Workplace Street Tag – How Colchester City Council is encouraging physical activity amongst staff

Essex Local Delivery Pilot

At the start of this year, Colchester City Council launched a new season of its workplace Street Tag leaderboard to get staff up and moving.

Street Tag is an app, which turns communities into a virtual playground to help residents become more active, competing against others to get rewards. Whether you walk, run, cycle or roll, the app ensures you stay motivated to keep going.

Teams within Colchester City Council brought in the gamification initiative after the pandemic and have been exploring parks, open green spaces and their local villages, towns and cities to collect virtual tags, which can be converted into prizes. The Council’s Community Enabling team recognised that due to the different ways of working, some colleagues were no longer physically active during their workday. Whether it be the commute or socialising at a café for lunch, for some, the need to move had vanished.

Being fully digital, Street Tag can be played independently but as part of a team. Staff have been collecting points in their own time but still enjoy the social aspect of physical activity with Teams chats and WhatsApp groups, encouraging friendly competition. Even staff members who live as far away as Norwich have been able to participate in the Colchester leader board. As of March 2023, 154 players were using Street Tag at Colchester City Council, telling us that they have been more social with colleagues and seen an increase in their daily activity. It’s even helped some reach their personal fitness goals, transforming sedentary colleagues into ‘Taggers’.

Gamification has been used for years to engage new audiences and change behaviour, but only recently has playing a digital game been used to dramatically increase physical activity levels and at the same time improve health and wellbeing. The Active Essex Local Delivery Pilot has been testing gamification methods to understand the impact that various games are making, from improving health and wellbeing, to strengthening communities.

Employers have an important role in permitting their staff time to pause during the working day and promote physical activity opportunities to help practice positive mental wellbeing. In January 2022, Find Your Active: Workplace Edition was launched, to inspire and encourage workplaces to become more active and empower employees to live a better work life balance. Workplace health initiatives can help to reduce health risks, enhances personal effectiveness, improve quality of life, and benefits the organisation’s bottom line through fostering teamwork.

Colchester is continuing to look at opportunities to help keep staff healthy and active, especially those who work remotely, and teams who sometimes feel separate from the organisation. They are exploring ways to make Street Tag even more rewarding, mixing up prizes, and exploring other physical activity ideas. We can’t wait to see what they get up to next!

If you’d like to find out more about Find Your Active: Workplace Edition, visit our webpage here.

If you are interested on bringing Street Tag to your workplace, visit their website here.