Discussions around ‘wellbeing’ and ‘wellness’ tend to vacillate between too concrete or too abstract. We understand what it means to feel physically unwell — a bad migraine, high fever, etc. — and we know it’s important to prioritise wellness in general, but we don’t often think about how to boost our own sense of wellbeing through small, tangible practices (particularly in the workplace). In the theme of World Wellbeing Week, the People team at Index Exchange decided to make these small practices a priority — to ensure wellness was top-of-mind for our employees throughout last week — and we’re thrilled to share that it truly made a difference in our environment and attitudes here at Index.
Because no two people are ever the same — and therefore no two people practice wellness in exactly the same way — we encouraged our colleagues to set unique, personalised goals for their own wellbeing, which everyone jotted on beautiful little postcards at the start of last week. We also heard from colleagues around the world about how they ensure wellness is an integral part of their work week.
I dedicate an hour of every day to reading a novel (30min in the morning, 30min at night), I find this helps me stay in a positive and relaxed mood throughout the week. – Dan Silveira, Coordinator, Compliance
No matter how busy the days get, I always prioritise ultimate frisbee…I may not have the same hops as I used to, but it feels great to be on the field on such a beautiful night! – Shael Fryer, Chief of Staff, Sell-Side
Every morning, I write down 3 things I am grateful for. It allows me to put my mindset in the right place to start the day right. – Alysha Campbell, Human Resources Business Partner
I try to do a 30 min HIIT class during lunchtime at least twice a week. It’s not much but it’s really effective and I feel amazing once the class is finished. Nutrition is a big part of wellness so I’m also determined to start bringing my own healthy lunches into work. – Marcella Boatswain, Buyer Development Director
Living in NYC and being a communications professional, I don’t have much silence in my day! I’ve been taking a few minutes at the end of each day to reflect on the day’s activities – just a few minutes of quiet to myself. – Jaime Levitt, Head of Engagement
Don’t forget to take care of others!!! I’m taking my mom for her dentist and doctor appointment. Need to make sure she is in good health as well!” – Dianne Velez, Senior Manager, Support & Resources
That said, we also set two company-wide goals, designed to boost our overarching sense of wellness in the office: ‘Reclaim Your Lunch Break’ and regular walking meetings.
What do these mean, exactly?
To start, ‘Reclaim Your Lunch Break’ was designed to encourage our employees to actually take their full lunch breaks, rather than sprinting to Subway and hunching over their keyboards to eat.
There’s a common misconception that taking a proper lunch break will lead to less productivity — that working through lunch is the only way to stay on top of your inbox. As Fast Company reports, “…only one in five office workers reports taking an actual lunch break away from their desk, according to a survey by workplace consulting group Right Management.”
But this approach is counter-intuitive. Taking 30 minutes to an hour out of your day to reset, refuel, and give your brain a break not only leads to increased productivity, it also helps employees feel more effective, efficient, and satisfied in their roles. It’s a feeling we’d be foolish not to encourage at Index, which is why we challenged employees to block out lunch breaks on their calendars (and actually take them!) this week. Ultimately, reclaiming our lunch break was one of the most popular initiatives during the week.
Friday brought a worldwide al fresco lunch, encouraging everyone to take their sandwiches and salads to the closest available outdoor space. Seeing the photos of IXers around the world taking a moment to bond together outside of the office was a beautiful way to demonstrate everything Reclaiming Your Lunch is about!
Next up on the list of healthy habits we decided to champion this week? Walking meetings: a small, simple change with a substantial impact.
The benefits to walking meetings are manifold — exercise boosts our energy levels, changes of scenery can spark new ideas, and we all need a bit of fresh air (and a break from fluorescent lights) now and again. Even so, it’s all too easy to pop into a conference room instead of taking your meeting to the streets — an impulse we strived to abandon this week.
From executive meetings down to casual team brainstorms, Indexers across the company were reminded and encouraged to have meetings on foot and in the sunshine from the 24th through the 28th.
In sum, this week served as a reminder to each and every Indexer that it’s not only okay to prioritise one’s wellbeing, it’s a necessity. While we enjoyed celebrating, sharing, and implementing new tactics throughout the entire week, this really is only the beginning for us in terms of making personal wellness a priority in the workplace.