A Healthy & Active Work Environment Delivers Creativity & Productivity
Our focus on wellness in the work environment from the beginning has been a big part of our success, both in work output and growing our team. It is very common within agencies that people are expected to work late nights non-stop, putting in hours and hours behind a desk, then periodically pausing to go out drinking and then back to the grind. This can lead to burnout very quickly and even worse, the creativity suffers. We set out to challenge this status quo and create a dynamic healthy working environment that stimulates creativity and rewards working smart, not just working hard. Here’s what’s worked for us:
Get Up And Move
Too much sitting slows us down. It’s easy to sit behind a desk and communicate through Instant Message and email but we encourage communications through getting up and walking to the desk of the person you’re interacting with. It leads to better collaboration, more communication, and quick solutions - and keeps you up and moving throughout the day. At any point in the day, there are typically clusters of people behind desks, white boards, and in conference rooms working through solutions.
As our conference room schedules began to fill up, I noticed that some of our discussions didn’t require us being behind a computer or a whiteboard. At that point I instituted walking meetings. If you don’t need to be in a conference room, get out - walk, get some fresh air and have the discussion. The walking stimulates thinking and when you get back, you feel a little refreshed and more productive throughout the rest of the day.
We replace some of the happy hours with active lunches. With our office being so close to the beach, that often means a beach lunch where many team members surf, swim, or go for a run. Then we enjoy some healthy food and conversation, and then return back to the office. It’s a nice, healthy alternative to happy hour. We still do happy hours for project launches and other celebrations, but we balance this out with the activity lunches.
Provide Health Food Options
Whether it’s snacks in the office or ordering in food for a meeting, we always provide healthy food options. Skip the candy, pizza, and burgers. We go for trail mix and fresh fruit for snacks. Sandwiches and salads for lunch. No sodas in the fridge - waters and gourmet coffee.
Have you ever had that moment where you were walking somewhere or working out and a great idea came to you? Sometimes you need to step away from what you’re working on and let your subconscious work to find the best solutions, and we encourage that. Often if someone is working on a creative solution and it’s nearing the end of the day, instead of having them work all night to go through more and more options, we’ll encourage that they go take a break, get some exercise and come back tomorrow morning fresh. Ten times out of ten, they come back with a better solution the next morning after being refreshed.
Races for Charity
Today there are many great races, including 5K/10Ks, marathons, and triathlons. Each year we do a race for charity. It’s a great team-building exercise, both in training for the race and on race day. It’s healthy, it’s for a great cause, and everyone that participates leaves excited.
Talk About Healthy Food Choices and Activities
It’s very simple but it goes a long way. You can start a conversation with ‘Did you finish that project yesterday?’ or ‘How was your run last night?’. You can talk about ‘How many helpings did you have at Thanksgiving' or ‘The Turkey Trot’ that morning. The more you talk about healthy things, the more that gets integrated into your company culture over time.
Stress is the enemy of health. If someone looks stressed, I encourage them to take a break. In the fight against stress, organization is key. Keep things clear and organized. Try to stay out in front of deadlines. Get tasks clearly organized and defined upfront in the brief. These things will significantly reduce stress and increase happiness and productivity.
Have Some Fun
Taking the time to enjoy what you’re working on, laughing about a mistake, and bonding over a conversation. Being positive and happy is healthy too!
Incorporating a healthy active culture has significantly helped our productivity, creativity, and the overall health of our team. I would encourage finding the things that work best for your work environment and see the results.