The Importance of Sleep – Productivity Series | Innovative Office Solutions

A crucial component of stellar productivity is proper sleeping habits.  In this second installment of our Productivity Series – we focus on Sleep.   

Sleep is one of the most important, yet under appreciated, keys to productivity.  By not focusing on this essential part of our daily lives – we are only doing further damage to our productivity – and health – as a whole.

According to the CDC, 35 percent of Americans report regularly getting less than the recommended amount 7-8 hours of sleep per night.  Arianna Huffington, of The Huffington Post, preaches the importance of sleep herself.  By not getting proper sleep, not only are you damaging your body for the long and short term, but your output at work as well.

Harvard suggests that “sleep deprivation was a significant factor in the 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island, as well as the 1986 nuclear meltdown at Chernobyl.”

Accidents due to sleep deprivation can also be attributed to events on a less disastrous level.  According to the Institutes of Medicine, “over one million injuries and between 50,000 and 100,000 deaths each year result from preventable medical errors, and many of these may be the result of insufficient sleep.  Doctors, especially newly graduated interns, are often expected to work continuous shifts of 24 to 36 hours with little or no opportunity for sleep.”  A decrease in productivity due to sleep-related issues not only effects an employee’s workload output, but can also cost companies thousands – even millions.

According to a study published in 2010, within the data taken from participants, $54 million roughly $1,967 per employee within this study could be expect to be lost annually.  Estimated costs linked to productivity decreases ranged from $1,293 to $3,296

Like any employee or business owner you are now most likely thinking, “I wonder how much money we’re losing due to sleep deprivation?”  Unfortunately, we don’t have an answer for you.

However, we do have a few ideas on how to encourage proper sleeping habits throughout your office – ultimately leading to increased productivity.

Increased Workplace Flexibility

  • Allowing more flexible start and end times may help contribute to positive lifestyle behaviors.  Their are many benefits to a more flexible work schedule other than increased sleeping patterns and productivity,  but those two are essential reasons to start incorporating a more flexible work schedule.

Workplace Education Programs

  • Educate employees on the importance of proper sleeping habits, and how they can improve life both at home – and at the office.  Make it clear that occasional sleep loss and fatigue are expected, but teach employees on how to safely and effectively function while “running on empty”.  Topics such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, and manageable workloads could all be covered in depth as they are a few important elements when looking to improve sleeping habits.

 

Getting more sleep is often times easier said than done.  However,  as long as you’re more conscious of how important proper sleeping habits are, the more likely you are to change your current habits.  There are plenty of reasons to get into a better sleep routine – saving your employer thousands, increasing workplace safety, and keeping your sanity – that it is up to you to put the proper actions in place.

 

 

 

Race Into the New Year with Help From Innovative Office Solutions | Innovative Office Solutions

Not only do organized races encourage a healthy lifestyle, but also increase awareness for countless different movements and organizations.  5K’s and other organized races seem to last year round.  If you’re planning an organized run – whether a 5K or otherwise – for the near future, let Innovative Office Solutions help outfit you with all the branded merchandise you’ll need!


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Innovative Office Solutions is known for providing companies with high-quality products and services.  Did you know those products also include apparel and ear buds, to trail mix and first aid kits?  Being that Spring is right around the corner (we hope), 5K’s and other races are going to more and more popular.  Be sure you’ve got all the essentials at your next event!  Check out what we can provide.

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Runners

  • Apparel
    • This goes without saying.  Everyone loves a t-shirt or hat to commemorate their participation.  Leave your participants with unforgettable memories  – and merchandise!

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  • Towels
    • Nothing can be more irritating than beads of sweat running down your face or getting in your eye as you run.  Keep your participants comfortable with branded towels!
  • Lip balm
    • Wind can be brutal on runners skin – surprise your participants with some branded lip balm.
  • Water bottles
    • Water bottles and running go hand-in-hand.  Keep your participants hydrated.

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  • Ear buds
    • Some runners enjoy music while running.  Provide your participants with sweet ear buds so they can plug into their “running” playlist!

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  • Trail mix
    • Perfect for refueling after an arduous race.

For those folks who come out to support friends or family members during their race, the participants don’t only have all the fun.  Attendees can get in on the action, too!

Attendees

  • Bottled water
    • Don’t let attendees sit and cheer on their friends or family members without something to drink!
  • Umbrellas
    • For those rainy, snowy, or overly sunny days – umbrellas are perfect for those avid 5k fans
  • Can Koozies
    • Help keep attendee beverages cold with branded koozies – another great idea when looking to give attendees something by which to remember the event!

From celebratory and commemorative metals, to finish line ribbons –  we’ve got everything to make race organizers lives that much easier.

Organizers

  • Medals
    • Because winners loved to be recognized, and again – a great way for participants to remember the race

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 These products are all perfect for, but aren’t strictly limited to, 5k runs!  Most would also work for things like corporate golf outings – or simply having around the office.  Contact Innovative Office Solution’s Promotional Specialist Pearlee Coty at 612.386.8204 or  PCoty@innovativeos.com if you’re in the stages of planning a 5K, corporate outing, or simply need to spruce up the office space with more branded products!

Simple Office Changes Help Increase Hygiene | Innovative Office Solutions

It’s that time of year again – flu season.  It may seem like whatever you do to prevent the flu, you somehow always get sick.  But – could it be – that you’re not being germ-conscious in the right places?

This blog post is timely not only for flu season approaching – but due to recent epidemics spreading across the globe.  The more familiar you are with cleanliness best practices, the more well informed you’ll be when it comes to germs.  The more conscious you are when it comes to these issues – the healthier you and your family will be during the entire year.

One product we’d especially like to showcase here – one we have in our office, in fact – is the SmartStock® Utensil Dispenser.

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With one pull of the red lever, a utensil of your choice is dispensed – doing away with multiple hands rummaging through a box of plasticware.  A device like this – especially used in an office setting – may greatly reduce the amount of germs spread at the workplace, and keep folks healthier for longer periods of time.

Further Benefits and Features Include:

  • Each dispenser holds up to 120 utensil pieces
  • Promotes good hygiene – the enclosed design helps protect from contaminants
  • Reduced Consumption – One-at-a-time dispensing reduces cutlery usage on average by 29% and up to 49% vs. open bins.*
  • Speeds up restocking – just load the refill, insert, rip, pull, and your done in seconds
  • Frees up valuable counter space – sized just right to keep things looking neat and organized

For more information on this – and other hygienic products – visit our Innovative Office Solutions website or contact Customer Care 952.808.9900 for more info!

*Independent research commissioned by Georgia-Pacific

And just how dirty are everyday devices and surfaces?

http://www.foxbusiness.com/on-air/willis-report/videos#p/157870/v/3825980639001

 

Creative Ways to Stay Healthy In Your Workplace!

Don’t let the fear of getting sweaty keep you from staying active in your workplace! Innovative Office Solutions has a fantastic wellness committee that focuses on the health and well-being of their employees. The committee is continuously brainstorming creative ways to stay healthy in the office. It is extremely important to take care of yourself, and can often be forgotten during the busy workday. What does your company engage in to stay active and healthy in the workplace?

 

Here are some innovative ideas that may spark the interest of your company!

  • Turn your conference room into a Yoga Studio
    • Conference rooms aren’t just for meetings; utilize the space – move the tables and chairs to open the room for engaging activities.
    • Every Monday, Innovative employees take 30 minutes out of their day to focus on themselves and get a nice stretch/muscle burn before heading back to their busy workday. Clear the mind = More productive workday

 

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Piyo

  • Workout In The Park
    • If you have an open area near your office, what better way to get fresh air while simultaneously working out with               co-workers?
    • During the warmer months, Innovative utilizes an open area across the street to stay active!

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  • Office Energizers
    • When two 0’clock rolls around it’s about the time for a 3rd…4th….5th cup of coffee; why not replace it with 15 minutes  of physical activity you can do…even in your business suit!
    • Every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon, Innovative provides their employees with a trainer from Ultimate Wellness to lead a 15 minute office energizer. Exercises range from core focus, flexibility (ROM) and balance to strength and cardio.

 

  • Company challenges
    • Even if workouts may not be for everyone, come up with fun rewarding company challenges that can bring out the fun competitive edge in everyone.
    • Innovative participated in a “Walk to Vegas Wellness Challenge” in which 81 employees teamed up and tracked their steps weekly. The goal – As a team, walk from Burnsville, MN to Las Vegas, NV in 12 weeks. Each team had to walk 15,039 miles for the privilege of partying #Vegasstyle. Amazingly, the company as a whole walked 36,667.882 miles! If you were wondering, that is all the way around the WORLD!
    •  A tracking board was developed to see the progress of each team. Employees encouraged one another, and benefited greatly!

                            “Just by walking and being more conscious of my daily steps, I lost 10 pounds!” – Innovative Employee 

 

VVegas rewards

  • Healthy Lunch Bunch
    • Join in with co-workers and take turns bringing in fun healthy recipes to share.

The ideas don’t stop here! Continue to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to learn how Innovative Office Solutions can make your workplace more productive!

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?

Don’t Give Colds During the Season of Giving

The Healthy Workplace Project* Wash, Wipe, Sanitize Protocol can Reduce Your Chance of Catching a Cold by as Much as 80%

Winter months can get long and with the season of snow, many suffer from the cold and flu.  The most vulnerable environments are, of course, home, school and the workplace. The larger the workplace, the greater chance an employee has of coming in contact with a cold or flu virus.

The human rhinovirus can cause over 560 million yearly cases of the Common Cold in the United States.

In 2010, Kimberley-Clark Professional launched the Healthy Workplace Project in order to promote happy and healthy office workers.  The idea is to motivate workers to adopt better hygiene habits in order to reduce germ transmission, resulting in cleaner buildings and ultimately a healthier work environment.

  • The Healthy Workplace Project can reduce absenteeism by up to 46%
    • Each year companies lose an average of $1,685 per employee due to absenteeism and presenteeism – employees coming to work while sick
    • 98% of the workers will miss work during the year due to a minor illness such as influenza, stomach illness, or a cold – 80% of which are preventable
    • Over 80% of project participants stated they were more satisfied with their employer as a result of the Healthy Workplace Project
    • More than half of the participants felt more productive as a result of the Healthy Workplace Project

Kimberley-Clark Professional also tested different office “hotspots” for levels of contamination.  Their findings may make you think twice about using the office microwave:

Places with highest levels of contamination:

  • 75% of break room sink faucets
  • 48% of microwave door handles
  • 27% of keyboards
  • 26% of refrigerator door handles
  • 23% of water fountain buttons
  • 21% of vending machine buttons

In order to reduce these gross numbers, Kimberley-Clark Professional initiated The Healthy Workplace Project* Wash, Wipe, Sanitize Protocol.  These steps can reduce the number of items and surfaces contaminated with viruses by as much as 62% and reduce the probability of infection for respiratory infections by approximately 80%.

Along with the Wash, Wipe, Sanitize Protocol, everyone and their grandmother has a “family secret” to cure what ails you.  There are countless preventative measures you can take to decrease the likelihood of catching the rhinovirus, or worse.  Below are some of the easiest steps to take to prevent sickness:

  • Frequently wash hands with soap and warm water.
  • Keep hand sanitizer handy.
  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, ideally water.
  • Exercise!
  • Stay home while you’re sick.

With the average American getting a cold 2.5 times per year, there is really no escaping it.  By taking advantage of the above-mentioned tips and combining them with the famous family soup recipe, or over-the-counter meds, you’ll be sure to kick it in no time.

To keep employees happy and healthy during the cold and flu season, check out some of the products Innovative Office Solutions carries.  Perfect for combatting any sickness this season is the Kimberely-Clark Professional Desk Caddy(Item #KIM38538) – which encourages the Wash – Wipe – Sanitize protocol, right at person’s desk.

KIM38538

Why bother washing your hands?

I’m one of those people (probably the majority?) that when posed with the choice of drying my hands with a paper towel or an air dryer, I go with paper towels every time. It takes less time, and who really wants to spend more time in a public restroom than absolutely necessary?

Well, now I have a new reason to prefer paper towels. The issue of hygiene never really occurred to me. In fact if I was asked which is more hygienic I’d probably have guessed air dryers. Apparently I’d have been wrong.

A recent University of Westminster study measured bacteria counts directly below and up to 2 meters away from different dryers and towel dispensers. Paper towels posed the least risk of cross contamination. Warm air and high speed dryers literally blow out bacteria for long distances – up to 2 meters in the case of the Dyson Airblade (it’s a pretty cool dryer though, I must admit).

High speed dryers harbor bacteria on their surfaces and in their air streams which could lead to dangerous cross contamination. So even though you just washed the bacteria from your hands, air dryers can put it right back on, as well as circulate bacteria from surfaces around the room.

The University of Westminster study found that high speed dryers increase bacteria count on hands up to 42%, and warm air dryers increase bacteria by up to 254%. On the other hand, paper towels actually reduce bacteria on hands by up to 77%.

So next time you’re in the restroom… paper or air?