If you are an avid gap intelligence blog reader, as I’m sure you are, you know what a great place gap is to work. All gappers are inspired to live up to gap’s 5 core values and contribute to the culture of the company. Not only do we have those 5 values driving us, but gap is genuinely invested in its employees as people and their lives in and out of the office. We have a lot of perks including workouts at local spin, yoga, and plates studios, Fitbit
wars challenges, and classes taught in-office about meditation, posture and other wellness topics. As a former athlete, although I do attempt to still play soccer, wellness is a very important topic to me. As I get older, I realize that wellness doesn’t just mean being able to play a 90 minute soccer game but that mental wellness is equally as important as physical. At gap, we are given a lot of tools that allow us to focus on our wellness as a whole and I’ll break down which ones I have benefited from the most.
First of all, meditation is the hardest activity. in. the. entire. world. Sitting still and being present for more than 10 seconds at a time is a serious struggle for me. It takes approximately .03 seconds of trying to quiet my mind for my to-do list to start racing through my head. Instead of relaxing serenely and allowing my mind to go to a peaceful place, all I can think about is the fact that I need to call my grandma in 8 months and wish her a “Happy Birthday!”. However, when I am in able to get into the mediation zone, I have found it to be a very useful tool. gap’s Wellness program has provided a couple of classes and guided meditations that have led me to a tool that allows me to center and reground myself and be more focused and productive throughout the day. Although it’s almost always a struggle, after meditating I find that I am ready to conquer the tasks ahead of me with renewed energy!
Another Wellness program that gappers have access to is yoga at a studio 50 yards from our office. I have been practicing yoga for years and I love the balance, presence, and mindfulness taught in each class (and the workout is great too!). I may enter a class stressed and worrying about a specific problem or situation but always leave with mental clarity and refreshed feeling, ready to tackle whatever is in front of me. Being able to take a quick “lunch” break and get in a yoga flow or restore class is hugely beneficial to my ability to clear my headspace and be productive at work. By taking a step away from problems, it’s interesting how quickly a solution will emerge. Plus the endorphins don’t hurt either!!
The last productivity trick we use here at gap is called NIHITO. And while that may sound like a fancy sushi roll, it stands for Nothing Important Happens In The Office. gappers are encouraged to have walking meetings, work from home, or have remote work sessions to be the most productive that they can be. I try to take advantage of all of the options we have in order to change my scenery and change how I can approach difficult work tasks (i.e. writing blogs). My manager and I take walking 1on1s each week where we talk about what was accomplished last week, what’s coming up this week, and if there is anything blocking my progress. By changing your surroundings you get a different perspective literally and figuratively. Our walking meetings get my blood and ideas flowing, making me a better and healthier employee.
Through gap’s wellness programs I have been able to expand exactly what being healthy and active means to me. While I still love playing soccer and having an active lifestyle, I realize that slowing down and focusing on your mental well-being is important too. Luckily, gap has a plethora of options that allow me to clear my head space, which helps me be a more present, mindful, and productive employee and person. While it seems like a lot of different techniques, I encourage you to practice at least one of these activities for about 10 minutes a day, which will (hopefully) help you clear your mind and come up with new ways to tackle your day!