Is yours a healthy workplace?


Do you go to work each day in a healthy workplace, or do you consider it toxic? If it’s not as healthy as you’d like, what can you do to improve it?

You make choices every day that can influence the overall culture of your workplace – and that includes influence over how healthy that culture is.

When you hold an early morning meeting, do you bring: doughnuts? bagels? fresh fruit?healthy workplace

Do you use candy as a motivator in training sessions?

Do staff members eat lunch while sitting at their desks, trying to get caught-up on their work as their energy is draining away?

Do you do anything to encourage playfulness in the workplace? Toss a nerf football around, perhaps, or take a break to shoot hoops?

What about meetings? Do they always take place indoors with attendees sitting around a table? Have you ever tried moving your meetings outdoors, or at least into a room with lots of windows and the feel of the outdoors? Or what about a “walking meeting”?  Among the many benefits of walking meetings: brain studies have shown that we think better when we’re moving, and it’s much less likely for the meeting to expand arbitrarily just to fill the hour.

If you are looking for ways to make your workplace healthier, there are some great resources out there for you. Many cities and counties have developed Healthy Communities programs to partner with businesses, schools, and other organizations to find ways to make the healthy path the easy path. Here’s an example of a program in San Diego.

Small changes can make a big difference. What if you improved the lighting in your office stairwells and hung employee’s or their family member’s artwork there? What if you offered oranges at a training event instead of candy? What if everyone were encouraged to spend 30 minutes being physically active during each workday? Have you ever noticed an increase in your own energy and productivity after you’ve moved around a bit or eaten a healthy snack?

Imagine what you could accomplish if you worked every day in a healthy workplace! What small step can you take today toward creating that kind of environment?


Less is More


A neighbor of mine writes an inspirational note each day on a whiteboard hanging on a fence. Sometimes the messages are quite long, but the other day all it said was, “Less is more.” Which, of course, got me thinking.

How can it be that “less = more?” It’s not logical, not rational. But does it have to be logical or rational to be true? How often do you find yourself rushing through a day overflowing with meetings and tasks, and yet have no sense of fulfillment at the end of the day? And if this starts to happen day after day? It’s easy to fall into a pattern of busy-ness that gets in the way of meaning and purpose.

ReflectionHow to break out of that cycle? It may seem counter-intuitive, but one way is to set aside time for reflection. Intentional, focused reflection. You may find that as you think about your experiences you discover insights and meaning that you might have overlooked while racing on to the next item on your “to-do” list. You may realize that some less-important tasks are eating up most of your time, keeping you from accomplishing those that are more meaningful. Your time is limited and valuable. It’s worthwhile to use some of that precious time for reflection to help you make the most of the rest!

If you’re not already in the habit of reflecting, it may seem foreign to you at first. Find a method that works for you, and be persistent about it. Perhaps writing in a journal at the end of every day is ideal for you, while someone else might benefit more from taking brief moments throughout the day for reflection. And another might get more from having a deep conversation with a friend or colleague.There is not a single right way – all of these have been useful for me at one time or another.

What about you? Have you found reflection to be useful? Have you experienced situations where “less” was actually “more?”

Disconnect to Connect


You’ve seen this before, haven’t you? A family or group of friends together at a restaurant, everyone focused on smartphones, tablets, or the sporting events on TV – but not interacting with each other. Perhaps your meetings at work are sometimes like this. Everyone is connected but not necessarily with each other.

Disconnect to connect

What happens when we disconnect from all of those distractions? We have a chance to reflect, think more deeply, find meaning in our experiences. We also have more person-to-person interactions, making connections that can have a lasting impact

As you are developing your team, it’s valuable to create space for connecting. Maybe you take time for a short icebreaker activity at the beginning of a meeting. Maybe you set a “ground rule” about how cell phones should be used (or not used) at your next event. Perhaps you might decide to set aside a day or part of a day for intentional team development activities.  The connections team members make create higher levels of trust and cohesiveness, with the payoff of improved collaboration and productivity.

Think about times you’ve been able to disconnect from the ever-present bombardment of distractions. What have your experiences been like? What kind of connections did you make?




Learning Never Stops


Whether we set out to intentionally learn something new, or just experience the world day-to-day, we are always learning. Sometimes it’s a small and subtle understanding, other times it’s an “ah-ha!” moment. How can you make the most of your learning opportunities every day?

Art of LearningIn The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance, Josh Waitzkin tells his own personal and fascinating story of achievement, as he reached elite levels in both chess and martial arts. Through his journey, he discovered that what he most excels at is learning, and he shares his methods here. One thing that struck me was Waitzkin’s habit of reflection, and how powerful that can be in helping each of us reach deeper levels of understanding. Dealing with failure, channeling emotions, breaking things down, keeping focus, and more – find out how these can help you excel!





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