Healthy mind, body and workplace

A retailer without people is like a building without a foundation. All our employees contribute to the success of our company. That's why we believe it's important that they feel good about themselves and about their jobs. To find out how we do this, we asked Johan Lowette, who is responsible for ‘Well-being’.

Well-being at work, what does that mean?

Johan: "When you come to work, you should be in an environment that focuses on physical and mental health. As an employer, you are responsible for the well-being of your employees. Everyone should come home in the evening in the same state of health as they left in the morning, no matter what job they do. Colruyt Group has an entire department that works on a wide range of well-being projects every day."

Why do we put so much effort into the well-being of our employees?

Johan: "Long before there were any legal obligations, we had already taken various initiatives with regard to well-being at work. We believe that our employees are capable. Only if they feel good - in a safe and healthy working environment - they can grow. And an employee who grows also helps the company to grow. That is why we constantly strive for a good balance between employee and company."

Johan Lowette shows the different aspects of well-being
"Well-being at work has to do with safety, ergonomics, health, psychosocial well-being, etc."

Everyone should come home in the evening in the same state of health as they left in the morning, no matter what job they do.

Technician using a machine wearing safety goggles

How does Colruyt Group ensure a safe workplace?

Johan: "80% of the risks at Colruyt Group are physical. For example, the risks posed by machines, vehicles, ladders, stairs, etc. Prevention is better than cure! We map out all possible dangers, large and small, at all locations in the company, and then we take measures to avoid those risks. We choose safe working materials and develop safe working methods."

"These working methods also take account of ergonomics. For example, we are developing a new flat shopping trolley that improves ergonomics for store employees as well as customers. In the office buildings, the height-adjustable desks make it easier to switch between sitting down and standing up.”

Distribution warehouse employee wears the exoskeleton suit
The warehouse employees at our logistics sites test the exoskeleton suits, a light harness that supports the back and muscles during physical work.

In addition to safety and ergonomics, do we also pay attention to health?

Johan: "Yes. We want to use various different ways to give information to our employees and to encourage them to live healthier lives. We encourage colleagues who sit a lot to take more exercise, for instance by offering yoga sessions during their lunch break. Or start-to-walk and start-to-run on the new walking routes around our central buildings. However, health is so much more! Our employees can take part in a training course to stop smoking, get an annual free flu jab, follow a first aid course, etc."

Read more about the walking routes

Does Colruyt Group promote balanced nutrition?

Johan: "Yes we do, as good health is linked to a balanced diet. Also at work. For example, in the OKay stores we put the spotlight on one healthy product for our employees every week. In the office building canteens, healthy products are displayed at eye level. The Nutri-Score on many private label products also makes it easier for employees to make more conscious choices. Thanks to all kinds of initiatives, we are putting as many employees as possible on the right track."

Employees at the salad bar in the canteen
The canteen provides balanced breakfast and lunch options for employees.

How are employees supported in their mental health?

Johan: "Society is paying increasing attention to health, including mental health. With almost 30,000 employees, Colruyt Group mirrors society, so we are seeing the same trends. First of all, we try to make sure that we prevent psychosocial risks such as bullying, violence and inappropriate behaviour at work as much as possible."

"The risks of stress and burn-out are analysed and reduced as well. We also look at the correct balance between work and private life, between stress and relaxation. At work, you can de-stress in the quiet rooms or during the mindfulness, slow move, alpha training, yoga or qi gong sessions. Our extensive range of training sessions is open to all employees and offers many opportunities for self-improvement, both in your job and on a personal level."

Employee sitting on a cushion in the quiet room
The quiet room is an oasis of peace and quiet at work.

“If things are not going so well - at work or at home - a specialised team, as well as a few confidential advisers are available to listen and give advice. Managers are receiving training to learn how to have personal conversations with their team and how to ensure that these subjects are open to discussion. All this so that everyone can come to work with plenty of energy."

We analyse the risks of unacceptable behaviour, stress and burn-out, and then we take measures to avoid those risks.

Do all these efforts have a positive effect?

Johan: "Absolutely. As a result of our prevention measures, the number of accidents and other risks is on a continuing downward trend. And when something does go wrong, we learn from it. Because of the efforts of our own victim support team, our employees are able to get back to work considerably quicker after a serious incident at work. The long-term sick are able to quickly reintegrate using the offered support, adapted work or adapted working hours."

Smiling OKay Compact employee
When employees feel good about themselves, it always has a positive effect on their efficiency and job satisfaction.

You can't calculate the return you are getting from people. When employees feel good about themselves, it always has a positive effect on their efficiency and job satisfaction. Healthy, happy employees are motivated to work and pass on that positive feeling to their colleagues and customers."

Name: Johan Lowette
Function: prevention advisor

What are you most proud of? Colruyt Group has undertaken a huge responsibility in guaranteeing the well-being of its employees. We have our own social workers, ergonomists, first aiders, prevention advisers, victim support team, etc.

With this initiative, we contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

Good health & wellbeing