The new year, full of clean-slate vibes and good intentions, can be a great time for establishing new routines and habits. Yet the major impediment to making even the simplest of changes often becomes finding the needed time.
Because so many entrepreneurs devote themselves to their businesses and end up neglecting health, here are five healthy habits to swap in for the new year. They take very little time or energy — and can be shared with your employees to create a better office atmosphere.
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1. Eat your veggies (in a glass).
The major impediment to healthier eating is often the time it takes to prepare a whole-foods meal full of a variety of vegetables. Enter green smoothies, those shakes made of vegetables (or even fruit). Simply add kale, dandelion greens, celery and spinach as well as apples, bananas and honey to your shopping list. If you don’t own a blender, know that manufacturers like Cuisinart make powerful blenders that run about $100.
Mix a good amount of the vegetables or fruits above, with a bit of honey to sweeten if needed, and you’ll obtain a hearty serving in about 10 minutes. (Make a few blenders available in the break room for employees and they can follow suit.) Time commitment: 10 minutes
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2. Focus on breathing for five minutes.
The emphasis here is on the word breathe. You’re not necessarily trying to meditate (unless you want to call it that). You’re just trying to slow down and breathe and settle into your body for five minutes.
The more you relax, the more you lower blood pressure and release feel-good hormones in the body. Establishing an office “mindfulness bell” that rings at random moments to remind employees to stop and take a breath could help to reduce stress. Time commitment: 5 minutes
3. Share gratitude.
Creating an office culture of appreciation takes little extra time and can boost morale and create better connections with employees and co-workers. Consider starting meetings by sharing one thing each person is grateful for.
If each person shares for just 30 seconds, then even a 10-person meeting will spend only five minutes on a practice that boosts happiness and pleasure. Poll your employees to see how they’d like to integrate gratitude into the workspace. Time commitment: five to 10 minutes
Related: 5 Unhealthy Workplace Habits to Break in 2015
4. Invite ambassadors of health to the office.
You need not be the one solely in charge of bringing more healthful practices to the office. A host of nutritionists, fitness experts, health coaches and yoga teachers in your area would probably love to be invited to provide a 60-minute talk or demonstration for your employees.
Your company benefits because you and your employees could learn how to adopt practices with a number of advantages (such as decreased stress or fewer people needing to take sick days).
The health expert who goes to your office may benefitbbecause your employees might be interested in becoming private clients. Time commitment: as much as an hour
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5. Support interruption-free work time.
When employees feel pressure from upper management to immediately respond to phone calls, texts and emails, they’re likely to feel overwhelmed. Research about how interruptions from technology affect people’s well-being is beginning to emerge: One study of college students found a link between excessive texting and diminished well-being.
Support interruption-free work time in several ways. Volkswagen made headlines in 2011 by announcing it would stop its servers from distributing email to employees after work hours in an effort to prevent employees from feeling that the lines between workplace and home had blurred.
Start with something as simple as letting employees know that with the exception of attending to major deadlines such as a new-product release, the company refrains from phone calls or emails one hour each day — and that you’re directly requesting all employees to observe it. Time commitment: none.
The critical factor in making these changes lies is the leader who implements them. Employees will see these habits as lip service with no real value if they don’t see leadership by example. The best part of implementing even just one of these changes is the potential to improve not just employees’ lives but also your own at the same time.
I really like #5 “Support interruption-free work time” It can feel a little oppressive to have to answer every call, every email, every request especially from your boss. The other side of that coin is also true. As a leader with an open door policy it can be a little distracting to listen to every suggestion, answer every question, be present for each team member. I like the idea of a “no fly zone” to get some of the more pressing task marked off the list.