Summer Bods for Your Summer Business: Why Your Business Needs A Healthy Team
Everyone could be a little healthier, and summertime is the season when we all talk about it. No matter where you go, there's a runner jogging by, a magazine cover showcasing a diet, or a model rocking the perfect body in a nearby ad. Yes, summer is the time when we all start to re-think the last three seasons of extra sodas, burgers and fries, and countless other treats. At StartBlox, we don't buy into the idea that everyone should aim for the same six pack and cut out every indulgence, but we value our own version of the summer bod: it's known as the healthy team.
As it turns out, your health as a small business owner makes a huge impact on the performance of your small business. Whether you maintain your health through regular exercise, a healthy diet, regular doctor visits, or a combination of these strategies, your investment in yourself is a direct investment in the success of you new company. Here are a few reasons why:
Why Your Health Matters To Your Business
You're more productive.
When you're feeling you're best, you're doing your best. If you don't have to step away from your desk to deal with the latest ache or pain in your body, you can spend that time focused on the task at hand. Compared with the fatigue of a sick or out-of-shape body, you'll stay more energized for longer, giving you the extra, more focused time to focus on your business every day to push through the to-do list you've been growing for the last several months.
You're more positive.
Have you ever noticed how people are eternally grumpy when they're under the weather? Whether you're avoiding the common cold or choosing to exercise regularly, a healthier you is a happier you. That means you're easier to work with, and even more likely to get your way in potentially sticky situations. A mood-boost can also help you calmly tackle long to do lists or the everyday challenges of running a business.
You set the right example.
If you have a partner or employees in your business, your health sets the example for them. As a leader, your role is to promote the habits you want to see in the people around you. That means, if you want a productive and positive team, it has to start with you. In a recent interview with the "How I Built This" podcast, Stitch Fix founder Katrina Lake mentions how she even applied this to her own maternity leave, choosing to take full-advantage of Stitch Fix's policy and setting the example for her mostly-female employee base to do the same.
You reduce days missed company-wide. When your team is healthier, they (and you) don't miss unexpected days in the office. Planned days away from work are important, but when a team member is unexpectedly out when there's a high-priority project on the table, you might not be able to afford the lack of manpower. A healthy team is there when it matters.
You're more creative and better at problem-solving.
If you don't feel great, even the smallest obstacle can feel insurmountable. If you feel your best, you have extra space in your mind to address challenges with a creative mindset. Healthy small business owners have the ability to brainstorm, assess every option, and choose the best way to overcome the challenge at hand.
It supports your brand and reputation.
If you are the voice of your business, you need to look and sound the part. Your customers will associate with more than just your products. They'll consider every person that represents your brand - from you, the owner, to your front-line employees. Your health is part of this equation. Consider REI, a brand well-known for promoting health and well-being. REI customers are proud to be patrons, not concerned about the company's well-being.
It saves you money.
If you're not convinced yet, this final point should do the trick. If you're healthy, you're protecting your bottom line. Not only do health emergencies impact your own wallet, the time they eat up also wastes your business' money. On the other hand, when your team is healthy, positive, and productive, you're getting more out of every dollar you invest in them.
How To Maintain a Healthy Team
Promote Exercise In and Outside of the Workplace
Even the difference between sitting and standing at your desk makes a huge impact on your day-to-day health, so imagine the impacts of exercise in your daily life. As a small business owner, find a friend that you check in with on a day-to-day basis about your workouts, and encourage your team to do the same. A great way to promote exercise is to be proud of your own efforts, and offer to involve your team in them.
Reward, Don't Punish, Time Off
Time off is an important part of avoiding burnout and maintaining your mental health. Before worrying too much, you should know that this doesn't have to mean taking an entire week away from your work. You can start with simple steps, like turning off your computer at 5:00 every day, or taking a Friday off to create your own long weekend. Most importantly, don't berate team members for choosing to take time for themselves. So long as they're performing their roles, you should encourage them to do so, knowing that they'll be more productive when they return.
Encourage Healthy Eating
If you keep snacks at your desk or provide snacks for your team, consider replacing the bag of chips with healthier fruit or protein options. For lunch, bring in a salad or treat yourself to lunch out at a local health food restaurant. No matter what, don't skip meals because you're working, and try not to eat at
your desk. Taking the time to think about what you're eating is an easy way to become aware of and change how certain foods make you feel.
Regularly Check In With Yourself and Your Employees
When you're powering through a to-do list, it's easy to forget about your own well-being. Ask yourself every morning and every evening, "How do I feel?" If the answer isn't, "Great!" consider what you can do to quickly change this. With your team, all it takes is a, "How are you doing today?" to get a sense of where they're at. From there, it's an easy next step to ask them if they've been doing any exercises, discovered any new foods, or picked up any new habits. Don't cross the line, but don't be shy about asking them how they are.
How The StartBlox Team Is Working On Our Summer Bods
At StartBlox, we're not immune to the consistent messaging around getting the perfect summer body, and we're choosing to act on it in our own way. For our team, boxing, soccer, and running seem to be the exercises of choice to get our energy up and creative juices flowing. We also have team members learning to cook healthy foods, while others are working to cut out meat three days per week. Most importantly, we're checking in. We start our one-on-one meetings with the all-important "How are you doing?" question, and we're proud of each other's progress.