Productivity or Well-Being? Choose Both.

1/5/2016 |

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Healthy, happy Ninjas are productive Ninjas

So you’re the boss of an entire team or even an entire company, 20, 2000 or 200,000 employees. Your Ninja fairy godmother offers you one wish for increasing productivity. What do you choose?

  1. A giant clock that reveals each nanosecond of time they waste each day
  2. A one size fits all mandatory task time management system
  3. A redesigned office so employees can get to the bathrooms and back in half the time
  4. More breaks, more plants, an onsite gym, and naptime included in the benefit package

If you picked option four, give yourself a Ninja star. According to maintaining a healthier workforce has been shown to lower direct costs such as insurance premiums and worker’s compensation claims, positively impact indirect costs such as absenteeism and increase worker productivity.

Even modest improvements in employee health offer significant financial implications. These are greater than the financial savings associated with efficiently designed and operated buildings. They’re even greater than in those organizations that promote productivity as their core competency. (Productivity or Well-being? Balance Is Best).

Keeping your lizard brain in its place

There are other reasons A Productivity Ninja opts for being healthy and fit.  It helps battle “resistance” – you know, that part of our lizard brain that says, “Do nothing, keep still and you’ll live to another day.”

Resistance loves it when you’re feeling sluggish. Feed me donuts, drink some soda pop, and I’ll agree to anything. Five hours of sleep, stuffy indoor air all day? Lizard brain is in its glory.

One of the best ways to reduce Lizard brain’s power is through nutrition, fresh air, lots of water, and fitness sessions. Exercise adds an additional bonus because of the high we get through the positive endorphins produced (Lizard brain doesn’t want you to be happy!). It all makes us feel stronger, ready to take on more—and feel good about it.

Hey, I want to work there!

Companies large or small can take steps to establish a “health and wellness culture” and make “healthy” cool for everyone, not just the fitness fanatics and health gurus. There are great examples of organizations that have taken steps to emphasize health and wellbeing in the workplace; one of my personal favorites is a company in Chicago that awards each employee with ten “Ferris Bueller days off” each

Small steps to help involve everyone:

Walk the Talk Action steps

  • Fresh, cold water supply; for an extra bonus add lemon or cucumber slices
  • Space for exercise, bike storage, change rooms/showers
  • Seasonal fruit, nuts, yogurt, and other healthy items.
  • “Walking meetings” – take it outside (2-3 people max.)

Benefit programs

  • Points earned for health and wellness challenges, reimbursed for prizes or time off
  • Reimbursing workers for gym memberships, local exercise classes, or providing discount cards.
  • Onsite free exercise programs, health coaching, flu shot clinics

Time & attention management training

Training can be one of the most effective ways for integrating a wellness culture. We Ninja’s are keen on the idea of attention management and emphasizing a balance of priorities to lower stress and increase productivity.

  • Include time for breaks, hydration, meals, formal and informal exercise
  • Give permission to disconnect, schedule time to unplug, go stealth
  • Take a look at what’s really getting in your way, what distracts you, where are you procrastinating and why – what can you do to change those habits?
  • Don’t fill your calendar with tasks. Set time aside to remain flexible, perhaps take a walk while you work on a creative challenge; breathe in fresh air and creative energy.

Given we spend about at least 1/3rd of the workday in an office, a healthy environment should be a priority. When employees feel you care about their health and wellbeing, there’s no doubt they’ll feel more valued, feel better and produce higher quality work.

Productivity or well-being? They are not mutually exclusive; create the culture to support them both.   Check here for additional ideas.



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