“Companies Take Note, Lessons From Apple”

Having just finished a series of classes for Apple Computers here in Cork, I thought sharing some of the experience may be helpful for any companies out there who are looking to recruit the best of today’s talent.

Thanks to companies like Apple, Ireland is gaining ground as the IT hub of Europe. Leading economists show our ICT industry as the fastest growing sector, this is the Holy Grail for attracting eager and ambitious young talent and is predicted to grow even more.


An Apple (Work Experience) A Day…

Tai Chi at apple (600 x 400)A friendly and enthusiastic Helena O Sullivan from the Ergonomics team greets me in reception. After a quick briefing, a plush and extremely quiet lift effortlessly transports us, up through four floors of a beautiful ultra modern building, kitted out with minimalist furniture, catering for both taste and functionality.

We enter a large area, of football pitch proportions, the air-conditioning a welcome respite from the stuffy July humidity on the streets below. Row after row of eager twenty and thirty some-things of varied nationality, sit scanning screens, their desks adorned with flags and photos and guess what? Most looked fit and I noticed most had, VHLs.. Very Healthy Lunches. Apple’s futuristic workplace environment coupled with a healthy ethos had these guys thriving. Motivation, focus, teamwork, and stimulation in spades.

Healthy Employee  = Productive Employee

My Tai Chi classes are just another cog in the dynamic Apple wheel that seeks to bring a whole new meaning to health and safety. Apple realise if it wants to recruit and attract the best professionals, passionate about company and career, it makes good business sense to create a working environment that contributes to a happier, healthier and therefore more productive work force functioning at maximum potential.


The Old Workplace Model

You don’t have to be a computer whiz kid to know that sitting in large stuffy rooms for long periods, bent over and scanning screens will dramatically increase the incidence of musculoskeletal disorders and repetitive strain injury. Not to mention growing obesity and heart related problems workers get from too much sitting, having little or no exercise stimulation and snacking on high-sodium, sugary foods, all leading to declining ambitions and rising absenteeism.

See Aviva’s Health Insurance survey on Irish Workplaces  carried out last year here….

What I saw was in sharp contrast to this outmoded attitude. It takes courage for companies to influence shifts in lifestyle and diet in their employees psyche. This however could be easier than most companies think because today’s youth are into their health and fitness a lot more than previous generations.


Three ways towards workplace change

Offer healthy food alternatives

Canteens: While tea and coffee are the norm, why not have it also equipped with juice machines, herbal teas and good quality water. If carbonated drinks loaded with sugar or aspartame, can clean a copper coin, ask yourself what can it do to your employee’s insides long term? Stressed out workers may reach for convenience unhealthy food and drinks but if you offer them a choice your half-way there. Would it cost a lot to place a few packets of raisins and nuts, even fruit in the vending machine?


Make equipment supportive

Chairs with lower back supports reduce pressure on the back and the addition of a tilted footrest will take pressure off your feet, hips and knees. This is especially true if your feet don’t naturally rest flat on the floor when you’re sitting. If a workstation has to be shared, being able to adjust it, is a must. Check out ergonomic products which are now more readily available.


Motivate your team

My Tai Chi classes got the team stretching and performing deep abdominal breathing. It got them away from the desk, got them outdoors and most importantly got them sharing some laughs together. Regular doses of such stimulation from any wellness professional should be seen as a positive step in keeping the best talent, healthy in mind and body long term.


Apple is expanding, it’s mega competitive and now rigorous in it’s push for changes to the workplace status quo, on behalf of it’s employees but also on behalf of it’s mission. Apple knows offering attractive salaries simply won’t be enough to keep Helena’s generation for the long haul unless they believe that they will remain healthy while working there.

…..Simple cost effective changes, and building something to last….…. Tai Chi anyone?

You can contact Frank Murphy on www.taichiclassescork.com or call 087 2704478.

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Posted in Stress management, Tai Chi at Work, Tai Chi for Health, Uncategorized

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