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How the Department of Health and Social Care used Kaido to keep remote teams talking, moving and motivated

By Sarah Elliot

The DHSC story – reconnecting remote teams during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) helps people across the UK live healthier, longer lives. They’re the team behind vital healthcare services we all depend on, including the NHS, Public Health England and the Care Quality Commission. So when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, protecting the public and our frontline workers became a daily duty for DHSC employees.

It was a big ask. While working from home to keep the rest of us safe, many colleagues lost sight of their own wellbeing goals. Teamwork suffered, morale dipped and healthy routines became harder to maintain.

Dawn Lennie, from the DHSC Health and Wellbeing team, knew the organisation needed an easy, accessible way to get co-workers talking, moving and making positive changes.

‘The Around the World Challenge’ – DHSC’s 40-day Health and Wellbeing Challenge

DHSC kicked off a six-week Kaido Challenge to help staff find new ways of looking after their physical and mental health. Guided by an interactive smartphone app, small colleague teams worked together to complete a virtual ‘Around the World’ journey.

By making improvements to their physical and mental health teams earned Kaido Points that fuelled their progress around the world, unlocking 7 different countries and gaining entry into challenge themed prize draws. Live leaderboards and team-based wellbeing activities capped off the experience.

Building healthy habits, one small step at a time

While participants like Sarah discovered their ‘inner competitive streak’, the Challenge was more than simply a race to the finish. Employees were encouraged to focus on small, sustainable changes and find wellbeing opportunities within their everyday activities, from housework to gardening to walking the dog.

Maria, a DHSC Service Designer, said,

"I found Kaido to be the friendly voice and mentor I needed each day.’ Another colleague added, ‘I am really glad I took this Challenge on. It made me look at certain approaches very differently. It also helped me reflect on current habits without judgment."

Stronger teams, healthier staff

By the end of the 40-day Challenge, colleagues reported uplifts in energy, mood and concentration levels. And after millions of collective minutes spent moving and meditating, they had also adopted better behaviours.

"Since the start of Kaido, I’ve left the house every single day without fail – come rain, wind or shine! I’m immensely proud of myself and feel my mental health has benefitted." Alanna

"I definitely feel my habits have changed. I sleep better, eat healthier and exercise every day. The Challenge has helped me to feel less stressed and happier, which has a positive impact on my work!" Rosa

On the business side, DHSC saw stronger teamwork, communication and motivation. One employee described the Challenge as ‘a brilliant experience for me and for team building and bonding’. The stats showed it was a shared feeling:

  • 75% increase in positive conversations about health and wellbeing at work
  • 58% increase in interaction and communication between colleagues
  • 24% increase in engagement at work

Dawn Lennie, who launched the project on behalf of the DHSC Health and Wellbeing team, said:

"The last year has been particularly difficult for everyone and staff have been working exceptionally hard in very difficult circumstances.

Our Wellbeing programme has always been well supported, but the Kaido Challenge boosted engagement even more. Having Kaido to get absorbed in during lockdown helped colleagues improve team morale and change those bad habits into good ones. I know many have continued with the activities, wanting to keep that positive ethos going.

The set-up was easy and the Kaido team were brilliant, making sure we understood how it all worked. Once we had done the initial communications, I hardly had to do a thing to keep it going. It’s given us a great platform to build on and we hope to set another Challenge later in the year."

Imogen’s story – ‘Kaido is helping to change my life'

‘I’ve always enjoyed exercise and keeping fit. However, like many of us during these strange times, I’ve found myself sitting down and staying inside a lot more, especially throughout the winter. I had begun to notice that some weeks, I hadn’t even left my house. I don’t count putting the bins out as much outdoor activity!

So when I heard about the Kaido Challenge, it sparked some interest, but I wasn’t sure if it would be for me. Following an email reminder from our wellbeing team, I decided to give it a try and joined a team of eight colleagues who all wanted to be a bit more active.

It’s been absolutely brilliant! I love the camaraderie of being in a team and all of us encouraging each other. I feel more positive, have more energy and move about loads more (you will often find me marching on the spot in meetings now). Before the Challenge, I was lucky if I managed 300 steps on some days and now, I’m doing in excess of 10,000.

The really great part is that you don’t need to run marathons or swim the Channel to contribute to your team score. There are reflection activities that also earn you points. Filling in your daily log focuses your mind on changes you have done or may want to do in the future. It’s about small steps and how we can turn these into good habits – rather than setting ourselves unreasonable goals, which often fail.

I’ve never considered myself as much of a leader, suffering from self-doubt, imposter syndrome and a certain amount of anxiety, but this Challenge has brought out skills I didn’t realise I had. I send my team motivational messages most mornings and try to get everyone to achieve the best they can.’

Get to know Kaido

Kaido helps you to run fun, inclusive Health and Wellbeing Challenges across your business. They’re proven to keep your teams motivated and connected and are trusted by some of the world's leading brands, including Müller, Twinings Tea and KPMG.

To explore how a Kaido Challenge could benefit your organisation, chat to us on 0121 250 5795 or email hello@kaido.org.