Recently, productivity and most importantly profitability jumped at our company by 30%. How? Six months ago, we started requiring everyone take two 15-minute “walkies” every day—without their phones—in addition to regular breaks. We attribute the improvement in our results to our concerted effort to get more exercise during the workday.
What started as an experiment has become a habit among the staff. Many report the extra exercise has helped them think clearer, get more done and generally feel better.
Research finds walking benefits productivity.
We didn’t just make an educated guess that walking would lead to better productivity. Instead, we did our homework and looked into research about the benefits of exercise in the workplace.
A study by the Foundation for Chronic Disease Prevention in the Workplace found improvement in the psychological well-being 752 employees in the US and UK who began walking 10,000 steps per day. The improvements included their concentration, self-esteem, confidence and a great reduction in stress. This enhanced sense of well-being was directly correlated to higher productivity.
A large percentage of the employees who participated in the study lost weight and reduced their body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure. That indirectly improved productivity by avoiding time lost to illness and lethargy associated with being overweight.
Our brain is a muscle. It needs rest periodically to reboot and recharge. When you give it mental downtime at regular intervals, it comes back and works even harder for you. It's personally helped me with different failures I've had in my life.
Once we conducted our own experiment by doing the two 15 minute “walkies” per day for 30 days, nearly 100% of our own staff concurred with the research findings. We attribute the 30% increase in productivity to employees completing tasks more accurately and almost a day quicker than before.
You’ll feel better when you get up from your desk and out into the fresh air. Instead of scrolling through your phone and dealing with countless emails or social media, you’re moving and engaging in real conversations with the staff. It keeps you in the loop and is an informal way to share ideas and address questions.
The walks provide a way for everyone to socialize for a few minutes while focused on something other than their work. By talking about other things on the mind, unrelated to the job, they can then come back to work and dedicate their brainpower to the task at hand. People on the team have told me it makes them feel more alert than grabbing another cup of coffee and helps them stay away from snacking on those carb-heavy foods that seem to slow us all down. During this time we even started our very popular inspirational financial quotes that we put up on a daily basis. This has attracted 30,000 new people to our site, and we've signed more than 600 new clients.
Making work a source of creativity, not stress.
While we all face problems at work, it should not be an environment of constant stress. Yet, the American Psychological Association (APA) finds the workplace is the second most common source of stress for the majority of people, after concerns over money.
Encouraging employees to step away for a few minutes is something substantial we are doing to address workplace stress. Science tells us that movement and exercise gets the endorphins flowing, making us feel good and, in turn, stimulating the brain to be creative. The team here has all felt that boost. That’s why we are have upped our productivity game by leaps and bounds.
I want everyone to enjoy the time they spend in the office. After all, we need to be here so might as well make it healthy, fun, and creative. We do that by powering through those “walkies” together!
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editor.