Employees lose one to two hours, and often more, of productivity each day in work environments unsupportive of daily health – but there are easy, cost effective steps that can be taken to remedy the problem.
Linda Trim, director at workplace design specialists Giant Leap, says: ”Air quality, lighting and temperature are the top factors for positive influence on wellness.
“Other priorities include personal control of the workspace and more privacy from noise and people distractions. Given the importance of a healthy work environment to productivity and retention – 7 out of 10 employees are likely to stay at a job that enhances wellness – all businesses should invest some time in making the most of their space.”
Here are five ways to promote a healthy workplace:
1. Personalise your workspace
You may not always be able to renovate and install new furniture, but you can probably always make decorative and design improvements. “Hanging pictures, keeping fresh flowers or live plants at desks make a big difference,” says Trim. She also suggested improved, more people-friendly office layouts and positioning people so they have the most appealing views possible.
2. Create privacy in open layouts
Fewer offices with doors in lieu of more shared layouts saves money, so they’re here to stay. But you can still maintain your privacy in an open workplace. Says Trim: “Taking advantage of privacy rooms and hanging a Do Not Disturb sign when you need to focus or using common spaces away from your desk make a big difference to a sense of control. If you do have private spaces you can use, know where these are and how to reserve them.”
3. Bring in support tools
It would be ideal if every office provided the air quality, lighting, temperature and other factors we want, but opinions notoriously vary on what’s optimal. If you need more air or light, consider a desk fan or desk lamp. The fan can help for temperature that’s too warm. Keep a jacket or scarf on hand if temperatures are too cold.
4. Build good health habits into your daily schedule
Leaving your open workspace for a privacy room for even a few minutes each day is one example of a habit you can build into your schedule. “In addition, take your lunch break,” Trim advises. It’s good for networking too. Walk the floor for exercise and for a broader perspective on your work. “Drink water throughout the day.”
5. Invest your bonus productivity hour and build a virtuous cycle
According to the Future Workplace Wellness Study conducted by View, a US company that creates smart buildings, 67% of employees are more productive in workplaces that promote a healthy environment, and gains could mean one hour or more of increased productivity each day.
“Once you incorporate improvements to your workspace and gain that time back, invest it in your career,” Trim advises.
“Write a list of career enhancing activities and tick it off. Examples could include catching up on industry news, attending a webinar to update your skills, spending time with colleagues outside your immediate area – or even a wellness option like walking outside.”
There are no guaranteed paths to success and wealth, but there are certain habits and lifestyle choices that most wealthy and successful people employ in their daily routine. Adopting them could help you on your way.
Warren Buffet has said that he spends 80% of his work time reading and learning. His enormous wealth obviously creates space for that when many of us would need to be getting on with our more standard jobs. However, the lesson remains. Those with a greater understanding of the world around them are exponentially more prepared to deal with the difficult decisions that life will throw at the.
2. Personal care
Specifically, exercise and personal hygiene. The benefits of even limited exercise once a day are well established. It makes you sharper and more positive in your approach – Richard Branson claims his productivity has doubled since he started an early-morning bicycle ride. Personal hygiene is critical to how you are regarded by your colleagues, and somebody who cannot take care of themselves is unlikely to be able to take care of a business. Diet is also critical – eating the wrong food at the wrong time of day can upset your ability to focus.
3. Rise early
Early risers have the benefit of a quiet couple of hours to clear their minds or to really focus on something while there is still peace, or to exercise. This quiet time for reflection is a common theme in surveys of wealthy people, and is said to reduce stress.
Another common theme among the successful is that sleep is considered a priority. Albert Einstein is said to have required ten hours of sleep a night, which might be somewhat extreme – but surveys reveal that successful people make sure they get seven or eight hours of sleep a night. So, perhaps eschew that extra episode on Netflix and get to bed instead.
5. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Getting wound up about stuff you have absolutely no control over, such as bad traffic and slow WIFI or technical issues does nothing but reduce your ability to think straight. Successful people understand that they ought to control what they can, and laugh off what they cannot. Of course, you have options to avoid traffic and install reliable WIFI and, more generally, you can keep timewasters and negative people out of your life, but when the unavoidable happens, just take it in your stride.
6. Live with moderation
This isn’t a call for miserable austerity, but a reflection that a key feature of the behaviour of many successful people is that they live reasonably moderate lives. It’s not that they don’t live very comfortably, however they do often eschew the wasteful expressions of enormous wealth. Many have a single, expensive passion – be it wine, whisky, cars, travel or art – but it is usually indulged quietly and in a context of more generalised restraint.
7. Treat your juniors with respect: make time for them
Getting younger and junior people “on your team” is often as simple as acknowledging their work and according them respect. The most junior people in your sphere of influence will one day move on to greater things, and your behaviour towards them when there was a gulf in power dynamics will never be forgotten. Use your power to uplift and encourage people, to ensure that they have the tools they require to do their work, and you’ll be repaid with interest over the years. It’s a simple, easy and valuable habit.
8. Trust your gut
Despite whatever confidence issues you might have, the chances are that you’re doing the job you’re doing because you’re good at it. Create enough quiet in your daily routine to hear your instincts. They’re often quieter than the many other people demanding your attention and that you take a certain course of action. However, more often than not, your gut is worth listening to.
A major study by Rubbermaid in Canada has revealed the most annoying breakroom habits of office workers.
Top of the list of annoying office behaviour is leaving a splattered microwave (37%), followed by dishes piled in the sink instead of being put in the dishwasher (28%), and co-workers heating up or eating foods with strong odours (21%).
More than 1000 Canadian office workers surveyed by Angus Reid Forum on behalf of Rubbermaid found that nearly two-thirds of respondents (62%) believe that men are the guilty parties and leave the most mess in the kitchen.
Junior employees and interns are also being blamed, with 65% and 56% of respondents respectively citing them as the mess-makers.
When asked whether they themselves have left a mess without tidying up after themselves, only one in 10 respondents (6%) admitted they had.
Of those surveyed, 68% stated they have never confronted a co-worker about leaving a messy kitchen, and only 15% have directly spoken to the person they believe committed a kitchen faux-pas. Other tactics used by workers to address a colleague include leaving a note posted in the kitchen (13%), sending an all-staff email and hoping the intended recipient gets the message (10%), leaving the suspected colleague an anonymous ‘post it’ note on their desk, and telling their boss or manager (both 2%).
Other survey findings include:
- 44% of Canadians who work in offices with shared kitchens bring their lunch to work every day;
- 29% of millennial respondents don’t bring a lunch to work so they don’t have to eat with colleagues, which they prefer not to do;
- A third of female respondents (33%) have complained or gossiped about a co-worker who they believe leaves messes in the office kitchen; and
- 57% of those who rarely or never bring their lunches to work cite that the office microwave has “more splatter stains than an episode of CSI”.
Source: Stationery News
According to studies by leading consumer manufacturing companies, the majority of people look and then turn to the left when they enter a store. This is a very good example of how, despite an increasingly sophisticated and tech-savvy society, people remain habitual creatures.
It also presents a conundrum of sorts to retailers and the way they design their shops – how do you stay ahead of your competitors without alienating customers and their ingrained habits?
Getting the tried and tested basics right will create a solid foundation and leave room for innovation; solidifying and enticing your shoppers.
The adage “first impressions last”, remains true when it comes to shopping. Also known as the decompression zone, your shop’s threshold area is the space where your customers transition from the outside into what you have to offer.
It is the area where quick and critical decisions are made like how well put-together or haphazard your shop is and what the overall design aesthetic is trying to communicate. Customers will in all likelihood miss products and other signage as they take in the overall shop experience.
To the left it is
As we’ve already established, shoppers will then start walking to the left. The first wall or space they enter will have to be very impactful. It will provide the perfect platform to display your most important products, whether it’s big ticket items or sales products that you have to move quickly.
The bottom line is to make use of people’s left handed autopilot setting to create an experience with a bang.
Pave the yellow brick road
The trick is to keep your shoppers going, exposing them to the entire shop and its products. A well thought-out path is an effective way to strategically control the traffic in your store while avoiding potential congestion.
Stores often have a circular path to the left to get customers to walk through to the back of the store and come to the front again. These paths are often a different colour or texture with the promise of great products along the route.
However, make sure that you don’t rush your customers. With all the effort and time put into merchandising products, the last thing you need is customer hurrying along merrily without even giving it a second glance.
Create natural breaks on your road through special signage, seasonal displays or even a live promotion for the day. Special display fixtures – featuring products near the end of or in between aisles – also encourage impulse buys particularly if they complement other products in close proximity.
If your store doesn’t have specific aisles you can also, on your shopping path, group products together that are a natural fit. Also, remember to keep high-demand or products or promotion at eye level.
Lastly, ensure that you are constantly rotating or “re-designing’’ these displays without taking away the familiarity of the store layout.
The end of the line
Till or checkout counter placement can leave you with quite a headache. A good rule of thumb is to place it at the end of your path or shopping experience. In big stores individual checkout counters per department are also very convenient.
If possible, design a big enough counter for shoppers to place their products and personal belongings. Also, take advantage of the wall behind the counter to create interesting and engaging displays as well important exchange and return policy notifications.
With all the above boxes ticket, it’s important that you continue to evolve your store as new shopper needs arise. Furthermore, ensure that you observe customers and what they are drawn to, avoid, how they move and continue to tweak your design.
By Robbie Johnson, retail manager at Drive Control Corporation (DCC)
We have all heard economists warn of “tough economic times”, in preparation for which consumers must “tighten their belts”.
But for the over-indebted, whose belts are already pulled as tight as can be, the rising cost of living is an extra strain that puts them on the precipice of financial ruin.
The challenge always is knowing the difference between what you want and what you need, and living within your means.
The following habits can be used as the basic structures of smarter money management:
- Know how much you make and how much you spend
- Keep track of your spending so that you are always aware of where your money is going. Drawing up a budget helps you identify areas where you are throwing money down the drain and areas in which you can cut down.
- Make savings and investments a priority when you draw up a budget. These should be way up there with your rent or bond payments, insurance and medical aid.
- Spend less than you earn and save the difference:
- This means that you should live below your means, and try to save (invest) as much as possible.
- Have an emergency fund and keep a close eye on it. Get life cover, draw up a will. Start thinking about retirement now. Do not leave anything to chance; be prepared because you do not know what might happen tomorrow.
- Take good care of any credit accounts you have. Always pay your balance in full, do not max out your credit cards, and never use debt to pay off other debt. Try to save for items instead of turning to credit. If you are struggling to manage your debt, stop taking on more credit.
- Write down your financial goals and review them regularly. Whether you want to travel, buy a car, or are saving for a deposit on a house, always record what you want to achieve. The goal may not necessarily be a financial one, but realising it may hinge on your financial planning. Either way, having goals you can review regularly will keep you focused and on track.
- Always take the long view. Do not fall prey to get-rich-quick schemes. Make it your business to understand how wealth is created. Whenever you have money to save or invest, think long term.
Make sure to refer to some useful tips and suggestions for on-the-lot financing of your cars before buying them from any dealership.
Sticking to healthy money habits is difficult but not impossible.
Make it your business to understand money. The more you understand it, the better you will be able to use it to your benefit. The business of money does not have to be complicated or scary. A little education will go a long way.
For the overindebted, saving and investing might take a back seat as it is a struggle to keep up with monthly commitments. The following tips may help you stay afloat:
- Face your debt: Avoid paying ridiculous amounts in interest by sticking to your monthly payments.
- Speak to your creditors: If you are unable to make the agreed payments then negotiate the amount you can pay before your account is in the red. You will also avoid having your account handed over to a debt collection firm.
- If your account has been handed over: Negotiate payment terms before you attract more administrative costs and interest than necessary. Avoid being hounded and charged for it too.
- Get professional help: The National Credit Regulator is available to assist you with debt counselling should you find yourself unable to cope with the amount of debt you have. This process will have a massive effect on your access to credit and should be the very last resort.