Sammy Gebele

Sammy Gebele

  • Sammy Gebele has over 12 years’ worth of exper­tise in efec­ting company change. His expe­ri­ence as a manage­ment consul­tant and inte­rims manager informs his know­ledge of what it means to work hard and meet your limits. He prac­tises triathlon, liai­sing with a remote coach weekly. His desire for compa­nies to acknow­ledge employees as humans and invest in their well­ness spurred him on to found SACOSA.

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Keeping the body and mind fit for work can feel like spin­ning plates even at the best of times — whether it’s finding a way to top up our energy levels without resorting to endless cups of coffee, combat­ting back pain from sitting at a desk all day, resi­sting the temptation to pull all-nigh­ters, or streng­t­he­ning the immune system to shield ourselves from the latest office bug. Tradi­tio­nally, the fast-track to well­ness has been the gym, and some compa­nies are known to offer free or discounted memberships to their employees.

But what if you’re not a fan of exer­ci­sing in front of other people? Or for that matter, exer­ci­sing at all? What if you have a family to care for, or other commit­ments outside of work, and you find it chal­len­ging to fit in a regular exer­cise routine? A corpo­rate well­ness programme at work may well be the answer.

To find out more, we spoke to Sammy Gebele, the founder of SACOSA, which helps compa­nies invest in their employees’ health and inner strength through the setting of indi­vi­dual goals and the help of a personal coach. Sammy is a former manage­ment consul­tant and project manager, with over 12 years of expe­ri­ence guiding change on a company level. As a corpo­rate well­ness programme, SACOSA is premised on four pillars: Guid­ance and Moti­va­tion, Nutri­tion, Exer­cise, and Reco­very. The cata­lyst is employee auto­nomy. Think of it this way: under the guid­ance of a coach you add more vege­ta­bles and healthy proteins to your diet, while mini­mi­sing sugar, and put toge­ther a simple exer­cise routine. You try out medi­ta­tion to get a good night’s rest. In the end, nobody’s keeping watch and making notes — what’s most important is your personal incen­tive to make sure you stick to these four pillars. Rather than being intimi­dated by indi­vi­dual needs, and the daun­ting amount of time and energy spent trying to solve these problems, compa­nies would do well to reco­gnise the unique quali­ties of each of their employees, and to see how tailored solu­tions could have a posi­tive impact on the work­force. Compa­nies might consider assi­gning each person a budget, which they can spend on well­ness activi­ties of their choo­sing each month. It’s all about reco­gni­sing the full needs of each employee.

Put simply, inve­sting in employee health and well­ness will have a posi­tive effect on effi­ci­ency, long­term well-being, and employee loyalty. A happy employee is a produc­tive employee — not just at work, but in other areas of their life. Compa­nies offe­ring highly effec­tive health and well­ness programmes expe­ri­ence a 40% higher reten­tion rate in compa­rison to compa­nies with less effec­tive programmes. This is nothing to be sniffed at; far from stagna­ting company culture, employee loyalty creates a sense of secu­rity, thus allo­wing indi­vi­duals to orga­ni­cally grow into their role. It can also decrease sick days by 25%, thus reli­e­ving some of the pres­sure from teammates who have to pick up the slack in others’ absence — absences that could have been prevented with the right use of programmes that look out for employees’ health and well-being. While it’s the company that offers the programme, it is the employees who make it what it is. They can throw in ideas about their needs and how they’d like to improve their well-being, as well as the big problems that are hinde­ring them from doing so. It needn’t turn into a session for people to air their grie­vances about the work envi­ron­ment — think of it as a unique oppor­tu­nity to shape your brand, and set an inten­tional culture. With regard to tracking the success of the programme and seeing a return on invest­ment, a busi­ness should formu­late KPIs. These can be both tangible (reten­tion rate, sick days) and intan­gible (work-life balance, employee morale).

Mental health and emotional health have a symbiotic rela­ti­onship. If your self-confi­dence is at a low, you may find it diffi­cult to ask for help. In short, if we’re ment­ally exhau­sted, we’re most likely going to be physi­cally exhau­sted, too, which can become part of a vicious cycle. Part of profes­sional life is looking after yourself — you are more than a money-maker, after all. You invest so much into your work, and you need to make sure that you’re always at the top of your game.

TIPS FOR EMPLOYERS

BE HONEST

Before you intro­duce a well­ness programme, rese­arch what’s out there, what’s within your budget, and what your employees could really get out of it. Health and well­ness is intert­wined with our life­styles and our psyche — all the more if we’re working deman­ding, full-time jobs. Iden­ti­fying barriers to taking care of oneself may take some honesty, and perhaps even a trip to the doctor. But the more honest the employees can be with them­selves and their needs, the more useful the programme will be.

SWITCH OFF

Checking your email after hours, at weekends, or even on holiday may make you feel in control, but the truth is that this unhe­althy habit can quickly lead to burnout. Don’t let your employees adopt habits like these — or even better, ban email-checking after hours enti­rely. Observe whether they feel pres­sure to work over­time, too, examine why they feel this way, and consider adding cap on over­time.

CHILL OUT

Getting into the right well­ness rhythm will be a work in progress. It’s important not to start of setting personal goals that are too high, as this can only lead to disap­point­ment. Encou­ra­ging employees to take regular, short breaks and making holiday time manda­tory are just two simple ways that you can create an envi­ron­ment in which people won’t feel guilty for rech­ar­ging.

TRY SOMETHING NEW

A corpo­rate well­ness programme is bound to ofer your employees ways of feeling better that they haven’t had an oppor­tu­nity to try before. If they’ve always wanted to try boul­de­ring, or switch their morning cofee for a mate tea, now’s their chance to do it and get inspired!

SHARE SUCCESS

Atti­tudes towards exer­cise should be reframed so that it’s no longer a chore, but a key compo­nent of life and main­ten­ance of self-confi­dence. Progress should be assessed along the way. Employees could even be encou­raged to try pairing up with a coworker for added moti­va­tion. A solo exer­ciser may well become a social exer­ciser!

Sammy Gebele

Sammy Gebele

  • Sammy Gebele has over 12 years’ worth of exper­tise in efec­ting company change. His expe­ri­ence as a manage­ment consul­tant and inte­rims manager informs his know­ledge of what it means to work hard and meet your limits. He prac­tises triathlon, liai­sing with a remote coach weekly. His desire for compa­nies to acknow­ledge employees as humans and invest in their well­ness spurred him on to found SACOSA.

Want to get to know Sammy Gebele?

Get in touch

Still curious?
There is more to see here:

All Articles