#BeActive Awards 2020: House of Code – How to #BeActive and get paid for it

13/08/2020 By Maria Malyshkina, ISCA

The #BeActive Awards is the European Commission’s recognition of outstanding work and commitment at local levels to promote sport and physical activity in Europe. The competition is an integral part of the annual European Week of Sport. One of the three categories is the #BeActive Workplace Award, which celebrates innovative ways to encourage employees to combat sedentary lifestyle and #BeActive at their workplace.

The International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA), as the National Coordinating Body for EWOS in Denmark, is entitled to submit the Danish nominations for the #BeActive Awards. ISCA collaborates with the Danish Company Sport Federation to identify the Danish nominee for the Workplace category. The 2020 nominee is the House of Code.

The House of Code is an IT company with 23 employees based in Odense. Working in the IT environment usually implies quite a sedentary lifestyle. However, this is not the case at the House of Code. The company’s management focuses on bringing as much physical activity and sport into the employees’ lives as possible.

Actually, the company’s reputation is going from strength-to-strength due to the initiative, as job applicants are mentioning its healthy profile as one of the reasons for applying. In 2019 the House of Code initiative won the title of Denmark’s Healthiest Workplace in the region of Southern Denmark.
Let’s see why!

One of the reasons why the House of Code’s innovative approach is so special is that it is quite simple and sustainable and can be easily replicated in other workplaces. Each employee gets two hours a week of their working time for physical activity and one more hour for personal development. About 80% of all employees make use of the hours offered for the physical activity weekly session, which makes exercise an integral part of company’s working culture.

Almost half of the employees take part in a daily active break – doing exercise together for five minutes in the middle of the day. Generally, physical activity is something that connects the employees and creates a friendly atmosphere in the team, as some people do yoga, run or cycle together or even play badminton at a sports arena close to the office, also provided by the employer.

The employees also enjoy smaller, but nonetheless pleasant, benefits such as healthy breakfast and lunch, desks with adjustable height and different sport equipment. Everyone is entitled to an annual allowance of 1000 DKK (around 130 euro) to purchase corporate-branded sports clothing. There is also a possibility to check in with a physiotherapist, who is occasionally invited to the office and can help improve sitting or standing positions behind the desk.

This personal approach goes beyond consultations with a doctor – the management makes sure to discuss with employees individually how the active breaks and physical activity sessions are working for them. Meanwhile, the management team itself implements the culture of healthy meetings by holding their weekly leadership meetings in a training centre while they train.

The House of Code initiative is an illustrative example of how a healthy attitude to the team’s well-being can increase the company’s success. Exercise helps create a friendly environment, increase productivity and reduce the number of sick leaves, as reported by the management. Making sure the workforce is healthy both physically and mentally is a huge factor in creating a competitive and sustainable workplace.

The winners of 2020 #BeActive Awards will be announced in autumn.