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Hygge at the Office

If you’re into wellness you may have heard about a new trend called Hygge. According to the Oxford Dictionaries, Hygge (pronounced hue-guh not hoo-gah) is “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture)”. What is a seemingly simple word has become a lifestyle for many as they seek to incorporate this sense of balance in their everyday life.

As we start 2018, it’s fitting to start off on a note of positivity and balance. What better way to do that than by adding Hygge into our mantra for the new year.
Here are a few ways we’re cultivating Hygge at work:
Make your space your own.
Whether you’re always on the go or sit stationary in a cubicle, make your workspace your own by adding pictures of loved ones to your dashboard or adding plants to your desk. PerkSpotter Frank added a cactus to his desk, which is proven to reduce stress, increase productivity, improve air quality and more.

hygge at the office perkspot

Make your lunch break count.

It can be easy to get caught up in your endless list of to-dos, but don’t forget that moments of space and rest can provide meaningful restoration for what’s ahead. Take time to break. Savor your food and enjoy the moments of stillness. Our fellow PerkSpotter, Karla (@eatingwithkarly) takes pride in every meal she creates and even posts her food prep on instagram to share. We love seeing the detail she takes in making her lunch every day. Just one of many ways Karla inspires us here at PerkSpot.

A post shared by Karly (@eatingwithkarly) on

Make meditation part of your day.

You’ve heard it before and we’ll say it again: practice mindfulness. Take two minutes to stop and breathe. Maybe you start a routine every hour on the hour. Maybe it’s just once in the morning and once in the afternoon. But by taking time to stop and clear your head, you’re on your way to a more positive frame of mind. Nick and Dan, pictured below, are taking time this morning to stop and breathe. They said they already felt more Zen.
hygge at the office perkspot

Make moves.

Try sitting in different areas of your office or walking around the neighborhood. Moving around, especially in the colder months, is vital to keeping your blood flowing and your mind working. Take a moment to try out different spaces whenever you can. PerkSpotter Zach B. loves stealing time in the lounge to focus on the latest tech project up his sleeve.

hygge at the office perkspot

These are a few simple ways we’re incorporating Hygge at PerkSpot. How will you find balance in 2018?

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The Sweet Sound of Productivity

music & productivity

Music & Productivity are a match made in heaven. One of the best things about PerkSpot is that we have music bouncing off the walls all day long.

However, we know that all music is not created equally. There are the rock jams that get us pumped up, the pop songs that the whole team can sing along, and the mellow acoustics that relax us at the end of the day. Here are a few tips for curating the perfect sounds for your day.

When X + Y = Zzzzzz

Crunching numbers is a part of almost every person’s job description at some point. To keep yourself awake, the best tunes for your intimate time with Excel are pop songs. So whether you’re into old-school Abba or have Bieber fever, pump up the pop jams to get your fingers and your mind flowing.

When you spill your coffee, forget your notebook, and get stuck in traffic…

Mornings can sometimes be the enemy. A personal favorite and a sure-fire bad-mood buster is Reggae. Nothing will help you forget the stresses of the day like being transported to a tropical island.

When Photoshop is your friend…

For the creative minds, we’ve got just the trick. Ambient or electronic music is what the doctor ordered to make you your best creative self.

When you’re tired of hearing the same playlist…

Generally speaking, a good rule-of-thumb is to choose songs with minimal lyrics. Here at PerkSpot, we’ll play jazz, blues, or even music in a different language because the lyrics tend to be less-distracting than your typical mainstream artists.

Music isn’t the only perk that helps improve productivity. Help your employees be more productive with exclusive discounts through PerkSpot!

Make Every Day Earth Day

April 22 is Earth Day, but here at PerkSpot, we believe every day we have the opportunity to make choices that impact the environment in a positive way.

Here are a few ways to make every day Earth Day:

1. Plant a tree!

earth day perkspot
Some things never go out of style. One of those things is the age-old tradition of planting a tree on Earth Day. It’s a small effort that goes a long way.

 2. Ease up on the printing.

office earth day
One of the great things about technology is that is lessens our dependence on paper. Use an app for your daily to-dos, keep your files organized in desktop folders instead of printing documents, create a powerpoint instead of providing handouts, or if you absolutely have to print… use both sides and make the font smaller while still being legible.

3. Use sustainable materials.

earth day perkspot
Make a new goal of purchasing recycled, refurbished or used products whenever available. Speak with your suppliers and see where you can decrease your carbon footprint.

4. Explore commuter benefits and other alternatives.

earth day perkspot
One of our Perks here at PerkSpot are commuter benefits. Because we can purchase our passes at a pre-tax amount, employees here are  encouraged to take public transit to work. With so many ride-sharing options and alternatives to driving out there, it’s easy to provide employees with effective and personal ways they can be involved in the company’s environmental efforts.

5. Power off. 

earth day perkspot
Many of us forget to unplug but by leaving our chargers and laptops plugged in, we’re actually wasting energy. Make sure you unplug anything that doesn’t need to be plugged in over the weekend or in the evening. Turn off the lights when you leave. You know, all those things our moms and dads told us to do when we were kids.

How are you making a difference this Earth Day? Leave us a note in the comments!

Workplace Peer Pressure: Engaging Employees

In his book, “Building a Magnetic Culture”, Kevin Sheridan, Chief Engagement Officer at Human Capital Management, discusses the different levels of engagement we find in the workplace and their effect on each other. Peer pressure is alive and well in our 21st century offices. Which means the engagement levels our employees experience can spread like a virus.

peer pressure

We’ll dive into the ways we can spread positive engagement.
First let’s discuss, as Sheridan details, the different types of employees we encounter:

Employee Types

Actively Disengaged Employees 

are the “Negative Nancy”s of the workplace. They can be found constantly complaining, focusing on problems and openly expressing their discontent and negative outlook on their position.

Ambivalent Employees

are arguably the most dangerous type of employee because they’re often the hardest to spot. They are fulfilling their basic job responsibilities, but not much more. In fact, they rarely offer to lead projects or volunteer for extra opportunities. These nine-to-fivers just want their paycheck, with bags packed and feet out the door by five o’clock sharp.

Actively Engaged Employees 

are the ideal type of employee. As engaged employees, they consistently go above and beyond their job description. They promote the mission and vision of the company’s brand, contribute new ideas, and are optimistic about their future in the company.

Making a Change

Because the majority of employees fall within the Ambivalent category, it’s crucial that they move towards becoming Actively Engaged versus Actively Disengaged.

In a previous article we discussed the importance of workplace friendships on both personal health and organizational success. This is evidence that peer pressure can be essential in driving the increase of employee engagement. One tactic managers can implement is putting these Ambivalent Employees in close proximity to Actively Engaged Employees through group projects and assignments. Because these Engaged employees thrive in environments where they can step up to the plate and lead others, it’s a great way not only to involve the Ambivalent, but also encourage and affirm those employees who are already engaging in positive ways.

Most of the time, however, we don’t associate peer pressure as being a positive force. Just like a high school bully, Actively Disengaged Employees can negatively affect every person in their surroundings. Their negativity can be a virus to the workplace. It’s important not to shy away from addressing this negativity as quickly as possible to not infect others. Because these employees are primarily motivated by their paycheck, it is not likely they will leave on their own initiative. For that reason, it’s crucial that managers speak with any actively disengaged employees.

Address the Whys

When speaking with these employees, it’s also important to assess why they may be feeling apathetic in their work. Many times there could be an opportunity for a constructive conversation. In fact, this conversation could even transform them into some of the mostly highly engaged employees in the organization. However, it is likely that the position or the company may not be a great fit for this particular person and, in that case, discuss transitioning them out of the company.

Taking a page out of Sheridan’s book, “Creating a workplace environment where Engagement thrives and Disengagement dies should always be a management priority.”

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Workspace Psychology 101: Boost Your Mood, Motivation, and Productivity

Even with the rapid growth of the freelancer economy and the increasing appeal of shared coworking spaces, the majority of us still work out of a single, personal workstation. It’s no secret that our surroundings — both indoor and outdoor — continually impact our psychological well-being and cognitive function. Everything from color design to your distance from the nearest window has a measurable effect on your mood and productivity.

Workspace Psychology Colorful Rocks

Not everyone can move to a corner office or ask their boss for a custom built ergonomic workstation. So, we rounded up a few scientifically proven ways you can optimize your workspace. That way, you can keep your spirits high and your output in peak form.

Take charge of your decor.

The extent to which different people can personalize their workspace certainly varies. For some, it may be limited to the addition of a few framed photos. While others may have control over their surrounding paint color, adjustable lighting, etc. Regardless, research shows that exercising your maximum degree of influence over your workspace design is beneficial for your motivation and productivity.

Multiple studies led by Craig Knight at the University of Exeter measured workers’ mood and efficiency in varying levels of personalized workspaces in several industries. Self-reported surveys found that the more control people were given over their surroundings, the more engaged they were with their job and the more they identified with their employer. Two additional studies compared workers’ abilities to complete tasks in workspaces categorized as lean (bare and functional), enriched (decorated with plants and photos), and empowered (individuals allowed to design their area). People working in enriched spaces were 17% more productive than those in lean spaces, while their empowered counterparts were a whopping 32% more productive.

Workspace Psychology Desk Plant

There’s no such thing as too much nature.

Indoor plants are perhaps the single best investment you can make in your workspace. Research overwhelmingly shows that office plants help workers recover from demanding activities, decrease stress, and even reduce office air pollution.

Here is a guide to desk plants that thrive in indoor office environments.

Here is a graphic of the best air-cleaning plants, according to NASA.

Curves are more relaxing than right angles.

There is a long history of scientific literature demonstrating the relationship between positive emotional responses and rounded shapes in design and architecture. More recent studies find this relationship extends to furniture and objects in our immediate surroundings.

A recent study led by Sibel Dazkir at Oregon State University looked at participants’ responses to four interior settings with varying degrees of rounded and hard-edged furniture. The two settings with a higher concentration of curves were significantly more inviting to participants and elicited higher amounts of pleasant-unarousing emotions (feeling relaxed, peaceful, and calm).

If possible, opt for a desk and chair that emphasize curves to foster tranquility in your workspace. If not, surround yourself with smaller objects that highlight fluid forms. For ideas, try adding a desk lamp, coffee mug, or potted plant.

Workspace Psychology Colored Pencils

Clutter promotes creativity.

Some appreciate the value of a tidy, organized desk. But others feel more at home amidst stacks of loose paper peppered with stray binder clips. Messy workspaces are strongly associated with enhanced creativity and more novel ideas.

This intriguing study led by Kathleen Vohs at the University of Minnesota confirmed the clutter-creativity connection. However, it also found  participants in tidier workspaces were more likely to choose healthy snack options. The study finds that people in more orderly workstations are more likely to do what was expected of them. These findings suggest that levels of workspace organization and disorder influence and might even optimize the efficiency of one’s job. For example, a business analyst will likely prefer a more robust organizational structure than the in-house graphic designer.

Color affects cognition.

All colors and light levels have different psychological effects, so choose your colors and desk lighting accordingly. In a 2009 study, Ravi Mehta and Rui Zhu used a series of six computer-based activities to evaluate how red and blue affect cognition. Red facilitates greater attention to detail. Blue encourages exploration and creativity. Green promotes idea generation. Discover what mode of cognition your job requires the most, or what mode of cognition you feel comes least naturally to you. Then, try to work the relevant cognition-boosting color into your workspace.