Four productivity-increasing ways to take a break

Everyone is busy. But if your organization has stepped into a routine of being too busy to break, you could potentially break your attempt at increasing productivity. Taking short breaks regularly throughout the workday not only helps employees to feel more focused, but can also decrease stress, improve engagement and ultimately increase productivity. Here are four productive ways to take a break:

1. Engage in a few minutes of light exercise. Whether it’s taking a five-minute walk around the office or standing up and doing a couple sets of 30-second calf raises, when employees get their blood pumping, it can instantly increase energy and attentiveness.

2. Rest your mind with meditation. One of the most powerful ways to relax in a short amount of time is through meditation. Meditating is known to lower stress levels and improve overall health as well as creativity. Even just five minutes of tranquility a day could give employees the peace of mind they crave.

3. Prepare and enjoy an undistracted healthy snack. Breaking from work while eating seems like a no-brainer, but undistracted eating can commonly take a back seat to a busy day. Encourage employees to head to the break room or café to eat. Concentrating on food (instead of work) while eating will benefit both body and mind.

4. Engage is some friendly competition. Here at Tribe, we love to retreat to our newly established game room for a quick break. We’ve found that rewarding completed tasks with a game of basketball or putt putt is a great motivator. Incorporating games with a little competition or teamwork is also a great way to encourage collaboration and team building. Check out Tribe’s game room in action here.

Finding productivity through taking breaks is all about balance. If employees think they’ll be reprimanding for “not working,” they’re less likely to take the breaks they need. It all starts with creating a culture conducive to breaking.

Need help communicating the importance of balance? Tribe would love to help.

Two biggest hurdles for mobile internal communications

Making internal communications available on employees’ mobile devices is an increasingly promising option. More than two-thirds of Americans now have smartphones. And mobile allows us to reach employees wherever they are – even in the field or on the frontline.

It seems like an obvious solution, but there are two major challenges a company must address before launching employee communications via mobile. The first is that most companies are paying for fewer employee phones than ever, so communications would have to go to employees’ own devices. Some employees are fine with that; others are not so eager to share their personal phone numbers with the company.

The second challenge is the legal question of whether mobile communication requires employees to address company business when they’re off the clock. For high-level executives, this may not be an issue, but those are the folks who are easier to reach by computer anyway. For hourly workers, those least likely to have a computer at work, mobile could be overstepping the company’s bounds.

There are ways around both of these challenges, but each company must address them in ways appropriate to their industry and culture. An opt-in opt-out mobile program respects the privacy of those employees not willing to hand over their personal mobile numbers. For other companies, a custom app might be a more easily accepted solution since it sidesteps the issue of phone numbers completely.

There’s also more than one response to the legal question mentioned above. At some companies, it’s a non-issue. At others, the question alone is a deal breaker for any internal communications through mobile. There are also companies that have developed a reasonable approach in between the two extremes.

In the next issue of the Tribe Report, focused on non-desk communication, you’ll find a few best practices that could be useful for your own mobile strategies. If you’re not already receiving our magazine for internal communications professionals, please email to request a print or electronic subscription.



Thanks, Mom and Dad.

How much did your parents influence your career path? Depending on a lot of factors, that answer could range from “not at all” to “my dad is my boss.” But the majority of us, whether or not we like to admit it, wouldn’t be where we are without our parents. Interpret that as you will, but a lot of companies, including PepsiCo, are realizing the importance of familial influence in the hiring process.

“Engaging them with their hearts.” PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi stumbled upon this phenomenon of interacting with her employees’ parents when she first visited her mother after landing her current position. Her mom had invited a “parade of friends” to the house to show off her daughter, and Nooyi noticed the particular glow her mom had about her when her friends told her what a good job she’d done as a parent. It made Nooyi stop and think, “We’ve worried about buying employees, we’ve worried about bouncing them when things didn’t work, but we’ve never focused on engaging them with their hearts.”  So, she began writing thank you notes to the parents of her new direct-reporting hires.

Do companies actually hire your family? Well, yes and no. A company should not look at your pedigree to determine whether or not you’re hired, but in Nooyi’s case and the case of other executives, such as former Campbell’s Soup, Doug Conant who wrote almost 30,000 handwritten notes to employee’s families over his tenure, it’s a kind gesture meant to show appreciation for all aspects of their employees. After all, you’re not just hiring part of an employee. You want them to know you care about all of them and not just what you see from 9-5. This way, they feel truly engaged and fulfilled at work.

This is not to endorse the practices of the helicopter parent. There is a stigma within the Millenial generation of “helicopter parents.” You hear horror stories of parents coming to job interviews and talking to the boss on behalf of their children. That is, shall we say, unhealthy, and certainly not something we hope continues (please, stop).

Your parents just want and deserve to be proud of what you’ve achieved. So take some time to share your accomplishments with them. Thank them for the sacrifices they made to make you the person that you are, and hope that, maybe one day, Indra Nooyi will be sending you a thank you note.