St Helens staff fitness sessions are a real hit

Gemma Ireland, Sports Development – Adult Participation Lead at St Helens Council joins us for the autumn edition of MSP Roundup to tell us all about the online fitness sessions they’ve been delivering for staff. 

“Sports Development were asked to deliver a regular fitness session for Council staff, as part of the Workplace Health programme. With virtually all staff working from home and the issues that COVID brings, we felt it best to deliver an online beginner fitness session, via Microsoft Teams.

The uptake to-date from staff has been fantastic.

I think this is partly due to the fact that staff are now used to online meetings and have the equipment and knowledge on how to use Teams. Added to the fact that how staff manage their hours (in terms of when they take lunch breaks etc), is now more relaxed and there’s no need to fight through traffic to get to a session – people are really engaged. 

Apart from the instructor leading the session, all participants turn their camera and microphone off, after saying hello. One because it aids the quality of internet speed, but also, some people are quite worried about their fitness levels and the extra weight they have put on since the start of lockdown. Turning their camera off means they don’t have to worry about what they look like or what other people will think of them. We focus particularly on exercises that work the neck and shoulders – a problem area for many people who are working from home, perhaps from sitting on a sofa or at a dining table that might not be the correct height

We’ve been offering as much as possible to get the general public active during these difficult times, but we also recognise how important it is to focus on our workforce too. The loss of colleague and team support you get from a physical office, has been difficult for a lot of people as they try to adjust, and our mental health and socialising (albeit virtual), is just as important as our physical health.  We’ve currently got around 35 people taking part in each session and are looking to add on a second weekly session.”


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