After chatting on Twitter for a while and a lengthy Skype chat with Johan, I wanted to bring him on Nine to Five Vitality to share his fantastic software with you.
The thing I like most about this is that Johan & his colleagues at Raisoft created a piece of software to solve their own problem, that of pain and discomfort from spending too many hours at a desk.
The solution is a simple but very effective one, as you will see from his answers to my questions below.
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
I am a co-founder, partner and Chief Knowledge Officer at Raisoft Ltd. in Finland – a company that provides solutions for the healthcare sector, primarily for elderly care.
I have worked for the company since it was founded in 2000. Currently, I am a responsible for an exciting new product for wellbeing at work. The product, Smart Break, was launched in March 2016.
What sparked your interest in wellness software, and wellness in general?
One of my earliest summer jobs was to develop software for a hospital. That experience opened my eyes for how important health and wellness is.
At Raisoft I have actively been following the healthcare industry, and lately also the wellness industry. I also like to take care of myself, for example, by going out for a run 2-3 times a week.
Where did the ideas for Smart Break come from and how did you create it?
About 20 software developers work at Raisoft. Some years ago we started to notice how many of them complained about neck and shoulder tension, pain in the lower back, etc. Most of the symptoms were linked to prolonged sitting.
We decided to consult a physiotherapist, and received some really good advice how to tackle the problems. The key thing was to start doing three minute exercises twice a day at the workplace. At first we used printouts to guide us through the exercices, but we soon came up with the idea of using videos instead.
One thing led to another, and soon we had created a sophisticated cloud-based software solution that automates the whole process, and provides some useful stats too.
What problems did you have along the way and what was done to overcome them?
I guess the big thing is how to get people motivated, especially those that aren’t active in their leisure time. We tackled that by telling our staff why it’s necessary to start doing the micro break exercises, and we also introduced a rewarding system.
Every two months we have a prize draw and everyone who has participated in Smart Break during the previous two months can win. It’s a randomized draw, but it’s possible to increase chances of winning by exercising more.
What advice would you give to someone who is feeling unwell from sitting at their desk all day?
I’d like to encourage people to start taking baby steps towards sitting less during the workday. Movement is important to get blood circulation through the muscles. Do some ‘microbreaking’, i.e. regular, small breaks from being stuck in one position at work.
No chair, no matter how comfortable, can protect you from the potential hazards of sitting. At least twice a day, use the break to actually exercise. Science tells us that 4.8 minutes of exercise per day is enough.
By using Smart Break it’s easy to do the right moves, specifically designed for office workers. At Raisoft we do a three minute Smart Break twice every day – at 9 am and 2 pm.
If anyone reading wants to contact you, what’s the best way for them to do so?
Steve’s Notes on trying Smart Break
I’ve been trying out Smart Break for a few days and I’ve found all the micro breaks and activities to be very well-suited to office work and clothes – there’s nothing there that you can’t do in work!
It’s also a lot more of a workout than I was expecting, which has been great. The interface is simple and to the point – you won’t get lost or distracted – just straight to the activity breaks.
Check it out here: http://www.smart-break.com/en