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Living, Eating, Drinking, and Communicating More Healthily

How a student project is strengthening the resilience of people working from home

Teaching & Studies

It was all meant to be different. Five students from the Faculty of Human and Health Sciences created scientifically-based concepts for occupational health management. They were intended to be implemented as practical projects in companies in the Technology Park. Then the corona crisis came and put an end to it all. Or did it?

Afia Nsiah, one of the participating students, is doing her master’s degree in Health Promotion and Prevention. She decided on a digital version of her Resilience Basics at short notice. Each week, Afia Nsiah published two of her carefully designed posters on a health board on the intranet of the company MeVis Medical Solutions AG and received much positive feedback. “I had strong partners in the human resources management of the company and the Techniker Krankenkasse health insurance company,” she says.

Protective Shield for Inner Strength

The interested users of the health board learned that resilience is a protective shield for human inner strength. The student sheds light on many aspects that support resilience: heartfelt laughter, patient listening, empathy for others, even media fasting. Afia Nsiah called her project Spring Brain and created a total of 30 posters on four topics. Alongside resilience, she also focused on Neuro Nutrition – nutrition that is good for the brain. Quali Train – sport exercises that strengthen the body – and Lunch Walk – walking on unknown paths – were also included. “We received a great deal of positive feedback and inquiries,” underscores the personnel officer from MeVis Medical Solutions, Hatice Yildiz, who supervised the project. The company, located on Caroline-Herschel-Straße in the Technology Park, has 150 staff members and develops software for image processing in the field of medicine. Therefore, staff spend a lot of time in front of their computers. “80 percent of our staff are still working from home,” she states.

The 27-year-old student’s health board was initially intended to be accompanied by practical aspects, such as cognitive training and psychomotor exercises. A course on biofeedback, where physical signals are measured, is also part of the concept. It just was not possible due to corona. The human resources management hopes that the outstanding concept can be implemented in full at a later point in time.

New Involvement

Twice a week for a month, the staff at MeVis Medical Solutions AG clicked on the tips from the student. The human resources manager Sibel Heckmann confirms: “The feedback we’re receiving from colleagues is very positive.” She certifies the University of Bremen student’s “great involvement and completely new ideas.” One of the things the IT specialists can now find on the health board is delicious recipes, for example for whole grain pasta with green asparagus and pine nuts. Of course, the recipe has been scientifically calculated by the master’s student Afia Nsiah, who has worked out that vitamin B is important for memory and quick thinking and that the asparagus contains zinc, potassium, and iron. Another health board tip – as an idea for the break – is to take a 30-minute walk along the Jan Reiners walking path, exactly 1.9 km.

“The feedback we’re receiving from colleagues is very positive.”

“99.9 percent of our staff work in an office,” says Sibel Heckmann. “It is very important to us to find ways to motivate our colleagues to live, eat, and drink more healthily.” Water dispensers have been placed on each floor, workshops have been held, company fitness programs offered. “We used to hand out biscuits each day and our staff were happy enough. But it was not healthy. We have replaced the biscuits with fresh fruit,” she explains. The complete package is made up of nutrition and sports – Afia Nsiah suggests bouldering among other things – and the human resources manager confirms that it is received well. “Our brand as an employer also profits, both internally and externally.”

Really Got Stuck In

The 27-year-old student of health sciences at the University of Bremen is pleased that her project has caught on so well. “She really got stuck in,” recognizes Silvia Kaiser, a consultant for prevention and health promotion at the Techniker Krankenkasse health insurance company. That all of this could be realized despite the corona crisis makes all involved parties proud.

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