Outside of our lunch, micro management allots us ten minutes twice a day to get up from our desks and pump much needed blood into our muscles. “Our time must be accounted for”, I am told, as bathroom breaks are looked upon with suspicion.
The culture here is that breaks are taken in the lunch room, sitting.
Lunch is also taken in the break room, sitting. Work is done at the computer, sitting.
Despite being available by cell and email, employees feel a need to be by the intercom ready to clock back in at a moment’s notice.
I have deviated from this norm. I drink a lot of water and tea and use my bathroom breaks as a quick moment to stretch. During lunch I would rather go outside and take a walk, run, go to the gym and get some needed vitamin D. By doing this I stand out.
I would like to fit in but I don’t. I would love to inspire but I haven’t.
The one exception to the rule is smoke breaks. Smoke breaks are always allowed, accepted, and forgiven.
A smoker in her late fifties recently had her second heart attack. She has worked here since the humble beginnings (15-20 years) and is very close with the owners. She is a workaholic who comes in on the weekends and stays working past bedtime on a nightly basis. She eats hot pockets and Taco Bell, always seeming tired and agitated. Will she make it to retirement and beyond?
It is a sad unfortunate truth. Fifteen years of misguided and uninformed policy and culture can take quite a toll on our bodies and minds. The owners who are her friends, see her issues but are also stuck in their ways, unwilling to take a good luck at the culture they support and facilitate.
With rising healthcare costs, and a negative shift in workplace loyalty, why are we allowing companies to dictate such harmful practices?
Some young and forward thinking companies have addressed these issues but they are still few and far between.
A cultural shift in the corporate-way is long overdue.