Top firms enhance wellness programmes in bid to win UAE's 'Workplace of the Year' honours
Source: Design Unlimited Partners for MEED , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Tue September 11, 2018 1:52 pm

UAE.  Companies are getting more creative when it comes to implementing wellness programmes at work not just to boost employee motivation and performance, but also to win the honour of being the UAE’s Workplace of the Year.

The award is one of 11 categories being contested by 35 companies at the annual Daman Corporate Health Awards, the only programme that recognises wellness initiatives in the workplace in the UAE.

“This year, we received yet another overwhelming response from the market with a 19% increase in entries from last year – a testament to the increasing number of companies in the UAE which are recognising the value and importance of having wellness programmes in the workplace,” said John Emmerson, Events Director, MEED, the leading business intelligence provider in the Middle East and organisers of the annual awards programme.

Among the companies competing to win the UAE’s Workplace of the Year award include Union National Bank (UNB), Zulekha Hospitals, Canon Middle East, Redington Gulf and du.

The finalists stood out for delivering innovative and high-impact wellness campaigns that proved to be effective in increasing employee motivation and enhancing performance, over and above the usual exercise and diet programmes or health checks and sports activities that have become the norm for some corporate wellness programmes.

Among UNB’s initiatives that resonated well with the judges include its introduction of the Happiness & Positivity Cheque which provides non-monetary rewards such as short leaves, cinema tickets, dinner vouchers; or providing its staff and family members with discounted tickets to resorts such as Dubai Parks and IMG World.

Zulekha Hospital also runs a comprehensive wellness programme in the workplace, including innovative initiatives such as painting their stairways with a calorie metre to encourage taking the stairs, gifting bicycles to qualified staff to encourage physical fitness, and distributing saplings for tree planting sessions to raise greater environmental awareness, among others.

Canon Middle East recently undertook an office re-fitting and renovation that took into consideration the wellbeing of its employees and was aimed at increasing productivity. Simple, yet effective and creative interventions include the provision of ergonomic chairs, or the installation of office desks that allowed employees to work, either standing or sitting down. It also dedicated a wall in the reception area to motivate and inspire employees to share their stories and new adventures with their colleagues.

For Redington Gulf, the key to having a great workplace was to provide their employees with a wow experience with the help of workspace design and technology. The company allocated spaces for breakout zones, called Chi Zones, where basketball nets, dartboards and colouring books encouraged movement and rejuvenation. Every new employee was also gifted with a plant on their first day to be placed on their work desk, thus creating their own Zen space. These and other wellness programmes have led to a culture among employees that made them want to show up at work and perform at optimum levels.

Finally, du takes pride in its comprehensive and pro-active approach to employee wellness with a range of initiatives that encompass physical, mental and social well-being. In addition to an in-house gym facility, the company has gaming facilities such as pool tables, foosball tables, table tennis and video consoles that provide recreational support for its employees. Non-sporting enthusiasts can join photography or reading clubs that have active programmes to keep employees engaged and inspired.

Commenting on the stellar entries for this year’s awards, Dr Michael Bitzer, Chief Executive Officer of National Health Insurance Company – Daman, said: “The positive correlation between employee wellness and productivity is by now very well-established. Through their own initiatives, these finalists are testament to that, helping to drive corporate wellness in the workplace. We are delighted to have been a part of this growing movement from the outset when we partnered with MEED to launch the Daman Corporate Health Awards five years ago.”

Dr Bitzer added: ”We hope that our continued support will develop a positive corporate culture that complements our efforts to help create healthier communities across the UAE.” 

The finalists will undergo another round of evaluation by a jury panel after which the winners will be announced in October this year.

The full list of finalists is available at

Photo Caption: Dr Michael Bitzer, Chief Executive Officer of National Health Insurance Company – Daman

About MEED
MEED is a senior management media brand, its flagship subscription products are the MEED Business Review publication and website, As well as organising the MEED Projects Awards, Gulf Capital SME Awards, Daman Corporate Health Awards and the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC).

MEED also has two high-value content businesses, MEED Projects and MEED Premium Insight Reports. MEED Projects is the Middle East's premium project tracking database and MEED Premium Insight Reports offer tailored research and in-depth analysis. Established in 1957, MEED, has been integral to delivering business information and news, intelligence and analysis on the Middle East economies and activities ever since.  
MEED celebrated its 60th birthday in 2017. From small beginnings in a London flat on 8 March 1957, MEED has grown with the region, to become the Middle East’s most-trusted source of business information.

About National Health Insurance Company – Daman
The National Health Insurance Company – Daman is the region’s leading specialised health insurer, providing comprehensive health insurance solutions to more than 2.6 million members in the UAE.

Over the years, the company has been the partner of choice for a number of the country’s most prominent organisations and multinational companies in various industries including oil and gas, aerospace, energy, construction, investments and media.

Daman is a public joint-stock company that is 80% owned by the Abu Dhabi Government with the remaining 20% owned by Munich Re. The company is backed by the reliable support of the Abu Dhabi Government and its strategic partner, Munich Re, one of the world’s leading reinsurers, plays an important role as both reinsurer and a valuable source for knowledge transfer.

Headquartered in Abu Dhabi and established in 2006, Daman offers a range of health insurance plans for both individuals and organisations and exclusively manages the Government’s health programme – Thiqa – for UAE Nationals and Abu Dhabi Basic Plan – for low income expatriates. Members enjoy access to the largest healthcare providers’ network in the UAE and an extensive international network of over 45 countries.

Daman, a pioneer in health care insurance, drives innovation through a combination of state-of-the-art technology and healthcare-related expertise offered by a highly skilled and knowledgeable workforce. Members benefit from added value through unique offerings such as the disease and case management programmes as part of the acclaimed Health Support services. Daman also operates a 24/7 customer call centre and has a medical services authorisation team in direct contact with Daman’s network of healthcare providers. It also provides a diverse range of online services that are unmatched in the UAE.

Daman has set high standards in the health insurance industry and has been awarded a number of internationally recognised awards and quality-focused certifications in a relatively short span of time. The company is ISO 9001 certified for Quality Management Systems and ISO 27001 certified for Information Security Management. The company’s successful application of the online-based Pharmacy Benefit Management system has received a full accreditation by URAC.

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