In our team meeting a few weeks ago, Meesha mentioned she noticed we were creating a habit of working through our lunch breaks. This was a remark made to bring awareness to the fact that we were ignoring her set directive to eat lunch elsewhere or at least not in front of a computer screen. RedTree has always encouraged healthy habits, but that’s not to say that we, the employees have done a very good job of taking advantage of those positives.
When Meesha said this, I was struck by my initial reaction which bordered on an internal eye roll. This reaction stems from the fact that this is (obviously) not the first time she has kindly reprimanded us on this fault. When I paused to consider that, I was annoyed with myself of course, but also curious about whether my coworkers take these breaks, or, for that matter, do anything in their daily work lives at all to be a just little bit healthier. And thus, this baby blog article was born.
I come from an art history background so my first step? Research. Basically I was trying to find out 1. What are healthy habits and do they really make a difference? 2. What are some habits that are really beneficial? and 3. What is everyone else in the office doing to participate?
As I see it, healthy habits are things you do in your daily work life that benefit your mind and body to keep you productive and happy. So, what do these habits actually do for the employees or employers that make them worthwhile? Well, according to an International Labor Organization study, Americans are working more hours now than never before. These habits lead to healthier, happier, more productive employees, which all leads to employers seeing a higher retention rate. Also, it helps to reduce work stress. According to the American Institute of Stress, 75% of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.
Healthy habits can fall into several areas that include physical, mental, financial or social habits. Companies often have wellness programs that support employees in this aspect of their work lives with education and encouragement. While doing some reading, #3 in particular, resonated with me.
1. Take vacations
According to this Forbes article, “American workers forfeited nearly 50 percent of their paid vacation in 2017. And, nearly 10 percent take no vacation days at all.”
2. Take breaks throughout the day
From screens, from thinking, from life for 15 min. or so to give yourself a reboot.
3. Check in with employees
This one is for all the employers out there, but as an employee, we do this at RedTree and it makes us feel valued and heard.
In an effort to spread the word and involve my friends at work, I mentioned my findings in our next work meeting and asked everyone to fill out a short questionnaire about their personal healthy habits. Mainly this was out of curiosity, but also because maybe we can help each other think of new ideas to implement. Everyone had great ideas so I listed them below for public consumption.
Meesha: Tries to do something active every day like going to the gym or taking a dog walk
Megan: At the beginning of the day sets tasks and goals for better time management
Michelle: Often stands to work on computer
Nina: Takes short breaks from work/computer, and also drinks lots of water
Debbie: Eats fruit and takes walks
Alicia: Tries to take a short walk every day in addition to walking to and from work
We’d love to hear what you do throughout your day to make sure your brain and body are functioning at full capacity. Let us know!