European road haulage stakeholders didn't wait for the Covid-19 pandemic to take an interest in their employees' health and encourage them to take up sport.
We take you near the city of Troyes, in the north-east of France, to talk to STTI Transport, a family company with a staff of 120, founded in 1972. Every year since 2009, the hauler's employees take part in the corporate half-marathon in the city of Troyes. We talk to Raphaël Rota*, the 44-year-old son of the company's founder, and technical director**.
Raphaël Rota*, technical director STTI Transport
5 exercises you can easily do in your cabin
Making health and sport a priority for for all the employees of this transport company
"Remember to ask for a good pair of running shoes at Christmas so you'll be ready for the half in May!" says Raphaël Rota with a grin to STTI's new staff members in the admin department.
Health in general and sport in particular are one of the transport company's core concerns. It all starts when new hires are given an induction booklet that presents everyday tips and best practices for staying fit.
Raphaël is quick to tell them all about the corporate half-marathon in the city of Troyes and encourage them to take part. "Some of them arrive in sports gear. So the participation of an STTI team in the race is a good conversation-starter for getting to know each other."
"Preparing for the half-marathon is an opportunity to discuss our eating habits. For those who take part, running pushes them to adopt a different diet.”
Raphaël Rota*, technical director STTI
Well-being and health in the transport sector
That sets the tone: at STTI, all of the employees are encouraged to do some form of sport for their own well-being. "Our approach is really the idea of taking part in a sporting event in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. The result is secondary," points out Raphaël. "We weren't runners to begin with, but, little by little, we took it up. I, myself, didn't run the first time the company took part. I supervised and I took photos. But it got me interested and the next year, I joined the team."
Every year (except when Covid made it impossible), one month before the race, the participants started training during their lunch breaks. "But there are also people who train all year round and who have joined athletics clubs since they started running for the corporate half-marathon. And then there are the real runners, like Pierrick, who have always run", adds Raphaël for his office colleague, sitting opposite. Pierrick laughs, nodding.
Over and above this annual event, which, depending on the year, draws about 20 staff members, all departments combined, at STTI, health is a key focus through a healthy lifestyle and diet.
"Preparing for the half-marathon is an opportunity to discuss our eating habits. For those who take part, running pushes them to adopt a different diet. For the others, we remind them that, to be healthy, you need to avoid over-eating, have a balanced diet, stay active and so on."
A balanced diet for truck drivers with fruit and vegetable baskets
And because actions speak louder than words, Raphaël invites us to follow him outside.
And there: surprise! Just opposite the company's premises, there is a garden with three greenhouses, fruit trees and a henhouse. "Three years ago, to support our employees and encourage them to eat a healthy diet, my brother Cyril Rota*** came up with the idea of creating this organic garden, which is kept by our gardener Mickaël. The greenhouses use a permaculture approach and the fifty or so kilos of fruit and vegetables produced each week are offered on a basket system reserved exclusively for our employees."
The baskets are sold on Fridays so that truck drivers returning from their rounds can take advantage of the system.
“Sleep is vital for good health! Everyone knows that, when you sleep well, you're better able to regulate your appetite and you're in better shape."
The trucks are all equipped with little refrigerators
In another initiative taken to avoid unhealthy eating habits, STTI employees have a real kitchen, with hotplates, at their workplace.
Also, the trucks are all equipped with little refrigerators and have nighttime air conditioning. "I can assure that the fridges were particularly popular last year during the pandemic," adds Raphaël. "And the nighttime air conditioning means that our drivers who regularly deliver swimming pools in the south of France, where temperatures climb in summer, can get a good night's sleep. And sleep is vital for good health! Everyone knows that, when you sleep well, you're better able to regulate your appetite and you're in better shape".
On the way back to Raphaël's office, we pass through the workshop, where a competition-grade coffee machine has pride of place. "Ah yes, that's a prize! Two years ago, I launched a challenge for the technicians by saying that, if they gave up smoking, we'd install a coffee machine in their workshop." As you can see, at STTI, we take every opportunity to help the employees look after their health!
*Interview of Raphaël Rota conducted on 5 november 2021
**Technical director up until 12/31/21
***Cyril Rota, CEO of STTI Transport