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How to Bring Life Back to Your Office

Are you in need of some recharging? Is your staff looking a little drained? We've got the tools and tips to help you get back in action.
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The quick way to get your energy back on track

When your energy takes a nosedive, it's time for a quick workday exercise session--no running shoes or spandex required. Joy Keller, a San Diego-based certified personal trainer and yoga teacher and IDEA Health & Fitness Association expert, taught us some simple moves. Only have time for one of these? Do the twist. "In yoga," Keller says, "twisting poses are believed to bring prana (energy) to the body's organs."
-- Katherine Duncan

Simple Torso Twist

1. Sit tall on a chair, feet on the floor. Inhale.

2. Exhale and twist slowly toward the right. Keep your head and shoulders relaxed. Twist only as far as feels comfortable.

3. Hold the back corner of the chair and maintain the pose for five breaths.

4. Unwind slowly, then switch sides.

Spinal Extension and Upper-Back Strengthener

1. Sit tall on a chair. Take a deep breath. Keep your navel pulled into your spine.

2. Interlace your fingers behind your head. Keep your rib cage "knitted"--don't let your ribs pop out.

3. Press your head into your hands and slowly lean back. Start the action from the hips, not the upper back. Repeat three to five times.

4. Next, extend your arms straight out to the side. (Think cactus or goal post.)

5. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, holding for a count of three each time. Do 10 repetitions.

Hip Stretch with Reach

1. Kneel on your right knee on the floor beside your desk. (Place a pad under the knee if you experience discomfort.) Balance by bending your left leg and putting your left foot on the floor in front of you.

2. Take your left hand, place it on your left hip at the crease and pull it back. Tilt the pelvis under while you do this.

3. Inhale and sweep the right arm to the side and up. Turn your head to the left and exhale. Inhale. Bring your arm back down to your side. Repeat five times.

4. Switch sides.

Zombie Attack

Is one person sucking the life out of your office? Follow our instructional script and get that energy zapper up to speed.

Manager: Hi, what's going on?!

Energy Zapper: Hey.

M: Dry toast for breakfast?

EZ: Yeah.

M: Well, I hope you're enjoying that … piece of … dry t--Listen, I've been meaning to talk to you about the meeting a few days ago. There's this thing you do. The meeting is going along nicely, people are throwing out ideas--good ideas, bad ideas, a wild adventure of thought is what it is, maybe it will lead somewhere, maybe it won't--and then you'll utter a subtle yet somehow brutal judgment of the merits of whatever is being talked about that just … it's a killer. Judgment is one thing, but delivered in such a deadpan, unfeeling way? That kind of judgment has a way of momentarily demoralizing everyone. The balance is upset. And with a meeting like that, the balance of any particular moment is everything. The concept for a meeting is: You bring ideas, and you also bring the energy that fosters and nurtures ideas. And you maintain that energy throughout the meeting--even when an idea is bad. It's professional empathy, really. But I've noticed you yawning. And staring at your lap. And checking your device. These things seem innocuous, but they're not. They're meeting grenades. Also, and there's really no other way to describe it: You're slumpy.

EZ: Slumpy?

M: Slumpy.

EZ: [stares]

M: They call you Eeyore. [sighs] Eeyore. EZ: What?

M: Winnie-the-Pooh's friend.

EZ: [stares]

M: Here's the thing: When you say an idea is bad, I almost always agree with you. But the problem is that any value of the rightness of your position is foiled by your insolent tone. I value risk-taking and energy and generosity as much as acumen and precision and candor. Right now you're all about the latter. I need you to balance things with the former. I want you to work here, but more thoughtfully, more energetically. Let's put it this way: Your professional comportment is that slice of toast. I need you to spread some butter on that toast. Some jam, maybe. An interesting jam, too. Peach. Maybe lingonberry.

EZ: [stares]

M: Any questions?

EZ: Eeyore was the donkey, right?

M: Yes. The glum donkey.

EZ: Wow.

-- Ross McCammon

Fire Starters

The best thing I've ever done to get my team fired up …

Image credit: … was to put up big-screen TVs throughout our offices that displayed real-time information on how the company was doing and how each individual contributed to our success. We were completely transparent with our employees--we opened up the books, shared our metrics, projections and any other key performance indicators to show what it would take to carry out our company vision. This created a culture where people weren't just simply doing a job but were enthusiastically working together as a team to achieve a shared goal. It created a mentality of "we're all in this together," which was highly effective in keeping everyone motivated. --Brad Keywell, co-founder of Groupon, Lightbank and others Image credit: … is empower them to solve hard, meaningful problems. Talented people want most of all to have an impact. Giving them the opportunity to do so is the best way to get them fired up to achieve great things. --Marco Zappacosta, CEO of Thumbtack Image credit: … was spending an hour playing the YouBar Olympics. I divided my kitchen staff into two teams, then they competed for speed in "sports" like blending ingredients, rolling bars and packaging them. My staff had a great time, so it was excellent for team building, and they got to see how fast it was possible to do each of the steps involved in their day-to-day jobs. --Anthony Flynn, owner of YouBar Image credit: … was have them star in a viral video, like a cover of "Call Me Maybe." We all secretly wish we were pop stars, right? Or maybe that's just here at Smule. --Prerna Gupta, chief product officer at Smule Image credit: … is to share stories and pictures of children receiving our donated toothbrushes. Our team is made up of individuals who share our passion for making a difference in the lives of children. Sharing the stories we receive from our giving partners fires them up and validates why they work with us. I even have a manufacturing partner that calls me at all hours of the day wanting to hear stories like these! --Eric Cope, co-founder of Smile Squared