"We need to get more exercise" - Interview with a chief company doctor
What exactly are your main areas of activity?
At ERGO, I am responsible, among other things, for developing and implementing a wide range of measures to promote health in the workplace. These include initiatives for our employees in the areas of exercise, nutrition, relaxation and addiction prevention and management. This also includes company sports, which we are now reactivating after the long pandemic with numerous sports activities in sports halls and also outdoors. I am particularly pleased that our employee sports festival in soccer and volleyball will be held again in the summer, with teams from our international units from numerous countries expected to take part next year. At these sports festivals, the focus is on being together.
In my function, I am also responsible for the entire range of vaccinations, such as flu and vaccinations to protect staff when traveling abroad. Last year, we added our company vaccination campaign against the corona virus. The latter has been very successful with more than 4,500 vaccinations, most recently including the so-called booster vaccination. We expect to be able to continue this vaccination campaign in the autumn of 2022 if required.
I am very pleased that we have a strong cooperation partner for health promotion at our side in BIG direkt gesund. Together, we are developing an attractive offer for around 12,000 employees from Hamburg to Munich.
The topic of health@work is becoming increasingly important in companies. Where do you see the greatest need for health promotion today? Do employees need more support in physical or mental health?
We are still in a special situation due to the pandemic. Many sports activities, such as swimming or regular visits to gyms, as well as team sports, have not been possible. This means that we all have to get more exercise now! However, studies also show how important it is to have psychological support at this time. This applies to every age group, by the way. That's why we have joined forces with BIG direkt gesund to focus on mental health, among other things. We offer both digital and analog measures, i.e., virtual and face to face. These include, for example, individual counseling sessions such as online coaching on recognizing, assessing and coping with stress, and lectures by experts on a range of topics, as well as getting to know and practicing relaxation exercises through flash yoga and meditation.
Are there any sports offers that employees particularly like to take up?
Definitely: our company sports program with - depending on the location - sports ranging from basketball to golf to water skiing. After the break caused by the pandemic, many colleagues are already looking forward to the traditional skiing and sailing trips that have been on offer for many years. At the Düsseldorf and Cologne sites, our centre for back problems is in great demand.
Finally, a personal question: What do you do in your free time as a balance to your professional activities?
Of course: exercise and healthy eating! For me, cycling is the ideal balance - I have a racing bike, a gravel bike and I also do spinning. Regular gymnastics and weight training complement my exercise regime. In addition, a healthy and balanced diet is very important to me and my family. It fits well that I love cooking and I love baking even more.