A Guide to Maintaining a Healthy, Happy Workplace
There’s no doubt that devoted and committed employees are a benefit to a company.
For employees, it can be incredibly rewarding to know that they are putting their all into a job, and for the organization to benefit from their hard work. When an employee gets sick, it has an effect on the whole organization and can negatively impact productivity. Most organizations depend on their employees to take care of their health, but leading organizations have made it a priority to help employees help themselves when it comes to their overall health.
At Convey, we know that increased effectiveness comes with improved energy. We know that in order to boost our energy levels, we encourage all our employees to take the time to renew physically, mentally, and emotionally on a regular basis. For the record, it’s not DESPITE the fact that we work in a stressful high-growing tech environment, but BECAUSE of our environment we need everyone at the top of their game.
It’s always a good time to take stock of your routine and incorporate some healthy habits:
Boost Physical Energy
Our physical energy is the energy that gets us moving day in and day out. Our bodies need a good mix of movement and rest to stay healthy. Contrary to some beliefs, the more physical activity we do, the more energy we will have. Not to mention, physical activity helps regulate your immune system and helps you recover better from stress. Here are the three physical energy boosters that we’re taking on as a team:
- Work on getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night. We’ll be honest – between work, spouses, kids, friends, volunteering and other extracurriculars, it’s not easy for our busy team to get the amount of sleep we need. Not to mention… many of us are night owls so getting the rest we need can be tough. Sleep is necessary though – sleep helps your body renew and recharge so you are at full strength the next day. That’s why we’re making it a priority to get the sleep we need and come in refreshed to work every morning so we can give everything we’ve got.
- Improve your nutrition. What you put into our bodies will greatly affect how much energy we have. Eating a nutritious breakfast kicks off the digestive system on the right foot and eating healthy snacks throughout the day will balance insulin levels so we’re not tempted to dip into the candy jar throughout the day. Instead of the typical office and vending machine snacks, we’ve shifted toward more healthy options at the snack bar or during team lunches. At Convey, we’re not a vending machine type of office, so our snacks lean towards the healthier side, but our downfall is all the delicious take-out options nearby (we’re looking at you Koko’s Bakery). That’s why we’re making it a priority to make better choices when we lunch. The bright side is that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to opt-out of group lunches, we just need to be healthier when we make our dining choices – think fruit, whole grain and veggies, and less sugar, white bread, fat, and processed foods.
- Get moving. Exercise is an important part of a healthy routine for more physical energy. Doing cardio at least 3x per week and weight training at least 1x per week is the ideal goal. We already have the option of standing desks at our offices, which is great because experts say that we should start standing at up at work for at least two hours a day… and work our way toward four. Some more options to get moving physically at work:
- Walking meetings
- Take phone calls standing/pacing
- Invest in standing desks
- Hold “standing” meetings
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk over to a colleague instead of sending another slack
Many bigger organizations also offer group fitness classes or reduced gym memberships to their employees. A group of us have been talking about bringing in a yoga instructor at our own nominal cost to come in so we can get our flow on!
Improve Emotional Energy
While physical energy is about our body having the energy to move, emotional energy deals with our moods and how we interact with people. Positive emotional energy helps us be more creative, make more connections with people, and better adapt to situations. Emotional energy is not just important to our own health and well-being, but it helps our team as well since emotions are contagious and can affect everyone around us. When we’re feeling negative emotions coming on or are struggling with stressful energy, we use these tricks to help spin the situation around:
- Express gratitude. Research says that showing appreciation and giving thanks to others helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build stronger relationships.
- Just breathe. Deep abdominal breathing – taking 5 deep breaths and exhaling for 5 seconds – slows down our fight or flight response and reduces anxiety.
- Change the stories we tell ourselves. In any given situation, we will tell ourselves the most hopeful, and personally empowering story as possible. Just changing our attitude from positive to negative can change our emotional energy.
- Spend more quality time with those we love. Spending time with family improves our self-esteem, creates happy memories, and decreases stress.
- Reflect. The Convey team gathered to present their reflections from the previous year – the things we learned, the things we wanted to accomplish, the things we DID accomplish – and we’re using them to set our goals for the new year. Setting small goals helps us define something we are going to strive for and gives us a renewed sense of energy as we get 2018 rolling.
Expand Mental Energy
Mental energy is what makes us good at what we do. It helps us concentrate, create, learn, and bounce back from adverse situations. Having positive mental energy helps us deal with stressful situations by giving us the capacity to think through things and make a plan to deal with them. When we’re having a hard time focusing your mental energy we use these tips to turn our mindset around:
- Stop “multi-tasking”. If you ever feel fatigued after a full day of what you thought was multi-tasking, here’s why: there’s no such thing as real multi-tasking. The reality is, when we think we’re multi-tasking, our brain is actually switching between tasks really quickly… and getting pretty tired in the meantime. We think we’re getting so much done but in fact, this switching action decreases focus and productivity. Instead of “multi-tasking”, our goal for 2018 is to fully focus for 90-120 minutes on one task, take a true break, then fully focus on the next activity.
- Look towards the long-term. Just like goal setting helps our emotional health, it also helps our mental energy as well because putting a plan in place takes the pressure off our brains to keep switching gears. That’s why before beginning each day, month, or year, we’re going to take time to sit down and prioritize our activities by their long-term value. Then, we’ll start with our most challenging work first while we have the most mental energy to get it done.
- Lock the inbox. We’re making it a priority in 2018 to stop checking our email inbox constantly – it disrupts our focus and drains our energy. Instead, we’re setting a few times throughout the day to check and respond to email.
We are excited to start our path to a happier, healthier state as we focused on managing our own overall well-being. If we can take these baby-steps to make improvements in each of our energy areas – and help our teammates do the same – we can count on having a happier, healthier workplace!
As we work on improving ourselves, we will also be working on improving our relationships as well. Check out our blog Top 10 Ways to Build Strong Professional Relationships to find out how we’re going to do that.