Abraham Lincoln famously stated that he couldn’t think when his feet hurt. Many of us, on a daily basis, endure the low-level discomfort of inappropriate footwear - and we underestimate the effect that sore feet have on our productivity in the workplace.
It’s often only when we remove our shoes at the end of the day, that we experience that wave of liberation from the tip of our toes to the crown of our head.
You might be surprised to discover that there’s been a lot of researching into the productivity benefits of wearing slippers. Outlandish as it may sound, there have been recent academic studies exploring why you should start wearing your slippers while you work.
And now that modern slippers are bridging the gap between the traditional moccasin and the sneaker - such as the Classic by mahabis.com - slippers at work becomes more and more of a possibility.
A primary school in Derby has implemented a slippers-only policy for their pupils - but the decision to insist on "shoes-off" while in the classroom wasn’t one made flippantly.
There’s a growing body of sound academic and scientific evidence supporting the belief that removing your shoes and slipping into something a little more comfortable helps to focus your attention, your engagement, and make your working day more creative, functional, and productive.Who would have thought that slippers could be so fascinating?
A decade-long programme of research carried out at Bournemouth University (led by Professor Stephen Heppell) focused specifically on the benefits of slipper-wearing in school children. Summative conclusions established some unexpected insights with observed improvements in mental focus, creativity and productivity - extending way beyond the classroom and into the professional, office environment.
Professor Heppell observed that 95% of the children who read at home, don’t sit in an upright chair to do it. They read lying down - as adults do, while lounging on the sunbed during relaxing holidays. He observed that children are much more willing to relax and sit on the floor if they have no shoes on, and that improves their learning because it makes them feel at home.
These insights suggest that the more comfortable we are physically - in both our dress and our physical environment - the more productive we are. Therefore, the perceived conclusion is that the concept of dressing formally for work and sitting at a desk is somewhat counter-productive.
Schools in Northern Europe practice shoes-off/slippers-on policies as standard. Partly due to the snowy/slushy climate, slipper-wearing in the classroom is widely acknowledged to encourage focus and higher academic standards - as verified by the research at Bournemouth University.
Slipper-wearing in the classroom also promotes a cleaner environment, because the floors aren't contaminated with mud and dirt from outside - resulting in lower cleaning costs.
If something as simple as wearing a pair of slippers in the classroom promotes better behaviour, increased engagement, and more productive learning, it's clear that similar benefits can be gleaned from wearing your slippers in the workplace.
And the super-comfortable Luxe range of mahabis are perfect for integrating with your work outfit.
INSERT IMAGE 1 - Courtesy of https://www.standard.net.au/story/5600401/why-do-we-have-sore-feet/
Have you ever noticed that you feel an instant, liberating release from slipping out of your shoes at the end of a hard day on your feet?
And when you finally sink your exhausted feet into the enveloping, indulgent luxury of soft, warm cloth your entire body lets go; plunged into that inimitable hygge that makes the house feel like a home.
Why is that?
If we follow on from the findings of Professor Heppel and the observation of Scandinavian nations, we can make some assumptions:
* Being more relaxed helps focus the mind
* Productivity increases when the body is relaxed
* You should wear slippers at work
With the mahabis outdoor slipper range, wearing slippers at work has never been more accessible.
Why you should start wearing slippers at work
Dress codes have relaxed in many office environments - especially for those that aren’t customer-facing. If smart jeans and a t-shirt have become the new normal in your office, it’s a sign that your company culture has embraced the benefits of your physical comfort: they’ve most likely acknowledged that your physical well-being and a more relaxed environment are conducive to productivity.
Let’s face it - high-heels are rarely comfortable - and postural discomfort is a physical distraction from the mental requirements of most work environments.
The freedom to wear slippers at work, according to online footwear retailer, Shoegarden, has been “tremendously beneficial” for the performance of their office teams.
Can I wear my mules?
Big fluffy mules, however, are unlikely to project a professional image. There’s wearing work-appropriate indoor-outdoor slippers, such as the range on offer at mahabis.com, promoting extreme comfort and practicality; and there’s wearing novelty mules.
While relaxed dress-codes may promote a more comfortable and productive office environment, it's difficult to maintain a professional attitude and image in comedy slippers.
There’s a huge range of slippers available these days - and there are some that satisfy the need for comfort in a professional environment. mahabis has worked tirelessly to create a range of modern slippers that blend perfectly with your day-wear.
slipper designs combine the ultimate reassurance of the most comfortable slippers you might ever wear, with the practicality of sneaker-style soles - making your modern slippers perfect indoor-outdoor slippers.
Companies that have approached a more relaxed approach to business attire
Funky start-ups and creative industries are, statistically, more likely to adopt relaxed attitudes to business dress. They’re more likely to accept jeans and t-shirts and are much more likely to invite slipper-wearing during office hours.
Rainforest QA, a tech company based in San Francisco, is one such company. The first thing that greets you as you enter their HQ building is a shoe-rack full of slippers - supplied by the company.
Each employee gets handed a pair of indoor-outdoor slippers on their first day.
Heather Dorshap, of Rainforest QA, explained that their staff feel more welcome in the workplace. There's a general acknowledgement amongst their employees that the business is making a statement about reinventing the traditional workplace.
Dorshap commented that their staff are made to feel that they can bring their “authentic self” into the workplace and that their comfortable and inclusive workplace reinforces this. She suggests that the first thing that potential employees see when they turn up for interview is the slipper-rack - and that this small gesture, inviting comfort into the workplace, is something that helps retain their workforce.
The Slipperati isn’t just in the US!
Swedish company, Remente, have incorporated slippers into their office environment. CEO, David Brudo, claims that his company’s shoes-off policy helps the workforce feel less stress. He posits that a stress-free workforce performs better and produce more consistently.
Some more facts
The National Institute of Health in the USA discovered that 28% of Americans are tortured by chronic foot pain - not to mention the countless others who experience occasional discomfort from ill-fitting and impractical footwear.
In short, a large proportion of Americans simply accept low-level discomfort and the distracting dull ache of office footwear. Just imagine how differently we might all feel about work if we could feel just a little more at home there.
I wish I could wear slippers at work
There’s such a choice of work-appropriate indoor-outdoor slippers available these days, that no-one need ever know that you’re experiencing enviable freedom in the foot department. With summer slippers designed to let the feet breathe during hot weather, and specific outdoor slippers fashioned to blend into business attire, there’s really no reason why you can’t enjoy your work day as if you were at home.
We spend a large proportion of our waking lives at work - we deserve to feel comfortable.
After all, if Abraham Lincoln couldn’t think if his feet were painful, we’re probably all susceptible to the liberation of comfy feet.