The Importance of Nutrition – Productivity Series #1 | Innovative Office Solutions

With the Holiday season just around the corner, we’re moving into “comfort food season”.  We’ll be the first to tell you that we love our comfort food.  Sure, it always “hits the spot” and we’re full for what feels like days afterwards, but what are we doing to our bodies – and how can we avoid the dreaded “food coma” during precious family time?  Below are some nutritional tips talking about foods that help satisfy and keep you feeling “full” – all while helping keep you moving through the day.

In our first in a series of posts, we’re focusing on 3 key factors in increasing your productivity – things you might not always think about.  

First up is nutrition!

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) adequate nourishment can raise national productivity levels by 20 percent.  That’s quite the increase and, frankly, we could all use increased productivity in today’s busy world.  In a 2012 study, the journal Population Health Management stated that employees who eat unhealthily were 66 percent more likely to report a loss in productivity when compared to those who regularly ate grains, fruits and vegetables.  Thats every 2 out of 3 employees who feel less productive when not receiving adequate nutrition.

But what exactly is adequate nutrition?  Is it adhering specifically to the food pyramid?  The truth is – the answer is going to vary from person to person.  Hopefully, however, after reading this blog post – you’ll have a better idea of what will work for you.

(Dark) Chocolate Isn’t An Enemy – Thank Goodness

Nuts Can Help Keep You Sane

  • Chock-full of Vitamin E, nuts and seeds also help slow cognitive decline as you age.  Basically, nuts and seeds are an investment in your health.  The more you eat, the healthier you’ll be in the long run.

You Need Fat?!

  • Avocado’s, for example, can help reduce LOWER BAD CHOLESTEROL – ultimately decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.  Blood flow is increased as bad cholesterol and plaque build up are eliminated.  So go ahead, have another spoonful of guacamole.

(Grass-Fed) Butter is *GASP* GOOD for Your Heart?

  • Grass-fed butter is full of Vitamin K2  – is one of the most important nutrients in the diet for heart and bone health.
    • Vitamin K works modifies proteins, giving them the ability to bind calcium ions.  Calcium can “leach” our of bones, which can lead to osteoporosis and heart disease.  For this reason, it affects all sorts of functions related to calcium metabolism.

Antioxidants Keep You Healthy…And Productive

  • According to neuroscientist James A. Joseph, “dark-hued fruits and vegetables, especially blueberries, are just about the best foods you could consume for inoculating brain and body against the ravages of time.”  He goes on to state that blueberries can preserve cardiovascular health by acting as an anti-inflammatory agent, as well as promote brain integrity. “Oxidative stress and inflammation are the evil twins of brain aging,” Joseph insists.

Inflammation is Good — But Also Bad

Inflammation helps us heal, but out of control inflammation can have adverse effects.

  • Thought to play a role in obesity, heart disease and cancer, inflammatory foods are those high in sugar and saturated fat content. “They cause overactivity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels,” says Scott Zashin, MD, clinical professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The bottom line?  Results may vary.  But the first step is taking the initiative to realize that, just maybe, your productivity levels – or lack of – could be due to your diet.  Hopefully our tips above – and the research provided – will help you realize that not all increased productivity is due to increased caffeine consumption.

Turning Recycled Water Bottles Into…Pens? | Innovative Office Solutions

Yes – you read that correctly.  Pilot, your favorite pen company, is literally breaking the mold on writing utensil creation.  Read on to check out their awesome new project!

Bottle 2 Pen

Pilot’s product, Bottle-2-Pen (B2P), is the world’s first pen made from recycled bottles.

Approximately 2.5 million plastic bottles enter landfills every hour in the United States, and make-up close to 50% of all recyclable waste.

The B2P gel ink pens are made from 89% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.  As to be expected from Pilot, the B2P pens write smoothly, have vibrant inks and are 100% refillable.

  • The world”s first pen made from recycled bottles!
  • Made from 89% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles
  • Vibrant G2 gel ink for smooth effortless writing
  • Retractable and Refillable with G2 refills

Write the next chapter for a cleaner planet with B2P!

For more information – and to learn how to support this innovative and responsible product – contact contact Innovative Office Solutions Customer Care 952.808.9900 for more info!

Plants and Productivity | Innovative Office Solutions

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Thinking about “sprucing” (pun intended) up the office? Recent studies have shown that if you have plants around the office – you are benefitting in more ways that one. Every office needs something colorful: whether it be different colored walls, unique carpeting, modern-looking desks, or fun desk trinkets – these things break up the sometimes monotonous workplace environment. An often overlooked and underutilized office accessory, however, are plants – which may be the most beneficial of all.

Studies Conducted

Recent studies have shown that plants can aid in concentration, help increase productivity and boost staff wellbeing by 47 percent. Also shown was that in offices where staff are allowed to make design decisions, creativity and productivity increased by 45 per cent and 38 per cent respectively. These numbers come from a study – conducted by the University of Exeter – in which employee output was measured and compared across different types of business space. Nearly 350 visitors to the 2013 Chelsea Flower Show were asked to measure their creativity, happiness, and productivity in four differently designed work environments in a series of 90 experiments. The findings, according to the researchers, “demonstrate that plants are not unnecessary elements of business environments and add weight to other studies, which indicate plants increase psychological comfort and business performance.”

Beneficial Outside of the Office

As you may have guessed, having plants around the office is just one of the many benefits they provide. Further benefits of including plants in your everyday life include:

  • The Classroom: According to the Royal College of Agriculture, plants may increase learning potential for students.
  • In Hospitals: Compared to hospital rooms with little-to-no plants, patients with plants in their rooms experience less pain, anxiety and fatigue, take less pain medication, have lower blood pressure and heart rates, and are more pleased with their recovery rooms.
  • In the Home: Rooms with plants contain 50-60 per cent fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms with no plants. Plants filter and clean the air, reducing chemicals linked to colds, breathing problems and even cancer, according to the Stennis Space Centre.
  • Our Overall Health: According to NASA, houseplants can remove up to 87 per cent of air toxins within 24 hours, and can lead to reduced fatigue, coughs, sore throats and other cold-related illnesses by more than 30 per cent.

How Else Do Plants Help?

If you haven’t rushed out to the nearest greenhouse to buy yourself a desk plant yet, there are plenty more research studies that show how else being around plants can benefit you throughout your daily life.

  • Increased Concentration and Memory: Tasks – located near or around nature – are performed better and with greater accuracy, ultimately generating a better result.  Adding to that, being within or near nature can improve memory performance and attention span by 20 per cent.
  • Increased Smiles: Office flowers and plants increase a persons mood and reduces the likelihood stress-related depression.
  • Improved Relationships:  Research shows that those who spend extended periods of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others.  The exposure to nature and wildlife increases people’s compassion for each other and for the environment in which they live.

Read about these – and more – benefits at the Texas A&M University website.

Do you keep a large crop of plants in your office?  If so – why?  If not – why?  Based on these research findings, are you headed to your nearest florist over your lunch break?

Five Essential Environmentally Friendly Office Products | Innovative Office Solutions

Environmentally friendly products are now more important than ever, so we thought it’d be a good idea to let you know about some of the more environmentally friendly products that Innovative Office Solutions carries.

Now, just because a product is considered “green” or “environmentally friendly” in no way detracts from its performance or usage while at the office.  In fact, such products should give you more pride in usage with you knowing your current more “green” office products will one day be reused by someone else

Post-it Greener Paper Markers

5.  It’s no secret we at Innovative Office Solutions are HUGE Post-it product fans, and this first product is no exception.  Post-It Greener Page Markers are a more environmental friendly take on the traditional page markers, as the adhesive is plant-based and the page markers themselves are made from recycled paper.  Feel better when you eventually discard each marker that you may end up using that same marker years down the road.

Post-It Greener Tape

4.  Scotch Brand Greener Tape is a more environmentally friendly alternative – yet still as versatile as the original.   Made from 65% recycled or plant-based materials by weight, the alternative version is just as timeless and strong as the original.

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Aren’t you glad it’s not January?

3.  The AT-A-GLANCE Recycled Wall Calendar will soon become your new favorite office mate.  Besides the fact it is a wall calendar that helps you keep track of your daily happenings, it also features monthly green living tips.  Tips such as – “That picnic you’re planning for next weekend?  Bring your own plates and silverware instead of plasticware.”.  It always helps to be reminded of how you can live more environmentally friendly every day of the year.

 

Eco-Friendly Office Cups

2.  Every office needs cups – and what better kind to have on hand than those that are completely compostable?  Made from 100% renewable resources, the Eco-Products World Art cup is perfect for your morning coffee.  The cups are engineered with a leak-proof PLA liner – which is a corn-based polymer – ensures you don’t walk into a meeting with a stain, courtesy of your aforementioned morning joe.

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1.  As we mentioned in a previous post on keeping the office neat and tidy over the winter months, EcoGuard wiper matts come in first on our list of most essential environmentally friendly office products.  The carpeted surface is made from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles – so a few of these in the office give you the peace of mind knowing you’re helping keep plastic bottles out of our landfills.  The durable crumb rubber backing is made from used tires, helping keep them out of landfills and waterways – and properly recycling a material that is notoriously difficult to decompose.  The fibers on this mat provide better absorbency so, especially during winter months, you won’t be tracking as much moisture/dirt/salt/etc. into the office, keeping it cleaner for a longer period of time.

 

Top 5 Benefits of LED Lighting | Innovative Office Solutions

3M's Advanced LED Light Bulb

3M’s Advanced LED Light Bulb

The list below is just a sample of the benefits associated with LED Light bulbs and lighting systems.

Everyone has heard of LED light bulbs and lighting systems, but some may not fully understand the advantages and disadvantages.  The main disadvantage associated with LED lighting are the up-front costs.  However, the multiple other benefits of implementing LED lighting systems far outweigh the up-front cost of bulbs, installation, etc.

Following is a list of the 5 largest benefits of LED lighting systems.

1.    Energy Efficiency

When comparing the efficiency of LED lights to more traditional lighting with conventional light bulbs, the difference is vast. LED’s provide an estimated energy efficiency of between 80% and 90%.  What does this mean?  It means that 80% to 90% of the electrical energy you are paying for is converted to light, while the other 10% to 20% is converted to other forms of energy, such as heat.

Traditional incandescent bulbs operate at 20% efficiency, losing the remaining 80% of energy to heat.  These numbers are proof that LED lighting systems efficiency is far superior to traditional lighting methods.

2.    Lifespan

LED bulbs and diodes have a lifetime expectancy of up to 100,000 hours, meaning you could leave your lights on for 11 years – straight – without them burning out.  Or, if you used them every other day, they would last for 22 years.  Finally – if you use your LED lights for 8 hours a day, it would be 20 years before you would need to buy new LED bulbs.

Needless to say once you invest in LED lighting technology, you won’t be buying light bulbs for a while.

3.    Environmentally Friendly

LED light bulbs are free of toxic chemicals – whereas most fluorescent light bulbs contain mercury and other environmentally hazardous materials.

Contained in LED bulbs are non-toxic materials that are 100% recyclable and can decrease your carbon footprint by one third.  Along with the reduced carbon footprint, 25 incandescent light bulbs equal 1 LED bulb, in terms of materials and manufacturing.  So, with LED bulbs, you’re not only saving money and energy now, you are helping provide a greener future for generations to come.

4.    Durability

LED lights are extremely durable and are built with the ability to withstand strong environmental factors.

Because of their ability to withstand these rough conditions, they are ideal for outdoor lighting systems – especially when exposed to wind or rain, construction sites or manufacturing sites, or vandalism.

5.    Lighting Power

When powered-on, LED lights brighten immediately – eliminating the warm-up period seen in some traditional lighting systems.  These benefits cater greatly to projects involving traffic and signal lights, but also work well for other projects.

LED lights can be turned on and off without it effecting the  lifetime or light emission of the bulb – whereas traditional lighting may take longer to reach full brightness and frequently turning on and off the light can drastically reduce the lifetime of traditional bulbs.
These are just five of the main benefits to LED lighting systems.  Honorable mentions also include reduced UV emissions, design and usage flexibility, light disbursement and much more.

For an assessment on how your business can cut costs using LED bulbs, visit our website to contact our facility specialists today!