How to Help a Good Idea Take Off
Top leaders play a key role in creating an environment that encourages Total Health
Instant Recess® is part of Kaiser Permanente’s campaign to help employees, managers and physicians feel their best and be role models of total health in their communities. Sharon Peters, the chief administrative officer for the Southern California region’s Kern County facilities, is setting a goal of having every UBT do Instant Recess®—quick group exercises aimed at incorporating physical activity into a normal workday—every day, twice a day. Peters explains how she is integrating Instant Recess® into her area’s culture of wellness—and how others in similar leadership positions can as well.
Instant Recess® is good for the body and good for the soul. It’s a way to give ourselves permission to do something for ourselves, to take care of ourselves.
A couple of months ago, Holly Craft-Moreno, the region’s Total Health labor lead, coordinated an Instant Recess® for our entire medical center area, which includes 12 buildings. People loved it. It broke down some barriers because we were all doing this one thing together. I hope it becomes part of our culture every day.
As a leader, I can’t just say, “We’re going to do this.” People need to understand the “why” behind it. I see it as a huge morale booster. Better customer service will be an unexpected consequence. Cranky staff gives cranky customer service. You cannot be present for someone else if your energy is low. And if teams feel empowered, it will translate to the customer.
Our next step is to anchor it and put in the infrastructure. Without infrastructure, it’s just a good idea. I know that people struggle with how to make it happen. So the folks leading our wellness work are creating an infrastructure, including things like times of day and a variety of routines for the exercises. My goal is to have the music go on the overhead speakers at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. every day and do this across the medical center for two minutes.
Our lab UBT currently does Instant Recess® twice a day. They get patients involved. What we’ve learned from that UBT is that this has to be part of the normal workday. Our care experience team and call center are also doing Instant Recess®.
You have to make this simple enough that everyone can do it. So that means the activities are more like “raise your arm over your head,” not “do 10 jumping jacks.” I think people will lose whatever inhibitions they might have after doing it awhile.
It just takes two minutes. We should do it. We can find two minutes. It’s the right thing to do.