The campaign, spearheaded by the company’s marketing manager, Jack Tate will see every member of the team at the firm’s dedicated vegan site at Leeming Bar, given an extra paid hour a week to get away from the factory production line, and get outside for some fresh air, a walk and a chat.
Mr Tate was inspired to kickstart the campaign after walking the 476 miles from Bedale, where Heck is based, to Cornwall, during lockdown to raise money for the mental health charity, Same You.
Backed by TV presenter and walking adventurer Julia Bradbury, he is now onboard as Heck’s official outdoor ambassador and is encouraging colleagues to embark on less ambitious journeys.
It is hoped the campaign will encourage other businesses to follow suit and to invite their own employees to take time out from sedentary office and production line roles, and go for a daily walk and talk.
Mr Tate said: “We're really lucky in our team as we mainly work from home, which makes it easy to get out for a walk, or when we're on the main site there’s a beautiful disused railway line in the grounds.
"But the team at the vegan factory are often on shift work which makes it far more difficult for them to get out. I spent time researching lovely walks locally and once we got the scheme signed off, we set off on a walk each week. So if you can’t walk to work, walk at work! Plus, it's a great way to spend time with colleagues who I wouldn’t ordinarily see day to day.”
As Heck's outdoor ambassador, Mr Tate's role is to look at different ways to encourage team members to get on board and get out for an extra paid hour. Heck also has a dedicated section on its website, which it hopes will inspire other companies to get behind the campaign and do the same for their own employees.
Heck's co-founder, Jamie Keeble, said: “Jack came to us and suggested the scheme.
"The physical and mental wellbeing of our team is really important to us, but it’s much more of a challenge to get out when you're working on the production line, so we thought we’d trial it at our vegan site and it’s working brilliantly. We want everyone to become a ‘walkaholic’."
Walking guru, Julia Bradbury, added: “It’s brilliant that Heck has really walked the talk and launched this initiative to actively encourage their team to get out and about.
"Having an 'outdoor ambassador' in the company can really help mental health by encouraging the team to get some ‘Vitamin Nature’."
Mr Tate is planning a series of company walking and outdoor challenges with his Heck colleagues.
The team has been busy restoring a railway walk that goes around the Heck farm and it’s here they walk every day when on site.
Many of the Heck team are dog owners and are actively encouraged to bring their dogs to work and to be part of the walks too. And when it’s back to work, the dogs can check in to the firm’s recently installed dog hotel.