Two people do sports together with the Humanoo app

Success Story

The recipe for success

OHM in interaction with a healthy work and organizational culture

Living where the heart beats. This is the motto under which Vivawest, one of the leading housing providers in North Rhine-Westphalia, manages almost 120,000 apartments. Vivawest combines economic efficiency with ecological and social responsibility for customers, employees and the region.


Motivating employees to actively do something for their health

Providing employees with the support they are looking for


Gamified content encouraging employees to be active on a regular basis

A holistic health offer covering the individual needs of all employees

Vivawest's recipe for success: OHM in conjunction with a healthy work and organizational culture

For Attris Attris, consultant and health manager at Vivawest Wohnen GmbH, occupational health management has long been at the interface between human resources management and organizational development. With this in mind, Vivawest has succeeded in developing a cross-organizational health management system that is valued at all levels.In an interview with Humanoo, Attris Attris tells us how this was achieved.

Dear Mr. Attris, where did your original interest in occupational health management come from?

It was more or less by chance! When I was writing my diploma thesis in the field of work and organizational development in 2008, my professor suggested that I work as a student trainee in IKEA’s HR department on the side. In the end, this led to my thesis becoming an empirical work on the development of a framework concept for occupational health management at IKEA. That’s when I first noticed how much interest people and companies have in the topic and what potential it holds.

Why do you think occupational health management is important at all?

You can clearly feel how the uncertainties in society are also being transferred to the labor market. Whether we’re talking about the disappearance of entire job profiles, increasingly precarious working conditions or the excessive demands of the digital transformation, occupational health management is not just about the health of employees, but about maintaining their employability. People must be prepared for the changes our society is experiencing – this preparation for a constantly changing world of work is the task of employers and employees alike. Workplace health management has long been at the interface between human resources management and organizational development, and therefore deserves to be given the importance it deserves.

Although many companies already offer their employees workplace health promotion, there are still more and more people suffering from burnout. How do you explain this?

Many companies that have introduced workplace health promotion believe that everything is done by offering fitness courses and fresh fruit in the office. In order for employees to feel good and their mental health to be ensured, other factors must of course be taken into account. Their work must be meaningful and manageable. It must not seem chaotic, arbitrary or inexplicable. OHM is also about competence development, corporate values, healthy leadership behavior, room for maneuver and much more.

Many HR managers despair that their OHM programs are not being used or even noticed. Their conclusion: OHM is useless! What do you think must be in place for workplace health programs to work?

I often see decision-makers in companies taking step 3 before step 1. They offer some kind of program, e.g. yoga courses, without asking their employees beforehand whether this is desired – and are then surprised that no one attends the courses. An analysis in advance, e.g. in the context of an employee survey, is so easy to implement. You first have to get to know the employees, their complaints and workloads, and also find out the reasons for frequent sick leave, absenteeism and presenteeism. As an OHM consultant for other companies, it is important for me to find out in advance how important OHM is in the company. Who are the supporters? Does the interest also come from the management? If it is not a real priority, the concept will not be successful. OHM is also a cultural change, and that takes time and must be wanted.

Please tell us something about your work at Vivawest. You work there as a health manager and have integrated Humanoo into Vivawest’s health program. What do your employees deal with?

Vivawest is a real estate company that owns and rents out around 120,000 residential units in the North Rhine-Westphalia region. We have a total of 2,000 employees. In addition to traditional portfolio management, our core business also includes all property-related services, i.e. we also employ numerous people in the trades and in green space maintenance.

What was the decisive factor that made you decide in favor of Humanoo and not another provider in the field of occupational health and safety management?

Humanoo initially came to us 4 years ago through a recommendation, after which we first checked out the market. However, I have to say that I was a fan of Humanoo right from the start. One of the advantages is that the app included a separate feature for step challenges. Since we had already held step challenges before, it was great that the challenges were now available to all employees via a common app and that the participants felt even more motivated by the gamification approach. In addition, the quality and quantity of content stand out from the competition. With the help of Humanoo, I can offer personalized health advice to every employee. Employees come to me with their complaints and I put together a program for them on Humanoo that lasts several weeks and helps them to alleviate their complaints.

How do employees rate Humanoo? What content do they prefer to use?

Since the average age of our staff is relatively high and almost all of our employees spend most of their time at their desks, many of the course programs I put together revolve around back problems. However, nutrition is the area we use the most, thanks in part to an offline campaign with Humanoo. Through direct communication via posters and cards in the office, we encouraged employees to scan QR codes to access targeted content, such as inspiring recipes, in the app. It was immediately apparent how well this combination of offline and online communication worked to maintain user engagement in the app.

In your opinion, what is the advantage of using a digital tool for managing health and safety?

On the one hand, the advantage lies in the increased accessibility of employees and transparency about offers, but on the other hand also in the fact that employees can put together their own training plan in terms of content. They are also flexible and independent in terms of time and space. One reason why local courses are often poorly attended is that employees are uncomfortable doing sports together with other colleagues. They are either too vain, embarrassed or simply don’t want to spend their free time with colleagues, let alone with their superiors.

Everyone is talking about New Work. This also includes terms such as equal rights in the workplace and flexible structures and working hours. How are you responding to these changes and what is Vivawest doing to meet the needs of its employees more effectively?

We are dealing with new work and employer attractiveness on many levels. For example, we have flexible working time models, creative and innovation spaces, forums where employees can actively participate in challenges and changes, various development opportunities, and work-life balance programs.

What do you think is the biggest motivator to exercise or eat healthier?

For me personally, I can say that the type of sport has to be fun for me to stick with it. If the fun factor is there, I don’t need motivation because it doesn’t feel like a chore. The trick is that everyone has to figure out for themselves what they enjoy the most. It’s also important to set small goals and not overextend yourself.

On the other hand, every person functions differently. That’s why it makes sense to offer as wide a range of motivators as possible. At Humanoo, on the one hand, we have monetary incentives in the form of cash-outs for completed courses, which motivate users to do something for their health. On the other hand, others are more animated by competitive situations, which are reflected in the challenges. At Vivawest, we even set prizes for the winners of the challenges – the team with the most steps then wins a budget for their own team event of choice.

What we didn’t expect was that some employees even sent us thank-you letters, telling us that by actively participating in the challenges, they were finally able to move more and sleep through the night again for the first time. We are of course very pleased that the app has had such a direct positive impact!

Thank you very much Mr. Attris for the exciting interview!