So today is Blue Monday- the most depressing day of the year according to some. The day whereby we’re ready to put our new fad healthy lifestyles to the wayside, we’re properly back into work mode with stress back on our work agenda and the January blues are in full swing. And whilst we’re feeling down in the dumps, distractions are rife, with everyone reminiscing about what they were doing ‘three weeks ago today’ or, in our case, a Storm trooper catching our eye every time we look up from the computer and a BB8 robot zooming in and out of the desks (a few of us are a little Star Wars obsessed in our office if you hadn’t already guessed!)
But apparently interruptions and distractions at work aren’t as bad as we all think they are – a company in New Mexico have just introduced a ‘cat library’ to their office, where workers can check kittens in and out like books – something we know many people in our office would jump at the chance to do and it’s proving to be a big hit! Office workers have admitted that the time spent with the kittens helps them to relax, reduces stress and creates an overall ‘paw-sitive’ atmosphere in the office (sorry!)
A marketing agency in Liverpool has also been experimenting with different ways of reducing stress and increasing productivity, their main one being by the introduction of six-hour work day, inspired by a scheme in Sweden. Workers have admitted they come into work feeling more refreshed and energised, meaning they are more focused on the task in hand. The scheme also includes daily meditation sessions and yoga classes, which sound a little extreme to us, but if it works, who are we to argue!
The typical distractions you’d expect to find in an office where the day is spent in front of a computer, are surfing the internet, online shopping and having a little spy on Facebook. But according to a study by BambooHR in America, what takes up most time is actually chatting amongst workers. Whilst most companies are quick to stamp out distractions like this, they should realise they aren’t necessarily a bad thing, as it’s distractions like this which help improve productivity.
Now we’re not saying you should hide under your desk for most of the day, but a little break here and there won’t hurt. They do say that looking at something with a fresh pair of eyes gives you a new perspective, so whether you’ve been staring at a piece of editorial for hours on end or you’re creativity has switched itself off – take a break and we’re sure you’ll find it helpful.
We’re going to be trialling our own initiative this afternoon as a way to de-stress and increase productivity. We’re getting a masseuse into the office, with back and shoulder massages on offer – we couldn’t think of a better way to spend our dinner hour!
Social interaction and communication isn’t discouraged in our office, in fact it’s quite the opposite, which is why we think the atmosphere is always so positive and everyone is always willing to go the extra mile. We take time out to celebrate birthdays, with everyone gathering for cake and a chat, meaning we can have a laugh together and a little time away from our desks, which definitely helps you start the afternoon feeling more relaxed and focused!
We also tend to do something fun on a Friday as a nice way to end the week, whether it be Fajita or Pizza Fridays (it’s usually food related), which again, means we spend our lunch hour together having the conversations we haven’t been able to if we’ve had a busy morning. Being allowed the time to switch off from work and relax definitely helps with motivation and productivity.
I also personally find that preparing the first few things on your next day’s to-do list the day before helps me feel much more settled when I leave the office, as I can spend the night with my family and friends knowing everything is under control. I also try to get into the office early so that I can have that essential cup of coffee and check my emails before the morning rush starts.
Now we know which methods work for us, and we’ll keep you updated on how this afternoons trial goes, but we would be more than happy to trial these other initiatives ourselves to see if they actually work– bring in the kittens!