Column: Sheffield-based Westfield Health chief executive Dave Capper looks at how firm has coped with lockdown

Like many businesses, Westfield Health have had an exceptional two years filled with great performance, lots of innovation, new acquisitions and an employee engagement journey that has created an environment that I, and many of my colleagues, very much love being a part of.

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 7:38 pm

We dedicate ourselves to help people live active and healthy lives. As such it was sad, but understandable, that following Government advice that we had to close our world-class Active Space at our Sheffield HQ as well as the vast majority of our customers in-house gyms in the UK, Netherlands, Germany and Belgium.

The prospect of not being able to utilise our own state-of-the-art facility left a big void for me personally so you can imagine my pride and delight that our fantastic teams at Westfield Health, High Five and Working Health went above and beyond to provide our own colleagues and also our customers’ employees free access to a range of digital wellbeing services to enable people to maintain their physical and emotional wellbeing at home.

This has significantly helped me as leading the business through this crisis has required me and my team to work significant hours and I truly believe without my daily workout my health and wellbeing would have paid a heavier price.

David Capper of Westfield Health, speaking last year at the official opening of Sheffield Hallam University's Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre

My entire focus these past weeks has been on two things. To make sure the decisions I make as a business leader prioritises the health and wellbeing of my colleagues first and foremost, and equally, ensure we are taking steps to provide a continuation of service to our loyal customers.

I feel a very fortunate CEO as everyone across the Westfield Group has stepped forward and rose to the challenge. Importantly putting the wellbeing of our people and our customers first before financial consideration. It is this behaviour that defines The Westfield Way.

We have started the process of transitioning the business to work from home so that we can all adhere to the latest Government advice and stay as safe as we possibly can, protecting the most vulnerable in society in the process.

More impressively, all customer service channels will remain open ensuring we continue to answer your calls, process your claims, respond to your emails. This was so important to us as we have a significant number of customers who will be classed in the vulnerable group and may not have access or confidence to use our online services.

I cannot guarantee “normal” service during these unprecedented times but I can guarantee that we have and will continue to do all we can to ensure our most vulnerable customers can pick the phone up and ring us whenever they want to.

The Westfield Health Group team are going further than that though during this unprecedented time. Please follow us on Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook as we will be sharing free content to help both businesses and individuals to look after your physical and emotional wellbeing during this time.

Our message is simple. We are here for you whenever you need us and we are being creative to share relevant and useful information to make a difference to the quality of your life.

Now a message to my colleagues. Your commitment and effort to ensure we continue to provide a great service to our customers and keep each other safe makes me so proud.

You will all be now working remotely from home. This will be tough and we all will feel isolated at times. We are going that extra mile to provide a virtual employee engagement programme to ensure we use technology to stay connected and physically active, not just from a work perspective but also from a social perspective.

Virtual dinner parties, virtual Friday night drink (in moderation as a wellbeing company), virtual bingo and quiz nights. Let’s all make sure we get involved and support each other through this time. We need to keep smiling.

I wish everyone the best of luck over the coming weeks. Just like Westfield Health did during the financial crisis, our broad product portfolio and values helped thousands of companies retain and look after their colleagues at a time when pay freezes (or even decreases) and redundancies were the norm.

None of us truly know what the future holds from an economic perspective but we do know that our people are our greatest asset and also that Westfield Health will be here to support you when life gets back to normal.

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