During the week of April 16, OPX held its 2nd Annual Wellness Week. Each day focused on different “well-beings:” Mindful Monday gave us the chance to meditate as a group and reflect on what’s important to us. For Foodie Tuesday, we shared healthy recipes with each other and enjoyed homemade fruit smoothies together in the afternoon. On Ergonomic Wednesday, our friends from Steelcase came in and schooled us on the intersections of physical, cognitive, and emotional wellbeing. For Social Thursday, we brought in childhood photos of ourselves engaging in fun physical activities of all kinds and laughed about these (and our old haircuts) during an end of the day happy hour. We capped off the week with Physical Friday where we totaled our step counts and water consumption for week and offered our best workout tips to each other. Peppered throughout the entire week, we engaged in quick (and funny) physical challenges around our desks. Do you want to have a good laugh during the day? Watch your colleague drop next to his or her workstation and give you 20!
We created this week, in part, to encourage camaraderie with each other. To create some breaks during the day. When we sit at our workstations most of the day, we can easily get wrapped up in the latest project, spreadsheet or budget. It’s easy to forget to take a break! You become one with your machine. But we are not machines, we are humans! We require social connections, physical activity, access to nature, human touch, and regular movement. In this sense, Wellness Week was less about remembering to drink water or get up from your desk during the day and much more so about building human connections alongside the people we see the most!
Creating positive social connections tends to lead to happier, more engaged, and more productive workers. Some say that work is what you do in order to enjoy your hobbies. If you take the 24 hour cycle, you could say that most of our awake time is spent at work or getting to and from work. But, what if you actually enjoyed work? What if you loved coming to work?
With the influx of social media and the humble bragging phenomenon, we are inundated every day with the ideals of what it takes to be perfect, in personal and professional life. Society pushes us to towards perfection – through diet, physical activity, getting to work on time, writing that email, and creating that fantastic design, and living each minute as the most perfect self.
Of course, however, none of us are perfect, and our annual Wellness Week helps us to 1) remember this important fact and 2) embrace our mutual imperfections and 3) ideally, help each other elevate our individual and collective wellbeing. When we become connected by our imperfections, we see each other as more than work colleagues, but as real, fallible humans. The more we see each other in this light, the greater connection we can feel, and the more we can see our workplace as not a place for struggles, but as a place to belong.