The article in short
Every company wants a healthy and productive work force as well as a great working environment. We are talking a lot about burnouts, an illness related to chronic stress and exhaustion. Other sicknesses like type 2 diabetes, coronary heart diseases, gastrointestinal trouble as well as high cholesterol come with it. The reality in companies is often different from what we dream of. With anxiety and depression increasing the risk of early retirement and sickness absence, it's time to pro-actively do something. Did you know that depression is a state of inflammation? That means it's a physical problem and we are able to influence that through biohacking.
By taking the approach of hacking, based on science and data, we can manipulate the internal and external factors for improved performance. In this article you will find 10 good reasons why biohacking should not only be applied by individual persons but also by corporations. If you would like to increase the performance of your workforce, reduce the sick leaves or improve the mood and working environment, you might benefit from bringing biohacking into your company as well.
The responsibility of companies
With publications on burnout having almost doubled from 2005 to 2011, we might have a case of increased perception of stress in our modern workplaces. For a lot of companies, sick leave poses a threat to growth and financial stability. A lot of sick leave cases might be traceable to changes in mindset as well as lifestyle. Also, our environment plays an important role in our general health and wellbeing, workplace included. Chronic illness puts more pressure on our corporations and the social system in general.
With the approach of biohacking we might get a step closer to the dream of a healthy, strong and energetic workplace. Reducing sick-leaves and chronic illnesses by prevention, like improving the mood of your employees with simple steps and habits. This is a huge workplace benefit and the topic of health is more popular than ever.
You don’t want to lead a company which is neglecting the number 1 factor of performance and life in general: HEALTH.
But we’re not talking about doctors or medicine. We’re talking about a more wholesome and targeted approach, becoming known as biohacking. Our medical system is trained on countless illnesses and the respective syndromes. Your doctor performs a certain pattern recognition, looking for cues to identify what you have. Then they are prescribing the medicine to eliminate the symptoms or the cause (seldom the root cause though). Wouldn’t it be better to look into the root cause of an illness in the first place, thereby taking into account the body and mind? Looking down on a cellular level, this would mean collecting data and analyzing the status quo.
Don’t get me wrong: Medicine and doctors are amazing and we are all going to rely on them at one point (or more) in our lives. But what if we could start to prevent illnesses in the first place? Wouldn’t that be more effective and cheaper as well?
Why biohack your company?
Putting the power back into your own hands. Not the easy road but the right one. You can analyze your company and optimize the environment, so you too can benefit from a much higher performance of your workforce. But what are the 10 best reasons to integrate biohacking into your company? Along with each of the 10 reasons you will find 3 easy and cheap ways to improve the performance in each category.
LESS SICK DAYS
By implementing habits which strengthen the immune system, learning how to respond to stress and looking into a more healthy lifestyle (without losing the fun of life of course) you might drastically reduce your sick days. That in turn will greatly improve productivity while reducing the cost of absence. Mindset also plays an important role in the wellbeing of a person. Training the mind to become more positive and selective, has beneficial effects on our physical wellbeing. Last but not least, the working environment plays a large role in the prevention of sick days. To name a few easy-to-implement examples:
- Make sure to get enough fresh air in the office (by opening windows and putting in air-filtering plants)
- Make sure the office is properly equipped with lighting (and the right kind of lighting, best adapted to the daytime)
- Provide standing options and encourage walking and stretching
IMPROVED MOOD AND COLLABORATION
Depression and anxiety is linked to inflammation in the body. That is interesting because it confirms that mental symptoms can have a physical cause. For example exposure to fungi (e.g. mold) in buildings has been shown to create a number of symptoms like headaches, brain fog or concentration issues, weak immune system or even chronic illness. By improving the environment we live or work in, we can support our Mitochondria (power-houses of our cells), which leads to a higher output of energy. That in turns increases our feeling of safety, thereby reducing anxiety. Physical stress will also lower the mood and atmosphere in your office. Just think of open office spaces with lots of noise, light pollution and other stressors which tax our nervous system.
- Check your environment for potential harms like mold, house dust etc.
- Put plants and carpets in open office spaces to dampen sounds (or provide noise canceling headphones)
- Implement proper lighting which gets close to natural light (large windows or non-flickering light sources)
HIGHER ENERGY LEVELS
Improvements on a cellular level, like the strengthening of our Mitochondria, result in higher energy levels. By applying simple steps in the fields of movement, recovery, nutrition and special techniques, a company can greatly upgrade the performance of its workforce. A higher expenditure of energy, combined with proper recovery and supply with NEW energy, actually brings us to the next level. Just imagine how energized you are during a hiking trip with your friends, compared to after an 8 hour day sitting at your desk.
- Implement standing options for office workers
- Learn about the circadian rhythm (especially for shift workers) and how light and stimulants influence how we sleep
- Make sure your workforce has access to healthy food and provide coffee as number one stimulant (but know that coffee is just an addition, a stimulant, not fuel on itself!)
Sleep is the number one influencer in terms of recovery. Remember the last time you had a horrible night of sleep and woke up, already feeling that your brain is slow? You probably dragged yourself through the day, trying to minimize the damage you cause. Not even to think about high performance. With a few tips, your employees will be able to sleep deeper and better, resulting in better recovery. Mindfulness practices like meditation will further increase focus and reduce the number of mistakes made.
- Educate your workforce on the importance of sleep for recovery and health
- Implement a space for retreat and relaxation and encourage mindfulness practices like meditation (it can be done within 10 minutes, click here to learn how)
- Create a system of buffer in your appointment culture (not planning one meeting after the other)
MORE BRAIN POWER
Better sleep and recovery lead to an improved cognitive performance. That includes better memory, creativity or motivation. While there is a big market for nootropics, which should enhance the cognitive performance, the fundamentals with the highest ROI are much easier to achieve. Imagine your workforce having better access to their brain power, processing information faster and more reliably. How would your company feel like if that was the case? What would the performance look like?
- Reduce stressors in the working environment
- Establish access to brain food like healthy fats (Avocados, MCT Oil, Olive oil) and avoid brain damaging foods (Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners)
- Encourage workforce to move and walk (as little as 15 minutes walking per day has a profound effect on cognitive performance)
By analyzing and collecting data in the first place, you are able to avoid unnecessary investments. It's the groundwork for effective (& efficient) solutions. Don’t throw money out the window by applying one-fit-all approaches, even though that is often the easiest thing to do in the first place.
- Invest enough time and money into a proper analysis of your status quo
- Look into the most minimalistic steps (with the highest ROI) like fresh air, plants, access to water, restriction of sugar, etc.
- Educate yourself and your workforce on the minimalistic basics of corporate biohacking
HIGHEST ROI SOLUTION
By applying the minimalist approach you will get 80% of the total results with the 20% of the most effective methods. Avoid perfectionism and optimization for optimization's sake. You can get lost in optimizing your business, even if the steps don’t provide more value to your team or your customers. Never fight with the law of diminishing returns. If you don’t know what this law is about, look it up on Google now.
- After analyzing your status quo, choose only the methods with the highest ROI
- Get professional counsel when in doubt what the most applicable hacks are for your current situation (spend some money here to save much more later on)*
- Every step counts - you scored a home run if your employees cut down on sugar, drink water and prioritize sleep
*One of my top weaknesses: I want to make it on my own, instead of asking for help early on. That has cost me countless hours and a lot of money, because I had to figure it out on my own and make lots of mistakes in the process.
IMPROVED PRIVATE LIFE OF EMPLOYEES
Higher energy levels and improved health will enable your workforce to do more outside of your company. They will give 100% at work and still be able to do something with their families or friends. They will engage in hobbies and their social life, which is greatly beneficial for recovery, mood and overall happiness.
- Implement corporate biohacking to ensure your employees have more energy
- Look at free time as recovery time, instead of unproductive time
- Encourage breaks throughout the day to avoid energy crashes
ATTRACTING SMART TALENT
Corporate biohacking and providing an environment of health and performance, is a great selling proposition for a company. It is a great benefit for potential employees and talented workers. Smart people know that health is the number 1 priority in life. Without it, everything else becomes so much harder. Smart people want to work for companies which appreciate and support that and provide opportunities to grow.
- Implement corporate biohacking and let others know
- Implement flex-time as well as access to healthy food and promote a culture of “health first”
- Provide access to courses and workshops to grow in terms of health and work
GET READY FOR THE FUTURE
The concept of biohacking and performance optimization isn’t new but has just gained a huge amount of attention. The general public is aware of the lifestyle issues we are facing and the impact on health and performance. Take a step into the future and be part of this global health movement.
- What could your workplace look like in 10 years from now?
- What if your workforce was healthier, happier and more productive?
- What if your working environment would attract the best talent available?
For a start you can look into the blog articles of Minimalist Biohacker or study our Instagram channel for inspiration (@minimalist_biohacker). Once you are ready to shift into a higher gear for yourself or your company, contact us for a first assessment of your status quo. Together we will look into the options for improved performance.