For over 6 years now, I have worked to improve the health of those working in the square mile of London. Over this time I began to notice patterns correlating between issues, habits, struggles and achievements. But these correlations were not just limited to health outcomes; in fact, they often materialised and manifested in work performance.
These days, from a coaching perspective, I work almost exclusively with senior executives and utilise the latest technology available in performance, health and body composition monitoring. This gives me a great deal of data as output, which can be leveraged to influence the health and performance of these executives, but also to also continue spotting patterns across the bigger picture.
Here are 5 common traits I have noticed that appear to help give executives a boost, both in their health and their work performance.
1. Linchpin health habits are key
Many people will have a single key habit that helps to keep the others in place. Some of the clients I have worked with functioned best after 10 minutes of morning meditation, whereas others needed to make it to the gym in the morning. For some, a nutritious breakfast led to other virtuous habits whereas others relied on a good evening routine to set them up for a strong performance the next day.
Regardless of what the specific habit was, their linchpin habit was the one that held the others together. Missing a morning meditation due to a lack of time would often lead to a rushed and unhealthy breakfast and then cascade into a series of poor health choices. A poor evening routine would lead to poor sleep and a subsequent sub-par day. The key is to find out what habit helps you to keep you disciplined more broadly.
2. Those constantly looking after health, perform consistently
When workload steps up, there are two types of people; those who abandon everything else (including their health) and those who still make time for the important stuff. In both cases, if they are high-performing executives they will be sure to get the work done.
The disparities become evident in the long-term performance of these executives. The one who managed to stay on top of eating well, carve out time for the gym and find way to get adequate sleep end up taking less time off sick, have higher sustained energy levels and have overall better health markers.
So if you want staff that can perform consistently throughout the year then discourage all-nighters, pizza at the desk and other habits detrimental to health (and talk with us instead!)
3. Higher intensity isn’t always the answer
High-performers in The City like to squeeze all the juice out of every opportunity. This mentality doesn’t stop even when they hit the gym. This approach has led to execs heading into the gym for a quick half hour high intensity session after an insanely busy day.
The sentiment is great, taking time out of the day to work on your health is KEY! But if you have had 10 hours of allostatic load in the form of mental stress, the last thing you need is more in the form of physical stress. The plain fact is that after that much mental work, your brain will often be wired for intensity.
On a particularly busy or stressful day, one of the best things you can do is head to do some low intensity physical exercise, like walking, stretching or Yoga. You’ll reap greater physical rewards as your body will be able to reduce stress hormones, thus improving your energy, mental wellbeing and allow you to sleep and recuperate for another tough day.
Want advice on how to incorporate healthy habits into your workplace? Get in touch here!