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Author's profile photo Stefka Stoyancheva

[Health @ SAP Labs Bulgaria] Healthy living is a personal decision

Most of us spent at least 40 hours per week at work, and we know that healthiness has proven to be the key to personal and corporate wellness. Luckily SAP Labs Bulgaria emphasizes on that and has numerous initiatives to help and support us, as employees, having a good work-life balance and healthy lifestyle.

The program that I personally find successful and I would like to share, was both practical and accessible. It started more than two years ago when I attended a lecture at the office which was part of a Sport Day organized by the company. The content was about general information, an introduction to basic healthy principles and the most enthusiastic fitness instructor who later inspired me to change most of my habits.

Healthy living includes creating a healthy community, and the next step was a page in our company social network, Jam – created in order to help sharing the lectures and videos and making the content available to everyone within the company. A Facebook group followed, with more information on various topics concerning food, fitness, health. Together with the lectures, where a different theme was discussed every time, a beta version of a new app for logging food and exercises was introduced to a pilot group of employees who wanted to participate. And today is the 785th day since I have started recording physical activity, meals and snacks (ok, I may skip and cheat sometimes) using an app on my mobile phone – this helps me monitor the essential nutrients in meals and focus on balanced diet combined with exercises. And I find this the most important achievement so far, creating a sustainable training habits.

To support the employees’ health and wellness SAP Labs Bulgaria runs various initiatives, and I would like share my experience with some of them.

  • Card for sport activities in various fitness and wellness centres. I use it almost every day, I discovered aqua aerobics and go for a training 5-6 times a week.
  • A global subsidy for activity trackers was available last year. I have made a research for the tracker that suits me best, it took time and I thought I found the one, however, always on my mind there were questions: “Do you need a device that counts your steps? Do you care that there is a reminder for making you walk around when you have so many things to do and you have been sitting for an hour? Are you going to be more active, if you track every movement”. And the answers were No, so I haven’t purchased an activity tracker. But I see a lot of colleagues around me have participated in the program and are very happy with the motivation activity trackers give them.
  • On-site fitness hall in the building that is opened 24/7. This is something I really enjoy, because of the convenience of being at the office and at the same time can respond immediately when there are urgent matters. For me it works well because this is less stressful than being out of the office for a training.
  • Discounts on shopping bio foods, and nutrition supplements. Today we all lack time and quality food is not the easy to find, and I appreciate the options we can use to order and receive goods from certified suppliers directly to the office.
  • Fresh and healthy food option in the canteen. It is always great to have the opportunity to choose a healthy meal, in my case a great amount of vegetables, for lunch while enjoying a conversation with the colleagues.
  • Sport talks. Within the company there are colleagues that can share a lot for their hobby, and it is worth listening to their stories and become part of their sport achievements.
  • Vehicle policy that includes subsidy for bike purchasing. I am not eligible for this program yet, but I find it one of the most useful benefits we have, and will definitely choose my bike very soon.

Since the wellness programs are run to boost employee engagement and focus on health there are also steps challenges in which everyone can participate. However, I rarely take part, because for me, active life is something normal, and to be honest, challenges do not motivate me in this case J.

As a conclusion I would say, and to myself, as well: Develop sport and activity habits that are easy to follow, make you happy, and just have fun!

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