How managers can improve their employees work and by focusing on their health habits
When the Founder and Chairman of an international company is diagnosed with cancer at the age of 56, it’s not expected that an announcement would be made to all the clients and field operations around the world. But that’s just what I did.
As the Founder of BNI, the world’s largest referral networking company, I began blogging, honestly and openly, discussing my health, the physical and emotional struggles I faced, and the challenges of being the owner of a multimillion-dollar business—all while working to heal from prostate cancer.
Luckily, my surgeon told me I had time to research various treatments before traditional surgery and chemo would become necessary. After consulting with a team of integrative medicine doctors at a health care center in San Diego County, I completely changed my diet, added resistance training to my routine and began meditating regularly. I began to lose weight and noticed that I had increased energy and concentration and had become more productive at the office.
That’s when the idea hit me. If making these changes to my own health increased my ability to do my job, what would happen if I tried this on my employees? Would they too become more focused, more productive and more efficient?
Experiment & Results
You see, I’ve always been a big proponent of finding innovative ways to boost the happiness factor around my office in order to keep productivity up, but I’ve struggled to find a way to cut down on sick days, midday doctor’s visits and those infamous afternoon energy slumps.
I decided to do an experiment. I asked some of my employees at my company headquarters in Upland, California, to volunteer for the 90-day diet makeover we called The Misner Plan Challenge. I also started making healthy changes around the office, including morning yoga, afternoon juicing sessions and “Bring Your Own Vegetable Day,” to see if they too would have an impact on employee productivity.
Not only have we seen productivity increase in back-office tasks, we noticed that the staff members who participated were more engaged in their work, more patient when it came to customer service issues and generally happier around the office.
In my experience running BNI.com, employees with poor health habits usually are the ones with negative attitudes. While this may seem like a personal matter, it does affect the company’s bottom line. By making some small health changes around the office, you may find you can increase productivity and positivity among your staff, both crucial elements to boosting profit.
So, what are the three signs that your office is in need of a health makeover
1.Negativity in the workplace.
People who do not feel well overall tend to have a more negative outlook on life, both personally and professionally. If you notice that the overall energy level of your office is low or negative, then perhaps it is time to recapture high levels of health in your office
2. If one person gets a cold or flu, many others get it.
When everyone’s immune system is strong, colds and flus do not get passed around quite so easily. If you find that your office goes through times during which quite a few employees are out sick simultaneously, it’s time to reevaluate
3. Many of your staff members are overweight.
Take an objective look at your staff. If you realize that more than 10 percent of your employees are overweight or obese (with a Body Mass Indicator of 30 to 39.9), then your office may benefit greatly from a health makeover.
Strides Toward Good Health
Now understand, you can’t just take away the doughnuts and give them carrots instead. Surprising your staff with a juicer where the soda machine could cause a revolt! The key is to get your employees on board and ease them into these positive workplace changes. Most they’ll love right from the start, while a few might take a little getting used to. Here are some examples:
- Install a water filtration system with hot and cold water. Hydrated brains are productive brains. Drinking soda, coffee and black teas dehydrate our bodies. BNI provides coffeemakers and staff members are welcome to bring soda from home or drink tea of their choice, but if herbal teas and fresh, purified water is available, they are just as likely to drink these provided beverages.
- Provide healthy alternatives at staff luncheons and celebrations. Most offices provide lunch for their staff from time to time. This gives a good chance to evaluate what you’re feeding your employees. If your lunches are centered on burgers, fries and milkshakes, consider replacing them with healthy alternatives such as turkey burgers, whole-wheat buns, fresh juices and salads.
- Start a walking club at work. You’d be surprised at how many of your employees would come early to the office to walk together. Walking in the early morning can be invigorating and give everyone a jumpstart on the day without making your staff wish for a second shower before starting the day at the office. At BNI, a free weekly Qi Gong/Tai Chi class is held in a spare office over the lunch hour. It gives my staff a chance to relax, refocus and refresh in the middle of the day.
Ivan Misner, PhD, called the “Father of Modern Networking” by CNN, is considered one of the world’s leading experts on business networking. Dr. Misner has written 11 books, including the three New York Times Best Sellers (“Masters of Networking,” “Masters of Sales” and “Truth or Delusion”), two No. 1 Amazon.com Best Sellers (“The 29% Solution” and “Networking Like A Pro”) and The Wall Street Journal Best Seller “Masters of Success.” Misner and his Nutritionist wife Beth Misner have a cookbook due out later this year called “Healthy Kitchen – Healing Body: Eating for Longevity.” The couple also created The Misner Plan.