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Getting healthy at TU Delft

Research shows that after six years of implementing the Health Coach Programme (HCP) at TU Delft, it is working.
In 2010, TU Delft partnered with HCP to run a pilot programme to improve the health of a group of employees.

This initial experience showed such good results that they decided to continue with the programme. Now over 500 employees have participated, including over 100 so far this year, with results that include weight loss and lower blood cholesterol.

The programme was launched because vitality is important for TU Delft, according to Dr. Luuk Simons, director of the HCP. With an ageing employee population and growing numbers of people with issues like obesity and high blood pressure, something needed to be done. Simons said that the focus was about how to support people to stay in shape and to stay vital.

What HCP has developed is an e-supported programme that focuses on nutrition, exercise and stress management. Participants enroll for a 6-month programme that includes both individual and group coaching to help them achieve their personal goals. Once the initial 6-month period has finished, there are long-term support services to assist with continuing a healthy lifestyle.

As they celebrate the 6-year milestone, Simons said there are three results they are very happy with. First, people are giving great feedback about the programme. Second, in measuring the long term effects, even after the 6-month coaching period people continue to show improvement. And finally, in measuring the impact on productivity, results have been quite remarkable. He noted that there was a two week improvement on average in general absenteeism, plus a two week improvement in sickness presenteeism (at work, but not fully fit).

With results like those, the motivation to continue the programme has strengthened, but is also changing. An analysis on absenteeism helped them shift from solely solving health problems to a more preventive approach. "It became an issue of if we stop this we lose about 10% productivity," said Simons.

And future goals for the programme go beyond preventative health. "Within the organization we are going to use the connection between the employee and the manager," said Simons. "It's not just about physical health, but if we working towards a total life balance it makes everything better. For that reason we will work to increase both life balance and energy levels."

The HCP is open to all staff members of TU Delft. For more information on how to participate, visit the HR website.

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