Everything is the new Smoking.

What I took away from the 2015 CoreNet Symposium.

In June the Haworth by Europlan Team attended the annual CoreNet Symposium. Expectations were well and truly met, exceeded even! The calibre of the speakers, the venue, the entertainment, the food and the super smooth running of the event were all executed with effortless finesse.

The organisers have a keen sense of the mechanisms that ensure the symposium is successful; it runs to time with casual efficiency, the length of each session is perfect and the afternoon is lively and interactive to combat any slumps in energy and wavering attention spans. Lunchtime and breaks always offer the opportunity for collisions with familiar faces and the possibility to meet some new ones.

This year the theme was Wellness and Wellbeing in the workplace, however the quality and experience of the speakers ensured that the delivered content covered a broader spectrum of Wellness than just our places of work.
It was all there; physical, social, corporate responsibility, career and all the infrastructures that support the wellness spectrum. The building, the importance of well humans, how design and furniture supports a well organisation and builds a thriving culture.  There were moments of Attenborough in discussions about biophilia, our relationship with nature and how we can bring that into our workspace. Not just plants but good air quality, natural light, and waterfalls.

My mind got a little bit blown, I thought I knew things and I do know things but sometimes you need to be reminded of what you know and how you can apply that knowledge.

You’re probably familiar with the trope “sitting is the new smoking”. My summation of the learning I experienced at the Symposium is that everything is the new smoking if you do it too long and in positions that are not ergonomic.

Sitting, standing, using devices, staring, emailing, collaborating, sleep deprivation, drinking and even smoking are the new smoking.

Multitasking (at work) isn’t actually as awesome as we thought it might be, it’s probably better just to focus on one task at a time and finish it (where practicable). So close down some tabs and luxuriate in immersing yourself in one mission until it’s complete.

Spending time hunched over technology and devices is creating some unhealthy curves; our workplaces are becoming a sea of humans shaped like Montgomery Burns and Gollum. Take a big deep breath every now and then and look up, stand straight and uncurl yourself. Punch the sky!

Being too connected is making us disconnected. Tagging people you know and love in memes isn’t communicating. Tell someone a joke to their face and laugh out loud in real life.

Speaking of sleep – get some! If you’re not dreaming you’re missing out. We get into good, deep sleep states when we’re dreaming, and dreams (often the badder the better) can help us problem solve. Whatever the question, sleep is the answer.

Try and make life “more good” instead of settling for “less bad”. It comes back to the glass being half full, if you’re going to put the effort into making improvements, aim high, you’re worth it.

Get off your ass! An hour at the gym every day isn’t enough to combat the detrimental effects of time spent inactive during the day, and that includes standing. We need to move it, move it! Sorry for saying ass.

It is not better to burn out than fade away, it’s better to not burn out in the first instance. Take a break, even someone trying to find the cure for cancer needs to take a break. Have a rumble, do some yoga, go outside, death roar out of your car window on the drive home, write a letter, do a crossword, whatever it is, enjoy!

Be present! It’s not really rocket appliances but the evidence of our increasing inability to engage is everywhere, even at the supermarket. Don’t try and tweet me to move my trolley, say excuse me, use actual mouth words because banter is fun and good for our brains.

Some of this knowledge has created as many questions as it has answers. How do I remain productive if I need to move all day to stay well? If an email comes through and my phone is on Airplane Mode and I don’t hear the ping, do I really need to answer it? Do chickens have lips?

The push for Wellness is a movement that’s here to stay and our responsibility in the industry is to make it accessible to everyone.

This link takes to you to the symposium program if you’d like to view more about the speakers and follow them on social media.


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