Google’s campus (“Googleplex”) in Mountainview, CA is kind of like Willy Wonka’s candy factory—full of delightful surprises and happy little workers. Oh and yeah, there is a lot of candy.
However, after discovering that employees had a serious M&M addiction, the company’s free candy stash was hidden in opaque jars, while healthy snacks were provided in clear, easy-to-locate containers. This experiment quickly led to a significant drop in candy consumption, but it’s only a small part of Google’s corporate wellness program.
The tech giant did what it does best and crunched some numbers to discover that happy, healthy employees really do make for more productive employees—good news for its bottom line. And the same goes for anyone who’s self-employed. In fact, it’s probably even more important to stick to a wellness program if you’re going solo. You’re in charge of your own work benefits—and you’ll have to be the one tell yourself to stretch your legs or swap the M&Ms for a granola bar. It’s up to you to stay mentally and physically fit so you can continue to rake in the bucks for your business.
Here are some savvy productivity hacks that you can use to maintain an energized and efficient workday.
1. Try a standing or treadmill desk
Seen at Facebook, Twitter, Google
You may have seen offices using yoga balls instead of desk chairs, or maybe you have one at your home office. But have you ever tried standing up or even breaking into a power walk while you’re on the job? Both of these methods keep you alert, boost creativity and help you cut down on the health risks that come from the “sitting disease”. A standing desk can be fashioned out of an empty short bookshelf, room divider, or kitchen island. But you may want to invest in a proper treadmill desk (ranges from $1,000 to $4,000).
2. Fall asleep on the job
Seen at Zappos, Yext, AOL
Oh yes, nap rooms and “energy pods” are becoming increasingly common, because everyone knows that a well-rested employee is a productive employee. If the caffeine high is over, why not take a 20 minute siesta? Or if you just feel exhausted from a long week, lay down and rest (with a timer!), and you’ll get up feeling clear headed, refreshed and ready to get back to work. Many productivity experts swear by their afternoon naps, like Deb Lee at Unclutterer.
3. Treat yourself to a massage “just cause”
Seen at Zynga, Shutterstock
You might not be able to simply trot down the hall and get your nails done or enjoy a relaxing massage, but you still deserve a reward. Perk up your workday by heading to your local salon and getting your nails dressed up in happy, inspiring colors. Or book a massage or spa treatment in the middle of the week to help break up the monotony and to give yourself something to look forward to.
4. Keep recess alive!
Seen at Accenture, Microsoft, Nike
A smart corporate wellness program almost always includes an array of sports and recreational activities that can be enjoyed in a team or solo. Ping pong, video games, marathon training or basketball are all popular on big office campuses, but what’s your favorite sport or activity? If you’re at a co-working space, you can compete with other freelancers who need a break. If you work from home, join a community team or MeetUp group that regularly plays or trains together. Or simply go for a brisk walk (don’t forget your dog!) or jog in the middle of the workday. Keep recess alive!
5. Strike a yoga pose
Seen at Twitter, Airbnb
Whether you go to yoga class a few times a week or do your downward dogs at home, fitting in ample time to stretch your body with yoga exercises is an excellent way to de-stress and keep your body toned after hours of screen time in your swivel chair.
6. Create a junk food-free zone
Seen at General Mills, Wegman’s, Angie’s List
Besides Google, many companies make a big deal out of stocking junk-free vending machines and offering organic, sustainable cafeteria meals and salad bars. Some even teach employees how to start and maintain a vegetable patch onsite. Stop buying candy bars and frozen foods that will only leave you feeling exhausted. Instead, stock your kitchen with energizing snacks like granola bars, trail mix and fresh fruits. For lunch, try a fresh salad—maybe with greens and veggies from your very own garden.
7. Go Zen yourself
Seen at Eventbrite
When the screen is making you cross eyed, when the flurry of phone calls and emails has got you down, it’s time for a zen retreat. Go outside and find a grassy nook or a lake view. Or pick a soothing and dimly lit corner of your house, light some incense or candles. Just close your eyes and do nothing for at least 5 minutes. Leo Baobata swears by meditation for productivity. Or for something a bit more active, take 20 minutes to work on a painting, do some knitting, read a chapter of a book, or dig around in your flower bed or garden.
Experiment with incorporating these different incentives into your work day, and see what helps you to be your most productive on the job.
Check out these other productivity boosting methods for a more productive tomorrow!
This article was written by staff writer Suchi Rudra. Her mission is to help fight your evil debt blob and get your personal finances in tip top shape. Photos: Wikimedia, Flickr, HealthyVending, OutsideOnline, NYTimes
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