By Ilona Bray
A little flexibility about the standard working day
will go a long way toward the health of both your
employees and your business.
Deep down, many managers believe that the ideal workplace scenario is one where employees are parked quietly at their desks, pounding out product. There’s just one problem: uninterrupted work puts people to sleep, reduces their fitness levels, raises their stress levels and ultimately lowers productivity. A little flexibility about the standard working day will go a long way toward the health of both your employees and your business.The following are five ways to create a high-energy workplace.
1. Allow flex time for fitness activities.
Allowing employees to come in late (and make up the time later), take a long lunch hour, or otherwise rearrange their day is one of the best ways to guarantee that they do their exercise and give you their greatest productivity during the workday.
2. Encourage use of breaks or lunchtime for fitness activities.
Offer suggestions like a short walking route that can be covered during the break period. If you have access to outdoor space, make Frisbees, balls and other ‘toys’ available.
3. Make your stairwells more inviting.
Start by addressing cleanliness and security concerns — for example, by improving the lighting and reminding everyone of entry codes for doors that remain locked. Make sure the floor numbers are clearly marked. Other improvements might include fresh paint, piped in music, and colourful artwork on the walls.
4. Have stretch breaks during long meetings.
It helps if a leader guides people through some simple movements, like reaching one’s arms high in the air or bending at the waist toward the floor. Stretch breaks are a great way to remind people that sitting for too long — particularly in one position — is never a good idea.
5. Don’t reward employees who put in long hours.
If a 70 or 80-hour work week is expected or applauded at your office, you are giving the worst kind of message. No one can stay healthy and fit on that kind of schedule.
Ilona Bray, J.D., is the author of Healthy Employees, Healthy Business: Easy, Affordable Ways to Promote Workplace Wellness (Nolo Publishing). She is an award-winning author and legal editor at Berkeley-based Nolo, which specializes in workplace wellness, non-profit fundraising and immigration law.
The above is part of a longer article called Healthy Employees, Healthy Workplace from The Health Issue (Winter 2016) of Rotman Management Magazine.