Creating Employer and Employee Harmony
Flexible working hours
Demonstrate from the top down what the culture is. It would be impossible to impose “no emails after 6pm” on Managing Directors and Senior Execs, but the expectation for juniors to be at the end of their smart phone 24/7 would be unfair and wrong.
Encourage positive work/life balance. Hot-desking and Smartphone technology has moved on so much that we are no longer confined to the office alone in order to do our work. That is both good and bad. Don’t abuse it. Work at work, but know when to rest. Don’t play catch up on Sunday evenings and don’t email your juniors expecting instant responses. They have the right to a personal life too!
We need this country to update the Working Time Regulations (set in the 1990’s). The advances in technology have meant it is very easy to stay “switched on” for work 24/7. Much has been written about certain countries’ policies, i.e. Frances take on emails after 6pm etc. Certain German companies adopt an email policy based on certain units not receiving emails during the first and last 30 minutes of each working day. We believe balance is key, the nature and times of the stock markets etc. make it impossible to impose “no email after office” rules. Strategic planning can certainly reduce the load though.
Fit people are more productive. I will go on to talk about the importance of regular breaks later on in this article, in the longer breaks we suggest some form of exercise (be it for the mind or body! A good worker needs fitness across both). Perhaps following the NHS’s plans to provide free Zumba and Yoga, plus healthy eating options for all employees is a way to go!
Manage in-office workload/take breaks
Take strategic regular breaks. This is 3 fold, it means
1) Always avoid working more than 90 minutes without a break (ideally much less – see below)
2) Always have at least one full day off per week (that means remove yourself as much as possible from work!)
3) Take your holiday entitlement, get away!
How long should I sit at the desk for? Wellness London would love you to adopt the 25:5 Pomodoro rule, with the 5 minutes spent away from the desk, moving!
The core principle of Pomodoro is simple: Take 25 minutes and spend that block of time on one thing. No task-switching, no interruptions, focusing on the one task you set out to do.
25 minutes may not be long enough to get that one task done, so you may adopt the habits of elite sports players and musicians – they follow a routine of 90 minutes of highly focused work, then a 15-minute break.
Our bodies operate by a 90-minute rhythm during the day. When we are awake, the movement is from higher to lower levels of alertness.
When we need a rest, our bodies send us clear signals such as fidgetiness, hunger, drowsiness and loss of focus. But mostly, we override them.
Instead, we find artificial ways to pump up our energy: caffeine, foods high in sugar and simple carbohydrates, and, perhaps most interestingly, our body’s own stress hormones: adrenalin, noradrenalin and cortisol.
The other alternative:
It has been scientifically proven that a work/rest ratio of 52:17 minutes is most effective.
A large, but not supersized Pomodoro!
Mix & match:
You could also look at Pomodoro as being suitable for “beginners”.
There is also nothing stopping you from making combinations: perhaps you can do a 90-minute session in the early morning while going for 25 minute Pomodoros during the day and fit in a 52-minute Desk Time-sprint at the end of the afternoon!
Right from the very top executives, the culture outside of the office needs to evoke good sleeping patterns.
No Phones next to the bed, no digital experience 60 minutes prior to sleep. No 6am emails.
If your job role involves early starts and transnational communication, then consider earlier nights to bed or strategic napping.
Productivity will blossom.
Please no more horror stories, aka “The Magic Roundabout” scenario of working round the clock. In this day and age of technology, surely we can all stay out of the office long enough for a quality sleep.
• Quality of desk/chair/DSE (and do you get it regularly assessed?)
• Natural Light and lighting brightness
• Air – Temperature and ambience/quality
• Colleagues/Personal Hygiene (don’t coming in smelling of smoke/alcohol)
• Access to break-out zones
• Chill-out rooms
Many a company have problems that can easily be resolved. Simple solutions would be to move people who get cold away from the air con units, or for those who suffer headaches, try placing them next to a window they can open.
Improving access to natural light and installation of new air conditioning systems may not be easy to amend, but there are things that can be done.
Ensure regular Display Screen Equipment (DSE) assessments, provide heaters of fans for those that need them, place people strategically though the office, enforce personal hygiene policies, and try and guarantee a chill-out room at all times (sometimes we all just need a moment alone).
Think Long Term
‘Long Term’ – We see it on most corporations mission and vision. They proudly boast of the graduate schemes and emphasis on developing talent etc.
In order to keep employees for the long haul, you must look after them. Bringing in an intern then asking them to work beyond the maximum 48hr working week would be unreasonable. There are many cases out there of interns and graduates wanting to prove themselves by working super-long weeks. Is that what you want?
What is more valuable to a company?
a) A burnt out, demotivated, overworked graduate, or
b) An enthused junior who balances a full time job, with an MBA, whilst still managing to sleep and keep fit?
Recognise people are people, not robots.
Offer a wellness initiative
Place equal emphasis on all things ‘Physical and Mental Health’.
Let us do that for you!
At Wellness London we create a workplace that is supportive of and conducive to a life of good health. We understand that the power and energy of a healthy body and mind is contagious.
Given the predicament ill-health presents to businesses and their profits, we are passionate about helping you retain talent while giving your employees the edge, enabling you to exceed corporate responsibility, increase productivity and allow employees to lead healthier more fulfilling lives.