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Moving more and eating well at Gisborne’s The Warehouse

Having lost 25 kilos herself through eating well and moving more, Tracy Crago was keen to help her team make a similar difference in their lives.

“I needed to get fit to keep up with my teenagers!” she says. “I know what a difference losing weight and getting fit has made in my life, and I was keen to help team members who wanted to make changes too.”

Tracy is the Assistant Store Manager at the Gisborne Warehouse store and is the champion of the store’s wellbeing programme, known as ‘Giz it a Go’. “That’s about ‘Gisborne’, but it’s also about giving other things a go, whether it’s trying a new activity or sport, or even eating a new vegetable.”

The Gisborne store has focused on Eating Well and Moving More among other wellbeing topics since it began its wellbeing programme in August 2014. The Warehouse Ltd (TWL) supports all its The Warehouse stores to take part in a voluntary wellbeing programme, which the stores design and run themselves. Read how The Warehouse set up its wellbeing programme.

As well as helping some staff become smokefree, over its first year of activity the programme has helped many of the store’s team become more active and eat healthier.

Launching into Moving More

For the programme’s first initiative, Tracy and her wellbeing group decided to run ‘Walk for Wellness’, a 10-kilometre sponsored run/walk.

“Not only did it get people up and moving, it created awareness about the programme,” says Tracy. “We advertised the event using posters illustrated with running vegetables and had a countdown to the day to keep people’s interest up.”

The store’s wellbeing group approached Sport Gisborne for help. “They gave us their 10-kilometre route and maps so we didn’t have to work out a route for ourselves. They were very helpful,” says Tracy.

In all, 20 staff took part. “Most people managed the 10, which was great. We used the event to raise money we could then use to subsidise other activities.”

Moving More activities Gisborne’s The Warehouse store has run:

  • Walking group – A group of staff continue to meet twice a week to go walking. “We meet on Tuesdays after work and Sunday mornings. There are many Sundays I’d like to stay in bed but I can’t because I know I’m expected,” says Tracy.
  • Zumba – For a gold coin donation, staff sweated and danced at an after-work Zumba class.
  • Relay for Life – About 20 staff walked in the relay for more than 24 hours to raise money for the Cancer Society. “This was such a social event,” says Tracy. “Even those who weren’t walking got involved, coming along and cooking dinner. Some people slept in a tent together so they could be there to support each other.”
  • Gym open day – The group organised for a local gym to hold an open day for its staff, allowing them to go along to use the equipment and see if they would like to join.

Eat Well

Eating healthy food is a firm focus for the wellbeing group. Initiatives have included:

  • Nutrition workshops – As well as covering what healthy eating is, a nutritionist taught staff to read nutrition labels. “Such as, even if the front of the packet says ‘fat free’, you need to look for other things that might not be so good. For example, it might be full of sugar,” says Tracy. The store held the workshops at two different times to give shift workers a chance to attend.
  • Recipe of the week – Photocopied healthy recipes are left in the lunchroom each week for people to take home and try.
  • Smoothie and wrap workshops – Money raised from the Walk for Wellness event covered food and equipment The Warehouse supplied for the smoothie and wrap workshops. The workshops covered how to make delicious, nutritious smoothies as well as sharing ideas on what healthy food can go into wraps. Tracy says these workshops were really well attended. “These had strong engagement from the team. Pretty much everyone came to those.”
  • Junkfree June – Some staff swore off junk food for the month of June, and again the wellbeing group’s funds came into play, providing a bowl of fruit in the lunchroom each week to give people a healthy alternative.
  • Cooking classes – The Warehouse in Gisborne is a supporter of the local SuperGrans branch, and in return the store is working with the organisation to give healthy cooking classes to their people.

Tracy says the initiatives that involve social interaction – particularly around food – go over really well. “It’s about teaching people how to think and act differently. And it is working. While we haven’t reached everyone in the store – the night staff in particular are very hard to reach – many people have made changes. For quite a few that’s seen them lose 10 or 15 kilos, which is fantastic.

“Many of the wellbeing activities are very social and are also about us getting together as a team, which is another very important tool to building workplace wellbeing.”

For more information about how The Warehouse approaches workplace wellbeing, please contact Phillipa Bennetts, phone: +64(0)9 489 8900 ext 96156 or email Phillipa.

Listen to Jenny from The Warehouse Gisborne share her story. 

“It’s about teaching people how to think and act differently. And it is working. While we haven’t reached everyone in the store – the night staff in particular are very hard to reach – many people have made changes. For quite a few that’s seen them lose 10 or 15 kilos, which is fantastic."

Tracy Crago, The Warehouse Gisborne
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