as yoga, meditation, and special gamified apps designed to encourage mindful behavior. Moreover, a Global 1-week challenge called “SenseAhead,” was introduced encouraging employees to stop and use their five senses to think about what they are seeing, smelling, tasting, touching or hearing. Another part of the challenge involves counting steps, with teams competing to see which group can amass the most total steps during the one-week period.
GE also is working with the meditation app Headspace to give employees a free trial of the app, and then discounted pricing if they decide to use the service.
The HealthAhead MENA team recently launched the “HealthAhead Hints”. A platform for employees to share their stories and inspire others to get started on their own healthy lifestyle journey.
Read more stories here about GE and its employees across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan region.