Did you know that active workers take 27% fewer sick days a year? If you factor in the mental health benefits of regular activity, that number goes up significantly. We generally recognise that being physically active is good for our bodies, we may not be so aware of the positive impact on our mental well-being. Physical activity reduces depression, helps us manage stress, improves mood and sleep, and reduces anxiety. It’s also great for inducing the release of happy hormones like dopamine.
The big surprise is that you don’t have to be a gym bunny to be active. Regular movement alone, for example leaving your desk every 30 minutes to get a cup of tea or load the dishwasher counts as being active. At Blue Donkey we aim to delight clients with our service. The best telemarketing output takes focus and hard work, something we associate with sitting at a desk, however punctuating hard work, with some movement might just be the factor that tips us all from good to great.
There was a time when sniggering urbanites dubbed Fridays their shirking from home days. The current pandemic has forced organisations to dramatically rethink the traditional structures of their business. At Blue Donkey we trust our amazing team, and we’re confident they deliver some of the best telemarketing in the industry. But despite this, before Covid, managers would never have opted to put precious resources into developing systems that allow people to work from home. In fact, it’s the last thing on earth the business would have adopted as a means for producing the best telemarketing possible for our clients. However, Covid has forced unthinkable change.
Much like Blue Donkey, companies are learning to trust their teams to work as diligently from their home, as they would do in a workplace. People understand the responsibility that is placed on them, so they work really hard. Whether you’re aspiring to produce the best telemarketing or best of something else, working from home requires self-discipline. Inevitably employees are being compared with their peers for productivity and output, so they feel they must constantly prove themselves. Where in an office, the water cooler chats, and corridor banter would have moved people from their desks and provided some human interaction, the absence of this, coupled with the relentless motionless hours, and stress of uncertainty has brought about seismic change.
This is particularly worrying for people who live alone, where the counterproductive impacts of working harder, blurring of lines between work time and home time, and physical inactivity coupled with loneliness are the perfect cocktail for depression. This is no small thing, in fact, ACAS report that since Covid, depression among workers has gone up by 20%, so 1 in 5 people now experience depression. It’s therefore really important that managers do something to ensure there is balance in how much work and interaction is inserted into the day for their staff. Managers need to shift from thinking about the best telemarketing, or the most efficient widget to considering the benefits of happy staff.
You matter to us
Sending out the message that staff matter, as much as the quality of their work must be the new theme. For the economy to recover, as it no doubt will, moving from minding the output to minding the whole business needs to happen. Teams need to know they matter, not just their work. Particularly when they’re working from home, because they can’t see us smiling, and they won’t hear our warmth when we say well done, thank you, that’s the best telemarketing we’ve seen today.
Regular communication is, of course, important, at Blue Donkey we still have morning meetings by video for 10 minutes first thing to say hi, celebrate the day prior and recap goals. Regular one to one video calls allow managers to gently drill down on how individual team members are feeling, and the socially distanced workspace is available for anyone who needs a bit of support or time out of their home offices.
No doubt the simplest and most effective intervention we can make however is to tell our teams to move. Encourage lunchtime walks. If necessary block out diary time each day to get out of the house and grab the benefit of green space. Be clear that staff are not expected to be at their desk every moment of the day. In fact, the impact of physical inactivity costs UK businesses an estimated £6.6 billion a year. According to experts at Living Sport, lack of physical activity is one of the ‘big four’ causes of preventable ill-health along with smoking, poor nutrition and excess alcohol. However, inactivity affects the largest proportion of the population and is the least well known. Low levels of increased activity can make a huge difference and bring about dramatic benefits, improving physical and mental health and quality of life. Daily tasks are made easier and independence is increased. As well as improving fitness and strengthening muscles and bones, it also contributes to brain development, improves concentration and learning, encourages movement and develops coordination.
Living Sport is a charity, set up in 2006, to improve the health, happiness and wellbeing of the people of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough by inspiring them to get active. Speak with them today about how you can move your teams to be more active.
The potential benefits of physical activity to health are huge. If a medication existed which had a similar effect, it would be regarded as a ‘wonder drug’ or ‘miracle cure’ (Chief Medical Officer (2009) Annual Report 2009, Department of Health).