The UAE’s massive push for happiness is rubbing off on the workplace as companies and organisations across the emirates are implementing various wellness programmes for employees.

In recognition of such initiatives, MEED, the Middle East’s leading business intelligence brand, has announced this year’s finalists of the annual Daman Corporate Health Awards, the only initiative recognising UAE-based organisations for their corporate health initiatives.

“This year’s finalists have shown exceptional commitment to making employee wellness a priority, and they are commended for that,” says Michael Bitzer, CEO of National Health Insurance Company (Daman), headline sponsor of the awards. “Here in the UAE we are just beginning to see this movement gain traction and we hope that by highlighting the achievements of this year’s best entries, they can influence and inspire other organisations to make wellness an integral part of their corporate culture.”

Striving to nurture

In competition for the Workplace of the Year award are four well-known organisations that consider corporate health and employee well-being as critical to their performance, productivity and profitability.

One of the finalists, Schneider Electric, understands the absolute importance of having energised and healthy employees who feel happy at the workplace, and that effectiveness at work and well-being are linked. “Our ambition and objective is to provide our employees with a safe and attractive work environment where they will feel at their best, unleash their creativity and potential and make the most of their energy. We want to ensure our teams are not afraid of stress because they are trained and feel safe and happy in Schneider Electric,” says Shabbir Ali, director of the firm’s Dubai regional distribution centre.

Schneider Electric set in place five pillars for well-being, designed to offer employees better working conditions. Among the company’s initiatives were a move to a new facility, which has significantly increased the collaboration and engagement of the employees as well as provided more space in the workplace. Schneider Electric’s employees today have facilities to take breaks in throughout the day.

For Roche Diagnostics Middle East, another finalist, its people are its biggest asset, committed to doing their very best work with integrity, courage and passion.

“Only through highly engaged teams who are deeply connected to our purpose of ‘doing now what patients need next’ can we make an impact, think and act boldly and be a part of a global community,” says Harald Wolf, general manager of Roche Diagnostics. “Providing a rewarding and enriching experience means focusing on the things that matter most: maintaining the well-being of our people so they, in turn, can provide the best innovations for patients, respect diverse perspectives, celebrate successes as well as healthy risk-taking, embrace our values and leadership commitments, and develop meaningful and successful careers. Our high engagement and retention rates, collaboration and innovation are a testament to our success, which ultimately ripples to serve our partners and patients with the highest standards possible.”

Work-life balance

Also competing for the ‘Workplace of the Year’ award, Saudi German Hospital Dubai (SGHD) believes achieving a work-life balance is an ongoing process and employee satisfaction is among the management’s top priorities. “We strive to maintain an optimal work-life balance among employees and have been actively promoting the well-being of our workforce in the best possible way,” says Dr Reem Osman, CEO of SGHD. The firm’s wellness programmes include providing a busy calendar of sports and physical activities for employees and their families, who have free access to the hospital’s well-equipped gym and swimming pool among other facilities.

“We know happy workers are more resilient; they handle stress more effectively, bounce back from failures and relate better to co-workers. In a healthy culture, employers maintain an open dialogue so they feel a part of something, which creates loyalty, high morale and a strong, positive culture, something we work hard to achieve in our organisation,” says Dr Osman.

Meanwhile, Edris al-Rafi, CEO of Dubai Holding, says the company understands that high productivity comes from a healthy body and mind and therefore a workplace that nurtures wellness is of key priority. A natural progression of this culture and vision is manifested in the physical structure of the firm’s new headquarters, built in line with International Well Building Standards.

“Our main objective in designing this first-of-its-kind building in the region was to provide our employees not just a space for wellness events, but an infrastructure that creates more movement and connected spaces for physical well-being and facilitates more interaction for social well-being as well as providing more relaxation spaces for emotional well-being,” says Al-Rafi. “Our open and outdoor spaces, which incorporate solar panels, are aimed at fostering environmental well-being, while having more collaboration spaces could pave the way for more intellectual well-being and finally having more healthy food options in our new building could hopefully lead to more choices for nutrition well-being.”

Schneider Electric and Roche Diagnostics Middle East are also being considered for the Daman Award for Biggest Impact, along with Mashreq bank.

Several other awards are being handed out across a diverse range of categories in this year’s edition of the Daman Corporate Health Awards.

RAK Hospital, Dubai Airports, Leader Healthcare and Omnicom Media Group MENA have been shortlisted for the CSR Employee Engagement of the Year award; while Study World Higher Education Services, Mashreq, Aecom, Schneider Electric, Dulsco, Dubai Airports, The First Group, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Expo 2020 are competing for the Daman Award for Corporate Health and Wellness Organisation award.

The finalists for the Daman Award for Corporate Health and Wellness Initiative award include Informa, Dulsco, Zulekha Hospitals, National Bank of Fujairah and Gulftainer, which is also competing for the Health & Safety Initiative of the Year award along with HLG Contracting, Dubai Islamic Bank and Khidmah.

Team effort

“Having a wellness initiative is one thing, but securing the support of the organisation to participate is another,” says Becky Crayman, programme director at MEED. “For a programme to be successful, individuals and teams need to manage the programme with passion and commitment to cascade its objectives, benefits and mechanics across the organisation.”

To recognise the efforts of individual influencers and leaders as well as teams involved in managing corporate wellness programmes, Daman Corporate Health Awards is giving away the Corporate Wellness Leader of the Year award and this year’s finalists are Patricio Rivera (Al-Hosn Gas), Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair (Mashreq) and Glenn Saldanha (Dubai Airports).

The Corporate Wellness Professional of the Year award shortlist includes Clare Patterson (Haddins) and Dr Ayesha al-Memari (Mafraq Hospital), while the Corporate Wellness Team of the Year award is being contested by Dubai Airport Freezone, Mashreq, Dubai Airports and Mafraq Hospital.

Meanwhile, Advantage Sports Services, Beyond Nutrition Health and Wellness Service, Duplays, Eternity, Haddins Fitness, Arabian Wellness, Ignite Fitness and Wellness and Flabuless have been shortlisted for the Corporate Wellness Partner of the Year award.

Organisations that have shown creativity and achieved high-impact results in communicating their wellness initiatives will also be recognised through the Communications Campaign of the Year category, with Dubai Holding and Mashreq as finalists.

A total of 48 companies, individuals and teams will now move on to the final round of judging to determine this year’s winners. The winners will be recognised on 25 October 2017 at the Westin Mina Seyahi, Dubai.

For more information about the finalists, please visit

About MEED

MEED is a senior management media brand that encompasses a subscription website and magazine, C-level executive conferences and summits hosted by MEED Events, the MEED Quality Awards for Projects and two high-value content businesses, MEED Projects and MEED Insight. MEED Projects is the Middle East’s premium project tracking database and MEED Insight offers 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’s economies and activities ever since.

About Daman Corporate Health Awards

Launched by MEED in 2014, Daman Corporate Health Awards is the only platform for the best employers in the UAE to be recognised for their commitment to and success in improving corporate health and wellness.

The awards recognise board directors, human resources, corporate social responsibility, communication leaders and the best employers in the UAE for improvements and initiatives in corporate health, including education on nutrition, weight loss, non-smoking initiatives and exemplary work environments that foster increased productivity and innovation.

The awards will welcome more than 300 guests including finalists, winners, sponsors, partners and supporters representing the most committed organisations in the UAE in health and wellness.

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Anthon Garcia


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