Bringing fitness into the workplace

People pass by an OCBC ATM in Singapore's central business district on January 7. The bank is one such company where health and fitness are becoming a part of its corporate culture.
People pass by an OCBC ATM in Singapore's central business district on January 7. The bank is one such company where health and fitness are becoming a part of its corporate culture. PHOTO: REUTERS

Health and fitness are becoming a part of corporate culture in Singapore. Three other companies tell how they encourage employees to stay healthy and get fit.

  • AIA Singapore: Not many people can say their company is paying them to stay healthy. All AIA Singapore employees get automatic membership in AIA Vitality, a wellness programme which gives members points for taking part in health-based activities, including health screenings and gym visits.

Points earned from the programme, which non-employees can apply for, can be used to gain rewards, from movie discounts to cashbacks on groceries.

Since the programme started in 2013, the company has seen an increase in the number of employees making efforts to get healthy, including getting health checks, exercising regularly and choosing healthier foods.

The company also supports events such as mass runs. It holds rock-climbing sessions, badminton tournaments, Zumba classes as well as futsal and tennis games.

Ms Ho Lee Yen, chief marketing officer at AIA Singapore, said the benefits of a healthier workforce are multifold, not only in ensuring the well-being of individuals but also boosting their productivity levels.

  • KPMG: Auditing firm KPMG has a strong team of athletes.

Under its Programme for Elite Athletes at KPMG (Peak) initiative, national athletes working full-time in the company can focus on their sports as they are provided with paid leave and work flexibility for their training and tournaments.

BONDING OVER SPORTS

We believe sports can help to break down hierarchical boundaries and silos. The trend of bonding over sports will continue.

MS KOH CHING CHING, head of group corporate communications, OCBC Bank.

Started in 2009, Peak has benefitted athletes like national bowler Jasmine Yeong-Nathan, who is a senior associate with the com- pany's management consulting (business transformation) team.

KPMG's recreation club holds monthly sports clinics, pilates, Zumba and yoga classes for staff.

Staff are fully sponsored for events such as the Standard Chartered Marathon and JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge.

Mr Quek Shu Ping, head of people, performance and culture at KPMG in Singapore, said the firm focuses on its staff and puts their work-life, physical and mental well-being as priorities.

For the company's efforts in promoting a well-balanced and healthy lifestyle among its staff, KPMG was conferred the Health Promotion Board's Singapore Health Award (Platinum) in 2014.

  • OCBC Bank: The bank sponsored the first mass cycling event in Singapore in 2009.

Ms Koh Ching Ching, its head of group corporate communications, said the bank decided to sponsor such an event because cycling "is a sport that encourages teamwork and bonding".

It has continued to sponsor mass cycling events here. The latest - OCBC Cycle 2016 - will be held on Oct 1 and 2.

Employees are encouraged to form teams to take part in the Inter-divisional Challenge at these events.

Ms Koh said staff would meet after work hours and on weekends to train, share tips on improving their cycling performance and shop for cycling gear. Non-cycling staff would form cheerleading teams to support their colleagues.

She said: "We believe sports can help to break down hierarchical boundaries and silos. The trend of bonding over sports will continue."

The bank's staff recreation club also organises fitness activities such as pilates, yoga, cardio training, body toning, body combat, zumba and line dancing.

The bank holds bi-annual cross- border games, where teams from OCBC Bank Singapore go to Kuala Lumpur to compete with staff from OCBC Bank Malaysia.

Timothy Goh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2016, with the headline 'Bringing fitness into the workplace'. Print Edition | Subscribe