The Leader Magazine

SEP 2016

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34 SEPTEMBER 2016 Leigh Stringer, workplace specialist and researcher at EYP Architecture & Engineering in Washington, D.C., is author of the book, "The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well- Being of Your Employees – and Boost Your Company's Bottom Line." Steve Henigan, principal of consulting at Perkins+Will in London, has an extensive background in issues related to workplace, employee efficiency, and change management, as well as the relationship between the workplace, productivity and profitability. access to fitness centers, exercise equip- ment, fitness programs, napping rooms, healthy food options, nutrition counseling, coaching, and ergonomics training. 3. Pay attention to stress and address it head-on. Many sports organizations are building in mindfulness and meditation into their training programs. This practice reduces stress and improves appreciation of the present moment (rather than worrying about the past or the future). Phil Jackson, the current president of the New York Knicks basketball team and previous coach to the Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers, has won a total of 11 NBA titles as a coach. Jackson takes a holistic approach to coach- ing that is influenced by Eastern philosophy, earning him the nickname "Zen Master." He wrote in his book, "Sacred Hoops" that "The secret is not thinking. That doesn't mean being stupid. It means quieting the endless jabbering of thoughts so that your body can do instinctively what it's been trained to do without the mind getting in the way." Steve Peters, the former performance director of Team Sky and British Cycling, refers to stress associated with worrying about the past or the future as "the chimp." He explains that part of the human brain acts in a rational manner, and then there is the chimp part, which is emotional and rash. He has successfully worked with many athletes including Sir Bradley Wiggins, Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton to help them "cage" their chimp for the duration of their sporting event, allowing them to completely focus on the job at hand. Pete Carroll, head coach of the Seattle Seahawks football team, claims this is about high performance. "It's all about clearing the clutter in the interactions between your conscious and subconscious mind," he said. Michael Gervais, a high-performance psychologist who also works with the Seahawks, claims, "What I've learned from the greatest athletes in the world is that the importance of being 'aware' is paramount. It really seems as though those who can live in the present moment, whatever the condi- tions that might be around them… that's [a strategy] for all of us." Stress is a good catalyst for getting things done, but chronic stress and mental "clutter" can really impact performance over time. What are ways to reduce stress in your workplace? Consider providing outdoor work areas, increased access to natural light and views to nature, meditation or yoga rooms, private work areas, water features, circadian lighting systems, and a variety of spaces that allow workers to relax and regain focus and alertness. According to Gallup, "When organiza- tions successfully engage their customers and their employees, they experience a 240 percent boost in performance-related busi- ness outcomes compared with an organiza- tion with neither engaged employees nor engaged customers." Taking care of and paying close attention to employees' needs in order to engage them is a clear competi- tive advantage. There is a war for talent, and companies that learn how to keep their people happy, healthy and energized will win over talent and ultimately increase market share in the long run. It's just good business. F E A T U R E A R T I C L E Open spaces, greenery, places to let loose physically, outdoor areas and even napping rooms are among the amenities that companies find help employees stay energized and focused.

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