Decospan lets its employees live… longer

A few years ago, Decospan launched Decofit, a motivational program for employees that focuses on physical and mental health at work. From cookery workshops and mindful yoga sessions to vigorous crossfit workouts, people consciously work on a healthy lifestyle within the Decospan company walls. This year, Decospan even took a big step further. Even more, it took a quantum leap and became a pioneer in the field of health at work.

Never go to the doctor again

Under this motto, 26 Decospan employees have been going through a unique but radical one-year health program since this summer. With individual coaching on nutrition, exercise, stress-coping and so on. The ultimate goal: not a curative or preventive approach, but a preventive health approach. In short, Decospan wants to give employees a longer life.

"Leadlife is a personalised process that increases your quality of life, so that you can live life to the full and prevent chronic illnesses. It's up to you to do something with it." - Sports physician Dr. Servaas Bingé

For this test project, Decospan joined forces with Leadlife, the remarkable lifestyle centre based on the philosophy of Dr. Servaas Bingé (in a previous life team doctor at cycling team Lotto-Soudal). "The lifestyle centre wants to give companies the chance to get their staff in tip-top shape via a preventive and predictive approach," says Bingé. Focused employees who sparkle with energy and creativity may be the goal, but according to CEO Pieterjan Desmet it goes much wider: "Physical and mental health have a huge impact on your life. Health makes you more productive and succeeding in something makes you more positive, also after working hours."

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Feet on the ground

The 26 participants were selected on the basis of various factors, from function and age to intrinsic motivation. After taking a DNA sample, each participant was subjected to an (sometimes confrontational) intake (with a sports test, a body scan…) of 3 hours at Leadlife in Ghent. The scan looked at, for example, overweight, susceptibility to addiction, lifestyle-related illnesses and genetic insights into your sleep and stress patterns. Some participants were brought down to earth for a moment and got a razor-sharp picture of what will happen if they do not urgently adopt a healthier lifestyle. 

"I want to lose weight and not relapse. And I don't want to have to deny myself everything for the rest of my life." - Griet Platteeuw, team leader at Decospan.

Losing weight at the workplace

Griet, team leader in the grouting department, is one of those selected and testifies: "I had already managed to lose 20 kg in six months on my own. But I am determined to lose that many kilos again because it will literally give me extra years of life. I don't want to have to deny myself everything for the rest of my life. But it will be a challenging balancing act, as it turned out that I am very injury-prone at the sporting level. Leadlife is now drawing up a program for low to medium intensity endurance sports for me. It's quite a challenge, but if you're determined to change course, the program is highly recommended."

"Decospan gets the most out of wood, with Leadlife we get the most out of ourselves." - Evelien Vanden Brande, HR Director Decospan.

No excuses

Evelien, HR Director at Decospan and a participant, also praises the project. "I'm pretty much a hype surfer," she admits. "I have already tried 1001 things to find balance in terms of weight and health. But when the hype dies down, I go back to square one every time. Sugar cravings are really my weak spot. But you are presented with the hard facts, so there is no excuse. It's up to you. But we do have our own Whatsapp group, so in terms of peer group pressure, we're fine (laughs). No, the participating group feels very strongly about it. It also fits in perfectly with what we do with Decofit. Our four pillars of nutrition, exercise, mental health and fun are fully in it. After this pilot project, 10% of our employees will have completed this course. The first signs are already very positive, which makes us dream of a further roll-out at Decospan!"

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