Do you want more creativity, energy, problem-solving, and clear-thinking at your workplace? Of course you do! Who doesn’t want a team that is happy, energetic, creative, and solves problems easily?
I can’t think of one organization that couldn’t benefit in this way. I think we may have found the magic bullet.
And the great news is this: it’s free, easy, and you don’t have to sell your soul to get it.
- Some new drug
- Some revolutionary new way of leading
- More coffee or energy drinks in the vending machine
- And it definitely is not that sugary donuts in the break room
But it is pretty much free and very easy to implement.
It’s (drum roll please). . . . . . . . exercise.
Be Wise, Exercise
I’m not talking about installing a new fitness center in your organization. I’m talking about taking a 15-minute walk during the traditional smoke break, possibly having some of those meetings while walking around the facility, and encouraging your employees to do the same. The impact could be nothing short of amazing!
Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. – Plato
In his book, Brain Rules, John Medinamakes a compelling case for change regarding productivity, creativity, and cognitive abilities.
Some of the key findings presented based on a multitude of scientific evidence include:
- There is a direct link between exercise and brain function.
- Our brains were designed to move. Movement increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain which allows it to function at maximum capacity.
- Exercise actually fertilizes the brain.
- Studies indicate that children who exercise for just 30-minutes three times a week experienced increased test scores. If you translate that logic to the workplace, can you see the potential?
Some Key Examples
Google is well-known for their facilities that encourage creativity. The Googleplex in Mountain View, California boasts four fitness centers, bicycles located throughout the campus that employees use to get from one building to the other for meetings, volleyball courts, ping-pong tables, pool tables, and a host of other activities that promote movement throughout the day.
Google has experienced tremendous growth and continues to carry 61% of the search engine market.
Could the environment in which these people work have something to do with the capability of the company?
Patagonia, an outdoor apparel manufacturer, encourages employees to take breaks to go running, biking, or surfing in the middle of the workday. Showers are provided and their flex schedules allow them to manage their time.
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. -John F. Kennedy
Take a Hike
On a personal note, I have very fond memories of a position I once held in which, like many of you, I ran from meeting to meeting all day long. I found it difficult to touch base with my employees so I implemented, quite by accident, walking meetings. This was a large campus and my meetings were often scattered.
I’d have the employee meet me and walk with me to the next meeting while we discussed whatever it was that needed discussing. I never felt more productive, creative, or as healthy as I did while holding that position.
Looking back I have to wonder if the increased activity contributed to the increased creativity and productivity of our entire team.
You may be wondering at this point how on earth you can make such a massive change in your organization. Maybe you own or work in a small business. You likely do not have the resources of Google.
Here is what you can do on a smaller scale.
- Hold more walking meetings.
- Consider having a yoga instructor come on site once a week.
- Consider putting a treadmill or two in a room. When you need to have a closed-door meeting, invite your participant to get on a treadmill and talk.
- Set the example for your employees so they feel comfortable getting more exercise.
- Encourage others to walk during lunch.
What experiences have you had regarding exercise and your own productivity and creativity? What small, easy, and inexpensive solutions can you implement to get people moving? How can you create a culture of movement that helps your team get in some exercise during the day? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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Image Sources: corporatewellnessmagazine.com