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Offering Sustainable Advancement Opportunities

career development meeting

A recent study by the Society for Human Resources Management found that providing opportunities for career advancement was a key consideration for employees – ranking right behind compensation as a driver of turnover. So, if modern employees are concerned about career development, what can you do to help ensure that workers in your organization have access to the career advancing tools they’re looking for?

Consider Professional Development, Not Just Advancement

Believe it or not, development is just as important as actual promotions! If someone isn’t ready for a promotion immediately, but you want to maintain them as talent – ensure that you’re helping them further their skills and development to prepare them for eventual advancement. The most common form of professional development is offering credits for further education and upskilling. This can take the form of an employee interested in the management track getting their MBA, an engineer looking to learn a new programming language, or many other avenues. Putting some money aside for development credits of these kinds is a reliable way to reduce turnover and encourage long-term loyalty of highly skilled employees. Strong development programs send a message that you’re not just interested in extracting value from individual employees, but instead in being a partner on their complete career journey.

Offer Clear Paths to Success in One on Ones or Development Meetings

Communication is critical at all levels of business, and nowhere is this more apparent than employee retention. If you want to retain promising employees within your organization, managers, executives, or HR professionals should be having open conversations about where they see their career going. More importantly, you should discuss how the organization can help them to get where they want to be. These development meetings not only give you an essential pulse-check on employee ambitions, they can also give you a heads-up if someone feels they don’t have the upwards trajectory they’re looking for.  By helping address their developmental needs, you’re more than likely to save your organization from some costly turnover.

Everyone’s Path is Different

Some employees may be interested in the ‘traditional’ route of eventually managing a team. Others may wish to cultivate other specialized skill sets, or branch out into something new entirely. Allowing these diverse paths of development through personal plans and conversations is important – as is continuing to mentor and develop veteran workers, even after they become managers or specialists. Learning is a lifelong experience, and you should strive to build a forward-pushing culture that encourages it!

Think About Advancement Before Your Employees Are Perfectly “Ready”

It can be easy to fall into the trap of waiting for “that perfect moment” to advance an employee, or until they’re absolutely, 100% confident in their abilities to tackle a higher position. But the truth is that people are rarely, if ever totally confident in their abilities to handle something new before they’ve actually got hands-on experience doing it, whether it’s working with a new piece of software or managing a team. If you’re confident in an employee’s experiences, and more importantly their ability to learn and grow, you should consider advancing their position before they’re perfectly ‘ready’, since they’ll be able to grow into the role and discover hands-on if it’s really right for them. These moves are also a sign of trust in an employee’s competence and long-term prospects with the company. Those are essential qualities for long-term retention!

Cultivating sustainable advancement can often be boiled down to providing the opportunities in both time and credit for professional and skill development, combined with the trust to let employees realize those skills in a hands-on setting. As always, it comes down to some of the fundamentals of good business practice; Open, active communication, and trust within teams. Applying these principles to any aspect of your business will bring back positive results – in this case, in the form of a more qualified, high-skill, and loyal employee base that has your organization to thank for not only cultivating its professional development, but also in providing the opportunity to put it to good use.

Check out PerkSpot’s Blog for more advice on building workplaces that are great to work at, or schedule a demo if you’d like to hear more about how PerkSpot can help reduce costs and drive positive culture in your organization!

How to Handle Workplace Bullying

frustrated employee

Today’s modern, dynamic, rapidly-moving workplace comes with many advantages. We benefit from agile organizational structures with an atmosphere where anyone can shine. Or, at least, that’s what we like to say. And while these benefits make a big difference in employee’s lives, the changing modern workplace has also changed what bullying looks like, transforming it from open abuse of power into something that tends to be quieter, manipulative, and more insidious.

With open-faced bullying seen as totally unacceptable, workplace bullying often instead takes the form of competitive employees defaming others, attempting to manufacture situations where they’ll look like the hero. For example, a common tactic employed by this kind of toxic personality is to claim credit for co-worker’s key deliverables. Then, they’ll use those same deliverables as evidence of why they’re a better performer than their ‘target’. When conflicts invariably spring up from these lies, if management isn’t careful, workplace bullies will tend to have the edge in the ‘he-said, she-said’ conflict due to focusing more on telling executives about the work ‘they’ did rather than actually doing the work.

Handling Office Conflict Responsibly

Needless to say, workplace bullies can destroy a team’s cohesion and productivity, and it’s essential for leadership to detect and remove these kinds of people ASAP before they can gain power in the office. That being said, rushing to fire someone who exhibits bullying behavior is not always the correct move! There are a range of reasons why an employee might engage in bullying; including personal insecurities or even mental illness. 

While stopping bullying is critical, it’s also important to understand motivation for an effective response. That might include sensitivity training sessions, a recommendation to see a therapist, or simply termination from the company. As a leader, it will ultimately fall on you to decide which approach is right for your situation.

Common Patterns of Workplace Bullies

It’s also important not to misconstrue or hastily judge the situation. Behaviors that appear to be rooted in bullying may in fact stem from deeper, institutional issues within the organization, such as cruel or over-competitive traditions. To help distinguish, here are some common patterns of legitimate bullies in the workplace:

  • Consistently redirecting conversations about team efforts to focus exclusively on their personal contribution
  • Displaying a lack of empathy or care for the feelings or workload of others
  • Highly judgemental, and willing to delay or jeopardize projects over minor personal issues
  • Takes poorly to any kind of criticism, even constructive criticism, often viewing it as insulting

How To Document and Report Conflict

These traits all but guarantee someone is a bad fit for any workplace. If you start to notice them, there’s a real chance that you have a workplace bully on your hands! And if you’re an employee stuck in a situation with a bullying co-worker or even boss, make sure to document a pattern of behavior before presenting to Human Resources. Not only will it help you construct a case, but also allow you to examine your relationship with your co-worker. A detached perspective will help you understand if it’s actually a case of workplace bullying or something else entirely. No matter the case, your office will feel the positive impact of removing toxic influences. And you might be surprised how fast things change when you take action!

Check out PerkSpot’s Five Focus Areas for Building a Better Workplace for more advice on building healthy, sustainable long-term culture at your organization.

6 Ways to Foster a Sense of Belonging in Your Workplace

You Belong

Workplace studies in recent years consistently show that employees are increasingly seeking more than just competitive salaries and benefits in their employment; they’re also looking for a sense of belonging and purpose. Even if you pay competitive rates, modern employees need to also feel like their work is meaningful, and that they’re a valued member of not only your company – but also its community. 

In the wake of the ‘Great Resignation’, some have begun to call this increasing trend towards employees seeking belonging in the workplace as the ‘Great Reflection’, with work-from-home and rapidly changing economic conditions leading many to think big-picture about their lives, their work, and what it all really means

So what can you do to help bring your employees a sense of purpose in their work? Start with these six tips for building a constructive and meaningful environment!

1) Collectively Define Company Culture

Promote the value of diverse opinions and employees participating in defining company culture; remember, the purpose of your organization isn’t simply a by-line decided by the executive team, it should be a set of values held and agreed upon across the entire org!

2) Focus on Sustainable Performance

Focus on sustainable long-term performance rather than driving for overly ambitious performance. In the long run, a sustainable performer is 17% more productive than an average employee. They’re also 1.7x more likely to stay with their current organization! Ultra-high performers can lead to a quick burst, but are ultimately unsustainable.

3) Keep Employee Wellness in Mind

Pay attention to individual employee needs and mental well-being. There’s a fine line between being considerate and prying. Even so, make sure employees feel safe in confiding and addressing wellness concerns by providing a considerate and honest atmosphere.

4) Get Rid of Micromanagement

Throw out micro-managerial behavior and give employees the freedom to approach their work in the ways they’re most comfortable. Trusting employees to be responsible for their own work not only tends to improve quality, it also empowers them with a sense of value towards their position in the wider organization!

5) Refine your Processes to Cut Busywork

Always be looking for ways to axe busywork in favor of refining business-critical processes. The more unnecessary red tape you can cut out and the more trust placed in individual employees to carry out important aspects of your business model, the more they’ll feel like a direct part of what makes the business run. Trapping rockstar employees in mundane day-in day-out work is sure to kill their sense of purpose in the organization! 

6) Make your Workplace Human-Centric

While productivity is the ultimate goal of any organization, companies are always made up of diverse individuals. Feeling like cogs in a machine is absolute anathema to building any sense of purpose. The most important objective of human resources has to be making employees feel like they’re part of something more. ‘Human-centric’ is a broad term that can include company-wide pride events all the way down to individual check-ins and honest, open conversations. But whatever approach you take, it all comes down to the same core principle. Show your employees that they’re seen and valued as people, not just productivity numbers on a spreadsheet. 

 

Building Belonging with PerkSpot

At the end of the day, building belonging is really about recognizing your employees as unique individuals and treating them, their skills, and their time with respect. And that’s good advice in general, not just for imparting a sense of purpose within your organization! Whether it’s in work or life, when you treat people with respect and purpose, they notice – and the whole business benefits.

Interested in learning more ways to improve your organizational culture? Check out PerkSpot’s five focus areas for a better workplace!

 

Why You Need Voluntary Benefits

girl at computer voluntary benefitsEmployee benefits are, by their very nature, a highly personal thing. Few things are more important than having reliable health and vision benefits, for instance, across a huge range of varied personal situations. That’s why it’s critical that any competitive benefits package allows for meaningful customization for the things that matter, so employees can opt-in towards retirement, time-off, or whatever else is important to them. In other words – you need a benefits structure that works around the unique needs of your unique employees!

Ideally, your voluntary benefits should be more than just “skin deep”.  The kind of benefits program that attracts top talent is the kind that offers meaningful solutions to major hurdles experienced by your employees – like, for instance, providing financial well-being tools such as financial education resources or 401k guidance as part of an employee benefits package. It makes a huge difference to the growing number of employees concerned about their financial health. But even something as simple as separate voluntary benefits for commuters and motorists getting to the office can make a big difference in the positive cultural impact of your program.

Productivity, Loyalty, and Voluntary Benefits

Studies show consistently that incentive programs have a strong positive impact on productivity and loyalty. For example, a recent Incentive Research Foundation study indicated that a well-run incentive program can improve loyalty by up to 44%, showing that employees want to be recognized as individuals for their work. Providing voluntary benefits functions just the same; when employees feel like their efforts are being recognized and rewarded on an individual basis, it acts as a strong productivity driver. That’s because personalizing your benefits demonstrates that you care about your employees – and there’s nothing that ensures employee loyalty more strongly than showing you’re loyal to them right back. 

From parking vouchers to cutting-edge telehealth benefits, giving employees a comprehensive and customizable benefits suite is among the top ways to stand out from competitors and attract fiercely competitive best-in-class talent. That’s how PerkSpot helps you build loyalty and reduce turnover; providing your employees with discounts tailored around their interests. Through the hundreds of national brands who work with us, PerkSpot is able to selectively highlight the programs and discounts most applicable to individual employees; whether it’s a frequent traveler in need of cheaper car rentals or an amateur gardener looking for new tools, we’ve got the deals to help your employees save on the things that matter to them. That’s why PerkSpot is such a powerful employee productivity driver.

The Value of Personalization

When you recognize your employees as individuals and format your programs around individual needs, it never goes unnoticed. In many cases, even if the monetary benefit is the same, giving employees the choice to opt-in to relevant programs instead of a “one-size-fits-all” approach improves productivity and loyalty metrics. As far as benefits go, it pays to realize that one size does not fit all; and the more you can provide employees with benefits that match their individual needs, the happier they’ll be. That’s what makes PerkSpot different; our wide range of discounts has something for everyone, no matter how unique. Catering to that uniqueness is our priority.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of a customized discount program? Request a demo for a free overview of how PerkSpot can help your organization!

Two Major Signs of Micromanagement

workers discussing micromanagement

The dreaded micromanager is the bane of any productive workspace. We’ve all been there – the manager who needs to be CC’d on every email. The boss who demands reports so often that you can’t get any real work done. Even the coworker who nit-picks everything you do. It’s no secret that micromanagement in all its forms is one of the biggest contributors to employee disengagement and ‘quiet quitting’; a 2014 survey from Accountemps reported that 59% of employees have worked for or with a micromanager, and the percent of workers who reported micromanagement hurting their morale – 68% – has only gone up in recent years, with a recent survey from Trinity Solutions reporting a whopping 85% of respondents citing micromanagement as a personal morale-killer.

Micromanagement is both one of the most common and most bothersome of workplace ills because it is difficult to identify, and even more difficult to adequately address. But the first step of handling micromanagement is to recognize what’s going on, and to differentiate micromanagement from attentive management! Below are some common traits of micromanagement that can help you identify it at your workplace.

Excessive Amounts of Reporting

Reporting is a crucial part of understanding and improving campaigns. Still, a manager who requests excessive reports on projects can serve as more of a detriment than an incentive. Daily check-ins on the same task, for instance, tend to increase stress and decrease productivity. If a manager is hanging over their shoulder, it’ll leave employees thinking more about their check-in meeting than the project itself. An organized routine for project check-ins on a weekly or biweekly basis can go a long way in cutting down micromanagement.

Hyper-Focus on Details at the Wider Project’s Expense

Detail-oriented management is a great trait, especially for managers who need to oversee complex projects with many moving parts. But sometimes, a focus on detail can slip into minutia, where workers start spending unproductive time addressing minor details at the manager’s request. It can be tricky to differentiate between detail-oriented style and genuine micromanagement, so to tell the difference try asking yourself: “Is this feedback rooted in industry best practice, or is it a personal preference?” When small details are being changed, backed up by data that shows it’ll improve the project, then you have an attentive manager; but if small details are being regularly changed for no clear reason other than personal preferences, you may have a micromanager on your hands.

The best way to deal with micromanagement is to help your manager realize that they don’t need to. Every worker is an individual who handles tasks in a unique way. Encourage them to be open to employees trying tasks in new ways, rather than always having to get their way. Personal solutions founded on good, mutual communication are the best solution to micromanagement, as they are for a great number of major HR stressors – take it from the personalized benefits experts! Discount programs like PerkSpot only work due to providing meaningful, individual solutions – the kind that you should be encouraging micromanagers to take, rather than zooming in on the little things.

4 Ways to Help Employees Stay Grounded This Winter

The winter months often are accompanied by decreased motivation, a lull in energy, and a lot less sunshine. During this season, it’s crucial to keep employees’ wellness at the forefront and provide opportunities to increase morale. Below are easy to implement, meaningful opportunities to help your employees stay grounded this winter.

Winter, Employee Wellness

 

Encourage Incorporating Movement Into Every Day

Staying active in the cooler months can be a daunting task. Luckily, there are plenty of options available to promote adding movement into your employees’ daily routine. For example, movement can be as simple as taking breaks from your desk or as complex as structuring a cycling class into each day. According to LiveStrong, one way that exercise can help boost productivity at work is through alertness. When you exercise, you are also increasing blood flow to the brain, which can help sharpen your awareness and make you more ready to tackle your next big project. With PerkSpot, employees have access to exclusive perks geared toward a variety of fitness activities that can assist in achieving movement.

Support Employees Taking Advantage of Time Off

What better time to plan ahead than during the winter season! Encourage your employees to leverage their time off benefits and spend time away from their daily work routine. Time off can range from a day here and there to a week-long vacation. Either way, time away will play a positive role in helping employees avoid burnout. In addition, having something to look forward to oftentimes will also boost your employees’ morale and keep motivation steady. 

Prioritize Downtime 

It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle of everyday life. Downtime during the workday provides employees the necessary time to reflect and come back to tasks with an open mind. Prioritizing employees’ downtime can include things like implementing meeting-free hours, encouraging lunch breaks, or promoting adding pauses directly to their calendar. Psychology Today found that taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative. Taking the necessary downtime to refresh and regroup is a critical factor for staying grounded this winter. 

Inspire Employees to Invest In a New Hobby 

With less activities taking place during the winter months, it’s still a good time for investing in a new hobby. Some examples of ways to inspire hobbies virtually or in-person in the workplace include: hosting a monthly book club, gathering for a routine meditation class, bringing teammates together for a cooking competition, amongst many others. A discount program through PerkSpot makes finding new hobbies to enjoy together simple, with categorized savings from Home & Garden to Outdoors & Recreation. 

This winter, grasp the opportunity to improve your employees’ overall wellness. Not only will staying grounded improve overall health, it will lead to an increase in determination, improved wellbeing, and a happier team. 

Check out more of the perks that PerkSpot has available for your employees. Let’s work together to beat the winter blues!

7 Steps for Returning to Your Office After COVID-19

After months of getting accustomed to remote working, many companies are now beginning to consider how they will return to the office, while still keeping their workforce safe and healthy. We outlined 7 basic steps to take that can help you develop a plan for a post-COVID-19 workplace.

1. Create a Team

Getting started on a plan of attack? To understand the needs of your employees, you should enlist the help of those who know them best! Start a team that includes leadership, as well as employees from your human resources, technology, legal, and operations departments. Include employees from other departments as well. They can offer fresh insight into the general concerns and needs of employees planning to return to the office. This team will be instrumental in developing the guidelines and policies you put in place for your office’s return—but more on that in step 3!

2. Ensure a Safe and Clean Office to Return To

As we all know, hygiene is a top priority as we consider how to return to the office. Make sure there are no concerns about your office’s initial cleanliness. Bring in a professional team of cleaners who know the best way to rid your office of the germs left there and armed with the right tools to do so. If you have cleaners regularly come to your workplace, it might be prudent to increase the cadence of their cleaning, as well as which areas they’re focusing on. For example, regularly disinfect individual employees’ desks, as well as common areas employees congregate in for lunch, breaks, or meetings. To learn more about properly cleaning and disinfecting your workplace, check out these recommendations by the CDC.

3. Develop and Enforce Strict Hygiene Standards

So, your office is sparkling clean, and you’ve got a team brainstorming methods for helping employees return to the office. It’’s time to start thinking about what rules you want to create and enforce. This may vary from workplace to workplace. However, guidelines like washing hands properly, using hand sanitizer, taking employees’ temperatures daily and logging them, creating a flow for moving throughout the office, and adding distance between employees’ workstations are great places to start. Communicate with managers that they should practice these guidelines well, to act as an example for others. Be sure to communicate the rules your team creates often and in multiple places. A slack channel, intranet forum, or the like dedicated to returning to the office, signage on the walls of common areas and employee restrooms, and a company-wide email that compiles all of the new practices are the perfect way to kick off communications.

4. Update Your Handbook and Other Documented Policies

After your team finalizes and implements the rules adhering to your office’s new hygiene standards, be sure you document it properly by updating your handbook, as well as any other documentation where important policies are kept. This way, both HR and employees have a point of reference for the new guidelines. This makes it easier to uphold and follow them. When updating these, consider a response plan for employees who suspect they have or have come into contact with someone who has had COVID-19, as well as the possibility of changing your sick leave and your remote working policy, either temporarily or permanently, to account for those employees. Once you update, communicate it with employees and encourage them to read through the new policies carefully!

5. Seek Out Ways to Keep Up Employee Morale and Company Culture

Amidst all of your planning and preparations for returning to your office, it’s important you keep in mind employee morale and your company’s culture, two things that are vital to a satisfied workforce. You may not be able to carry on with your normal team outings or weekly happy hours. However, there are still ways to incorporate employee morale and culture into your return! For example, offer a service (or a discount for one!) that provides employees who struggled during quarantine mental health support. Encourage employees to stay social with their coworkers, albeit from a small distance. Continue to host virtual hangouts or happy hours if you were doing so during quarantine. Additionally, offering recognition for employees’ hard work is a known way to improve morale, and monetary recognition can be especially helpful for those employees who were financially impacted by the pandemic.

6. Continue Monitoring and Approving

You know what they say: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” This holds true for your plans to return to the office as well! Understand that you’ll never be fully finished in refining the guidelines you put into place for your employees as they transition once again, this time from remote working to being back in their workplace. Create a forum or another type of space for employees to offer feedback. They can report on how they feel the return has gone so far and ideas for improvement and enhancement. Your employees are the ones most impacted by the rules you and your team have created, so it’s crucial that you listen to their responses and work to incorporate them into your new workplace practices.

7. Be Flexible!

This last step is less of a step and more of an attitude that you should always display throughout the course of the return to your workplace. Flexibility will be key in these next few months as you work with employees who may not feel comfortable returning to work this early, who may have conditions that prevent them from doing so, or ones who are excited to return but have responsibilities like childcare or older family members to address. Offer options like flexible hours or help with childcare, transportation, and other hindrances that keep employees from returning to work.

Returning to the workplace will be no easy task! However, by following these simple steps, you’ll ensure you’ve created a safe and healthy workplace to return to for employees.

Starting the Conversation

World Mental Health Day was yesterday, which makes this the perfect time to start the conversation in your workplace about mental health.

world-mental-health-day

What is Mental Health?

Before we can begin the conversation about mental health, let’s dive into understanding mental health and the stigma surrounding it. At a general level, mental health can be defined as “our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.” It directly relates to how we think, feel, and behave. Most common of the mental health conditions are anxiety, mood, and schizophrenia disorders, according to Medical News Today. Mental health problems, which can be diagnosed at any point in our lives, have the ability to affect every aspect of your life, but especially in the workplace. According to the World Health Organization, we spend one-third of our adult life at work, which can be a source of happiness and satisfaction, but also stress and anxiety at times. In fact, a quarter of Americans say work can be the root of their mental health issues.

So, Why the Stigma?

Despite 25% of Americans suffering from a mental illness due to work, eight of 10 report that “shame and stigma prevent them from seeking treatment,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Largely derived from the fact that there is a widespread lack of education regarding mental health and mental illnesses, it is often assumed that someone affected by a mental illness is merely being “irresponsible, lazy, or dangerous.” People fear disclosing any details about their illnesses because these qualities could become associated with them. In turn, this could open the door for colleagues and management to view them as incompetent employees.

One of the most important ways we can break down the negative stigma surrounding mental health is to talk about it. At times, it might feel awkward or inappropriate, but there are some great ways to beat the stigma and make a difference for mental health, without becoming too intrusive. Try these helpful tips when discussing mental health with coworkers, employees and yourself.

Talking to … Yourself

Perhaps the most important person in this conversation is yourself. You can only begin to feel secure talking about this subject once you have analyzed your own personal mental health. If you, like 20% of adults today, suffer from a mental health condition, reach out to the resources you feel will help the most. Sometimes it’s a coworker or boss, sometimes it’s a family member or friend, and sometimes it’s someone completely out of your personal circle, such as a mental health counselor.

Don’t feel guilty or ashamed of how you’re feeling, but do try to seek out assistance. Whatever you choose is perfectly acceptable as long as it aids you in finding the help you need. Our mental health goes beyond mental illness, and everyone can take steps to preserve their mental health. Sleep, health, and exercise are all vital elements to a healthy mind and body. Pay attention to what your body and mind are telling you before you reach out to others.

Talking to … Employees

According to the Fortune.com, approximately 43.8 million adults in America experience mental illnesses in a year. However, only 41% of those adults have received the help they needed! Often the aforementioned negative stigma pervades many workplaces. Leaders in the workplace can break down these walls by helping employees feel comfortable approaching them with this information, especially if they believe it is negatively impacting their work. That being said, the best thing you can do for your employees is to educate yourself. Learn about the resources available, how to appropriately discuss them, and extra steps you can take to ensure the best mental health for your employees. Reinforce with each employee that it is a judgment-free zone if and when they choose to discuss their mental health.

Talking to … Coworkers

Maybe you don’t have the status in your workspace to completely implement new mental health resource programs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an effect throughout the office. Encourage fellow coworkers to participate in any educational programs available to them. If these don’t exist, there are still options! Suggest activities both in and outside of the office that can help foster a strong relationship among co-workers. This camaraderie will ensure they have support if they ever need to speak to someone. In fact, studies show that having friends at work can improve employee happiness and morale.

In addition, take the time to recognize your colleagues when they’ve done some great work. Some companies offer a designated program for this (like PerkSpot’s Rewards & Recognition), but if yours doesn’t, something as simple as a handwritten note or e-card sending your appreciation could help in boosting someone’s self-esteem and mood!

Beginning the discussion about mental health can be difficult, but it’s absolutely vital to your employees’ overall health and wellness. Not only that, but it can also impact your company’s productivity and employee engagement. Creating an environment that makes your employees feel comfortable and welcome is of the utmost importance. While you can use World Mental Health Day to start the conversation, remember it’s something you should continue to talk about all year long.

Summer Wellness Tips for Every Office

It’s finally summer here in Chicago and we are so excited to see employees biking into work, enjoying lunches on the roof, and signing up for 5ks together.

Summer can be a great time to revamp your Health and Wellness initiatives at your workplace and we’ve got a few ideas to get you started.

Promote Healthy Eating

One of the great things about this season is that you don’t mind getting outside the office to grab something fresh and healthy. A small, but effective and practical way to help your employees stay healthy is to provide a list of healthy meal options close to your office. You can even create your own map on google maps and share it with the office.

Provide Meaningful Discounts

Gym memberships and healthy food options are often expensive. Lighten the load for your employees by offering these great initiatives at a discount. Enter PerkSpot. We’ve already done the negotiating so all you have to do is contact us to get started!

Coordinate Running (or Walking) Clubs

We have several people in our office who love hitting the pavement, especially in the summer. While others may need some extra incentive, walking or running clubs can be a great way to get everyone moving. Pick a day after work and promote the club around your office. You can even finish your run with a fun get-together after.

Hold a Healthy Potluck

Potlucks are a fun way to get everyone to mingle around the office and show off those cooking skills! Hold a potluck where everyone makes their favorite healthy recipe and brings it in to share. Employees will break out of the routine and maybe learn some new recipes while they’re at it.

What are your tips for keeping your office healthy? Share them with us in the comments!

Take a Stand (What It’s Really Like to Use a Standing Desk)

As Human Resources seeks to make the workplace a healthier and happier place, a new phenomenon has popped onto the scene in the past few years: The Standing Desk. What once started as a cardboard box, has now become a specialized piece of equipment that many offices are beginning to invest in. That’s why we wanted to know what it’s like to use a standing desk.

We all know it’s not good to sit still all day. In fact, standing for three hours a day is the equivalent of running 10 marathons a year and can burn 50 more calories an hour than sitting.

That’s why, I decided to give the standing desk a spin to see how beneficial it really is. Here’s my breakdown of using a standing desk every day for an hour during a work week.

Day One:

Using a standing desk is awkward at first. Do I bring a notebook with me? Will I be able to take notes? What work should I select for this hour? For starters, I felt very fidgety. I was very aware that I was standing on my feet and had a hard time getting started. Finally, after a few minutes I was in the zone and able to focus on my task at hand. I was amazed at how quickly the hour flew by! As soon as I sat back down in my chair, I started yawning again… I didn’t even realize I was tired before as being on my feet helped me stay alert.

Lesson Learned: Set it up correctly. I found that less is more when it came to setting up the standing desk. We have a screen attached to the desk, but the first day I chose to simply type on my laptop using the existing screen. Big mistake. Looking down at the screen was actually worse for me so the other four days I decided to hook up to the monitor and found that I was much more productive and felt better, too!

Day Two:

I decided to approach the desk with the bare essentials. With my laptop and a notebook in hand, I  started to work on a blog post. Immediately, I was super focused and stayed longer than my allotted time. My only regret was that I was wearing pretty uncomfortable shoes. After I finished my article, I physically took a step back from the screen to read over my writing. I really enjoyed being able to actually physically move my body to reflect on my work.

Lesson Learned: Use a mat and wear comfortable shoes. If you can, try to be as comfortable as possible while standing. Maybe don’t choose to work standing if you’re dressed up in heels or dress shoes for a meeting. This can cause more harm than good.

Day Three:

I decided to use this time to brainstorm. I had a few projects I needed to break ground on and something about being able to walk back and forth helped me feel more mobile and focused on the task at hand. Plus, I was able to take periodic breaks from my screen, which are always nice. I wore more comfortable shoes this time and stayed for a little over an hour.

Lesson Learned: Don’t be a statue. Using a standing desk can be awkward, but don’t be afraid to embrace the freedom you have with so much mobility. During my brainstorming, I chose to pace or twist my body back and forth to help me stay alert and focus my mind.

Day Four:

My time got cut short this day to go into a meeting. I was also working on a more heads-down task and noticed it was harder for me to accomplish this work while standing. The location of our standing desk makes it more prone for distraction, which is a negative. Brainstorming and writing seem to be better tasks suited for standing.

Lesson Learned: Start slow. Don’t stay longer than necessary. Maybe chose a task and stay standing until you complete it. That’s how I chose to start and the time flew by, but had I been switching back and forth from job to job, it might have been more distracting than productive.

Day Five:

It’s funny how in a few short days I no longer feel awkward approaching the desk. I know exactly what to bring, which shoes to wear, and what tasks to accomplish. Plus, I’ve hit my stand goal every single day this week – always a bonus.

Lesson Learned: Figure out which tasks work for you. This was probably the biggest lesson I learned in this week. Not all tasks are suitable for standing. Experiment with different goals to figure out which ones work best for you. You’ll be amazed the effects it can have on your productivity!

Working at a standing desk is a unique situation and a small amount of preparation before you switch up your workflow will help you make the most of it.