Reflecting on the past year, the word that comes to mind for me is ‘fast’. The world changed fast, Shift grew fast, and quite honestly every day in 2021 felt fast. But with the world moving so quickly, so did our curiosity and desire to try and learn new things. As we embark into a new year each of us needs to take a step back in our fast-paced lives to check in on ourselves and prioritize our personal and professional wellness.
Before we dive into ways to bring wellness into your life and workplace let's talk about what wellness really means. Wellness is an active process of increasing awareness and actively making choices towards a healthy and fulfilling life.
Why is prioritizing wellness important?
According to Deloitte’s Global Millennial survey, close to half (48%) of Gen Z and 44% of millennial respondents in the primary survey said they are stressed all or most of the time. If you’ve spent any time working from home, you’re likely familiar with the ways it can blur the line between work and the rest of life. Whether you’re fielding your child’s questions about schoolwork, staring at your messy room, or fixing a faulty WiFi connection, distractions at home are one of many ways that working from home can increase stress levels. MattressNerd found that people are working more, sleeping less, and stress levels have gone up over the past year. Practicing Wellness is more important now than ever.
According to 6Q, happiness is one of the top determinants of productivity in people as it tends to lead to higher engagement at work. Being productive and feeling good both physically and mentally can be a snowball effect. When you feel good you are more productive which can lead to you feeling better about yourself, in both a personal and professional capacity. But, sometimes getting the ball rolling can be the most difficult challenge and that is why we created 5 ways to bring wellness into your workplace.
These are merely suggestions as a starting point to bring wellness into your workplace. The key to creating a happy environment is to encourage employees, but not to force habits upon them. What wellness means to each individual is unique, and what may work for one person is not the right fit for another
1. Mute your notifications
Being constantly bombarded with messages can be draining, whether they are personal or professional notifications. Removing constant notifications, and feeling on the clock can create happier employees, reduce turnover, and improve employee health and wellness (+ increase productivity!). Whether it be throughout the day to help you stay on task, or at the end of your workday, it is good practice to mute your notifications to improve your mental wellness.
Constant notifications aren’t just robbing your time and attention; they also increase stress and anxiety. Forbes article suggests a staggering 80% of smartphone users check their mobile devices within 15 minutes of waking up each morning. Meaning you are confronted every morning with a sea of notifications across multiple social media and messaging platforms causing you to start your day already feeling behind.
Hot Tip: A great healthy habit to start this year is not checking your phone for the first hour of your day!
Shift allows you to house and manage all your apps in one place while providing the option to mute and unmute notifications as you need to boost your productivity.
Related Article: The Best Apps to Boost Focus and Concentration
2. Take shorter breaks more often
Stuck at your work desk? Standing up and walking around for five minutes every hour during the workday can help to lift your mood, combat lethargy without reducing focus and attention, says New York Times.
Taking short breaks is a free and easy way to practice daily wellness. Breaks can help you obtain both better physical and mental health outcomes. Simply standing up, stretching, walking to the break room ( or your personal break room aka your kitchen) gives you a moment to be present, gives your eyes a break from a screen, your back a break from sitting, and a moment to simply breathe.
Hot tip: Set an alarm to remind yourself to take breaks!
View this post on Instagram
3. Move your body
We know movement can lift your mood, and restore dwindling energy levels. But some days taking those breaks aren't a realistic option — what about the hectic days when you can't afford to take a break every hour, let alone any breaks?
- If you work at a desk, try a standing desk — or improvise with a high table or counter.
- Use a yoga ball instead of a chair. Sitting on an exercise ball can help strengthen and mobilize your spine. Activation of your spinal muscles can help strengthen and tone the muscle fibers, improving pain, stiffness, weakness, and function in your back according to spine health.
- Try an under-the-desk elliptical. Under desk ellipticals are machines that a person can use for pedaling while they are seated. They are portable and suitable for use in the home or office. This is a great way to stay moving even on the busiest of days.
These are simply suggestions for those who may be looking to improve their physical health and wellness, and should not be used as mandatory practices in the workplace.
View this post on Instagram
4. Team Incentives and Encouragement
Creating workplace challenges can be a fun way to encourage and incentivize making wellness a priority. As mentioned earlier, getting the ball rolling for improving both mental and physical health can often be the biggest barrier people face.
According to the Health Psychology review knowing other people are being active influences your explicit and implicit attitudes- your thoughts and feelings- about exercise. It also molds what are called social norms: your perceptions about whether other people exercise and if you think you should. By creating a space where others can see their coworker and friends' achievements makes it more likely that they will also partake in these wellness activities and challenges.
Here at Shift we use Kazoo which is a fun and easy to use platform where the employer can put up incentives such as:
These are fun and easy ways to encourage your staff to be the best versions of themselves if they wish to participate. The points they receive correlate to rewards they can personally pick (e.g. gift cards, electronics, beauty, and more!)
5. Breathe in fresh air
Taking Charge of Your Health & Wellbeing suggests getting outside daily can drastically improve your wellness. Whether that be simply having your morning coffee on your deck or going for a nature walk, being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, has been proven to reduce anger, fear, and stress and increase pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones.
Encourage your staff to get outside more in any capacity. Whether that be having walking meetings outdoors rather than sitting in a conference room, coffee breaks on the front steps of your office or creating incentives for employees to walk/bike to work.
Shift your Habits, forever
Wellness should not be looked at as a new years resolution, which will be dropped only weeks later. Wellness takes consistent practice to create long-term health habits to attain better physical and mental health outcomes. Shift interacts with the most popular meditation, wellness, and mental health apps to ensure you have easy access to the apps you love directly from your desktop. Check out Shift’s health and fitness app integrations here.
Removing constant notifications, and feeling on the clock can create happier employees, reduce turnover, improve employee health and ultimately increase productivity. Especially now with the boundary between work and the home being blurred now more than ever. Shift allows you to house and manage all your apps in one place while providing the option to mute and unmute notifications as you need to boost your productivity. Increase wellness and productivity while decreasing stress, Shift is the simple solution.
Here’s to thriving, rather than surviving!