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Jun 2016

You are what you do! How health habits impact your results.


Broccoli vs Burger

Healthy habits can be a difference maker for employee productivity. When we talk about healthy habits a few popular topics come to mind. In an effort to improve employee wellness; including productivity and efficiency, employers may focus on the ‘macro’ facets of employee wellness. For example, nutrition is often a point of fixation. Healthy eating can have a phenomenal impact on employee wellness. However, there many – often overlooked – healthy habits that can make a world of difference in the workplace, and can help employers overcome common challenges.

What kinds of challenges?

Employers in all occupational fields encounter some of the same challenges. No matter the work environment, aspiring to get the most out of your employees while maintaining their wellness is a difficult obstacle. How can you help improve productivity and efficiency without pushing too hard? How can you help your employees balance their job with daily life, while still procuring their best effort? These are delicate and difficult situations that can be hard to navigate.

There are a few significant issues throughout occupations in the United States: time management, employee engagement, and a large workload. Workers in the United States clock an average of 1800 hours annually. This number ranks highest in the world. Employees who are overworked run the risk of developing depression, high blood pressure, and other dangerous health conditions. So, how do employers instill quality work habits in their employees?

How to build Habits

Believe it or not, there is a science behind habit building. Establishing good habits is a matter of patience and consistency. The tendency is to try and change multiple behaviors at once. However, it is more effective to choose one behavior and focus on performing that behavior on a consistent basis. For example, waking up every morning and making a list of daily tasks. Performing this action every morning will help you plan the day, and due to its stress-relieving and organizational properties, this action will have a beneficial impact on daily life. Over time, this behavior will grow into a habit as the reward of efficiency and stress relief will incite the behavior to continue.

Ways employers can help

Employers can help their workers build healthy habits. Obviously, employee wellness programs and refined occupational safety protocols are a terrific way to improve work conditions for workers. However, encouraging and promoting good habits among your employees is another way in which employers can improve the work environment. What habits are good? In this case we are talking about things such as; time management, effective planning, and organization.

Time management could be the most important habit on this list. How an individual manages their time can either be a detriment to the workplace, or a benefit. Efficient management of one’s time can cut workloads down, streamline simple tasks (such as filing papers), and create a scheduled approach to daily tasks. Time management begins with identification of required tasks, prioritization of those tasks, and planning the completion of each task.

Effective time management is composed of detailed scheduling. This leads into the second habit; effective planning. Robert Pozen, the author of “Extreme Productivity: Boost your results, reduce your hours”, is adamant that writing everything down is a great way to begin organizing your time. This is not limited to deadlines and meetings. Rather, include even the small tasks you have to complete. Organizing your time into segments for every task will go a long way in streamlining your work processes, no matter how simple – or complicated – they are.

Finally, organization comes into play as a key component to both of the items previously discussed, as well as in its own right. Every workplace has employees that seem to be one step behind. These are the employees who are routinely late to meetings, forgetting deadlines, or rushing to turn in last-minute work. These are all qualities of a disorganized individual. Employers should encourage, and in some cases enforce, organization amongst their employees. This can be done by promoting organization in administrative capacities. If employers expect their employees to be organized then they need to model that same behavior through scheduling, deadlines, and transparent leadership practices.

Employers should seek to alleviate stress, and not aggravate stress by having an unorganized workplace. Clear communication and expectations are essential to organizing employees. Workers who are overly stressed are more likely to make mistakes. Building good habits in the workplace will help employees relieve stress. This will reduce mistakes, create a more efficient workplace, and can save company money in the long run.

The key is to create small, healthy habits that all compile to create a workplace that reflects the actions of the employees. List making, task prioritization, effective time management, and planning are foundations of healthy habits. Change starts with effective leadership. Employers need to promote an environment that encourages and facilitates healthy habits. Leadership by example is crucial to success. Just as individuals are the sum of their habits, so the workplace is the manifestation of its employees’ habits.

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