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Extra Pounds Kill Productivity: Hack Your Office’s Health

Extra Pounds Kill Productivity: Hack Your Office’s Health

Think your team is better off putting in an extra hour of work this evening than going to the gym? Think again.

The sedentary desk lifestyle affects more than your team’s health—it’s also hurting your company’s bottom line. Here’s why you switch your mindset and focus on productivity hacks to whip your team into shape.

Extra Weight Holds Your Company Back

In 2010, obesity cost the United States $73 billion, the culprit being lost productivity due to poor health.

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We are all well-aware of the consequences that come with being overweight: a higher body mass index puts people at risk of heart problems, cancer, diabetes, and even injuries. Those extra pounds zap your energy and make you feel exhausted. When you’re not exercising, you’re more likely to get sick, which means more days off for you and your team and less time spent building your business.

The thing is, you can’t blame overweight employees. How can you? They’re the ones putting in 50+ hour weeks to build your company’s products and help bring your team to success. They can’t escape sitting at a computer all day, and as soon as they get home, they’re too exhausted to cook healthy meals and work out. Not to mention, gym memberships aren’t always cheap. (This is one of the reasons we bring in free, organic lunches for our staff at Contactzilla!)

We’re dependent on technology to stay productive, and it’s hard to step away when we’re in the middle of launching new campaigns or getting close to launch day. Passion gets the best of us, but it’s also holding us back. Slowly but surely, all of that desk time will kill our stamina.

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Losing Weight is About Everyday Decisions

Look, there’s more to weight loss than whether you can trim down from a size 16 to a size 2. At the end of the day, numbers mean nothing compared to how you feel: after all, not everyone is built to be super skinny. People of all shapes and sizes need to find the right balance for them, which can feel scary and daunting but is actually much easier than you think.

Weight management starts with gradual change, not sudden shock treatment. It’s about developing new routines and sticking to your commitments.  Get lunch together (or bring it in for your team), have meetings while taking a walk, and encourage employees to go home earlier (or come in later) so they can spend some time exercising.

One of the best things your employees can do to get healthy is plan meals. Don’t make them do it alone. Encourage more office lunches, this way you (or someone at your office) can do the planning for them. As tough as it sounds, get rid of the sodas and juices from your office and replace them with tea and water instead. In many cases, you’re probably already spending money on snacks—prioritize healthy ones.

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A Healthy Office is a Productive Office

To build a healthier office, you need to implement change at the group level. Change shouldn’t be limited to one person because the success or failure of your organization depends on team productivity. Start by implementing a wellness program to help all of your employees get more active: This means encouraging healthy behaviors such as eating right, exercising, and quitting smoking.

Remember that mental, financial, and family health fits into the equation, too. Our bodies are part of larger systems, and if one element is out of sync, others will follow suit.

Don’t Forget To Take Preventative Measures

Make sure to focus on preventative care and education too. When employees are informed, they will be empowered to make healthier life choices. Bring the doctor to the office, and invest in incentive programs for an extra level of encouragement. It’s worth it. So jump in. The time to start getting healthier was yesterday.

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What do you do in your office to encourage a healthy lifestyle and physical activity? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2020

The New Lifehacking #7 – Why You Should Be Open to New Stuff, But Wary About Using It

The New Lifehacking #7 – Why You Should Be Open to New Stuff, But Wary About Using It

This is the seventh and final article describing The New Lifehacking. In this series, I described the need for you, a Lifehacker, to focus on making fundamental changes to your habitual methods, rather than chasing the latest gadget or tip. The best way to accomplish this change is to gain an understanding of your current systematic methods, and to use this knowledge to set new targets.

However, using this approach by itself, as logical as it sounds, could close the door to future improvements.

If you only focus on your own methods and keep your head down, you could miss opportunities to improve. The fact is, inspiration to change often arises from the stories, examples and insights of other people, and in order to keep things fresh, you need to be open to these new, possibly contrarian, concepts.

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How Do You Look for New Ideas and Gadgets?

If you are a new Lifehacker, you search cautiously. There are new books, blog posts, lists and gadgets coming out all the time, and there’s no way to cover every possible improvement–you simply can’t keep up. You can trust, however, that there are others on the Internet who will curate these concepts for you and continuously share them until they start to resonate.

After an idea or shortcut gets mentioned a few times in an intelligent way by people that you respect, it’s probably time to pay attention and add the new resource to a list of items to research. This is one way to crowdsource the job of sifting through new ideas in a way that saves you a lot of time and effort.

How Do You Evaluate New Ideas and Gadgets?

While you need to be open to new suggestions for possible improvement, you need to adopt an entirely different process in order to evaluate them. A healthy dose of skepticism is required if you are to escape the trap of grabbing the latest-greatest-hottest “thingy,” only to see it fail. The fact is, a particular improvement may help one person and at the same time hinder others. You need to look at your current habits and practices, plus your own evaluation and ask yourself if the investment in time, energy and focus is worth the payoff at the end.

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For example, I had to make some cost/benefit decisions when I considered switching over from a Palm T PDA to a Blackberry a few years ago. I tried my best to make the change slowly, aware that some of my habits needed to change in order to accommodate the new device.

Here are a few that I had to alter:

New Habit #1.

Recharging the device became a nightly requirement, versus a bi-weekly option. This meant plugging in the device each night. Therefore, I always needed to be near a charger and a power source.

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New Habit #2.

I switched from carrying around a paper pad to capture new tasks, to typing them into my Blackberry with its small keyboard. This meant I had less to take with me from place to place, but it also meant that ideas took longer to record. Also, when I’m on a call and need to record an appointment or phone number, the process of switching over from one function to another is fraught with danger. I still drop the occasional call.

New Habit #3.

Replacing a feature phone with a smartphone means switching from an inexpensive, robust device to one that’s expensive and more fragile. This requires me to be more careful, learning how to protect against theft, physical and adverse physical elements. I had to learn to treat my phone as if it were a precious device that simply couldn’t be just left anywhere.

New Habit #4.

As a Palm user, I was never tempted to use the device while driving. Today’s smartphone user is afflicted with the temptation to break state laws and commonsense rules of thumb by attempting to multitask in moving vehicles. Fortunately, I never developed this particular habit but that’s only because I try hard to be vigilant against all forms of distractions, especially when I’m driving. It takes mental effort to be that vigilant; it’s an entirely new habit.

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How Do You Implement New Ideas and Gadgets?

Once the decision has been made to adopt a new improvement, it’s important to make the switch consciously, with a high degree of awareness. There are likely to be a few surprises that require extra attention, and some new habits that turn out to be harder to learn than you thought. For example, I had a hard time learning to plug in my smartphone each night.

The point is maintain as many old, productive habits as possible while implementing the handful of new ones that you believe will make a difference. Unfortunately, it’s devilishly easy to make things worse, and even *much* worse. People who jump from one technology to another can attest to this fact–witness those who fail to switch to large screen smartphones that don’t comfortably fit in a holster. The size of the device forces them to abandon a trusted old habit, in search of a new one. Some simply switch back to their old devices because the “improvement” makes things worse for them.

The New Lifehacking is all about executing intelligent, individual change management. This transformation might not happen at a pace that the author of a book or an inventor of a gadget might want, but at the end of the day we, the new lifehackers, answer only to ourselves, deciding whether or not an improvement makes the deep difference that we want.

Featured photo credit: Emily Park via unsplash.com

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