The article in Short
Imagine you come into your office in the morning, finding your colleagues fully awake and focused at their workstations, greeting you with a calm "good morning, boss". Your operation is running at full speed while everyone remains relaxed and friendly. At lunch you enjoy a healthy meal and feel energetic, ready to tackle the afternoon meetings. You are fully productive all the way, until you leave the office in the evening, feeling ready for some adventure or family time.
Take a moment to ask yourself:
- What if you could freely design your office and workplace of the future to increase productivity and create a calm and effective atmosphere - what would that look like?
- How would people behave and treat each other?
- How smooth and low key would the operations go, while producing maximum results?
In this article we will explore the workplace of the future, what you can do NOW in order to increase energy and focus in your office, how you can reduce stress and what biohacking in general can do for your workforce. It's time for an upgraded work environment, to keep your staff happy and productive.
The workplace of the future
Scientific advancement, technology and the availability of information through the internet, all enable completely new ways of working. Through the principles of biohacking, the productivity per employee can be taken to the text level, health and energy can be optimized, unnecessary stress and pressure can be reduced. The results of proper implementation are a big plus in the bottom line due to the increased output. Biohacking will have a large influence on how companies operate and will help define the optimal workspace layout.
Let's look at how a typical workday unfolds in a newly biohacked company:
8:00 h // A morning full of Energy
You arrive at the office. The atmosphere is calm but filled with a buzzing energy of disciplined work. Some of your employees are quietly chatting over a coffee, exchanging on the most recent topics, while others are standing or sitting at their work stations, focusing on their screens. A friendly "good morning" comes back once you pass by, heading towards your office.
10:00 h // Low Stress Levels
Demand is high and the projects your company is supposed to finish are almost overwhelming. Still the stress levels are low. If the situation is heating up, your employees have the opportunity to retreat, calm down and re-collect their thoughts. Everybody is aware that short breaks and meditation will enhance productivity. That leads to a much more pleasant and respectful environment.
12:30 h // Healthy Lunch
Mid-day and your energy levels are starting to drop. A big lunch with lots of vegetables and healthy fats gets you and your staff back on track. Instead of heavy and tired, you feel light and energized. A good cup of coffee and you are ready to go again at full speed, organizing and leading meetings in the afternoon.
17:00 h // Late Afternoon
You still find your team working on creative projects or recapitulating the day. It clearly shows they enjoy being in this place and with each other. Older staff members are fully engaged, even in technical issues, exchanging knowledge with the youngsters. They still have the mental capacity to understand new technology and ways of working. At the same time they are physically strong and are more than willing to work until at least their mid-sixties. Why settle down when work is fun and fulfilling?
17:30 h // Heading Home
People are about to head home. They know that high performance requires recovery in order to be sustainable. You are finishing off as well, ready and energized to enjoy your private life and time with your family. Instead of being tired from a full day of work, you still got fuel left in the tank. This level of activity gives you balance and recharges your batteries.
This is what a typical work day could look like. Energized people collaborating in a calm and effective atmosphere. But is it really a future vision? Absolutely NOT. There are a lot of things you can implement TODAY, which will have a similar effect like in the example above and which will make your work place more productive, calm and happy.
What your company can implement today
In the concept of Minimalism, the first step is REDUCTION. Remove what is harming productivity inside your company or not providing any value. Look at the typical killers of energy and focus, like:
- Excessive blue light (halogen lamps and bright blue LEDs, especially after sunset)
- Noise (especially in open office plans)
- Overloading visual stimuli
Then establish and enable productivity factors like:
- Fresh air, as oxygen is vital for proper brain function (use plants to filter air inside the office and to block some of the noise)
- Natural light (either through windows or artificial light with proper wavelength like full spectrum lamps during daytime)
- A space to retreat, relax and meditate if needed (must be actively encouraged! 10 minutes can do wonders in terms of attention and focus)
Provide Brain Booster
That doesn't mean pills and smart drugs. We can rely on natural brain boosters (nootropics) which are widely used and accepted. Caffeine, which can be found in coffee, green tea or black tea, is a natural brain stimulant. Provide access to those beverages for your employees. Not only will it increase cognitive performance, it will also encourage communication between different members of your staff. The casual conversations at the coffee machine often provide cross-functional information and new insights, which would never be mentioned in more formal settings.
Also provide access to clear and fresh water and encourage your employees to fill up freely in order to stay hydrated. Dehydration leads to cognitive decline, which we don't want to see in our optimized work environment.
Provide access to High Quality Food
Food is fuel for our bodies. Providing access to the right kind of food for physical and mental performance not only influences productivity but also reduces stress levels and therefore defines how people are dealing with each other. The wrong kind of food (e.g. sugar or highly processed food) leads to spikes and crashes in blood sugar, which signal our bodies that we are in danger. This in turn creates stress and tension, making us irritated and unfriendly.
Heavily processed foods and carbohydrate-fat-protein combinations (like Schnitzel with french fries, Pizza, etc.) are hard to break down for your body, meaning you will use up energy to digest the food. That's where the typical food coma after lunch comes from. Providing satiating food for lunch, including lots of vegetables, healthy fats and whole foods, will have an enormous effect on performance in the afternoon.
Check out the Minimalistic Approach to optimized nutrition here.
The first step in each journey of optimization is awareness of the status quo. By providing knowledge and making your employees aware about the steps to a richer work- and private life, you lay the groundwork for an improved work environment. The information will find its way into the private lives of your staff as well, leading to synergistic effects. Nobody will ever want to go back to being tired and de-energized after having experienced a state of optimized mental and physical performance through the steps given above.
With this newfound energy comes a new spirit for work AND the private world, which in turn creates more satisfaction and happiness.
The success of future companies will largely depend on the sustained brain power of their workforce. With powerful technology available, the productivity of each member of your team will grow disproportionately. The importance of keeping those experts productive, learning and exchanging, becomes paramount. So does retaining the best people and keeping them energized and healthy. Especially the latter is greatly endangered by modern nutrition as well as a lack of self-awareness in terms of physical and mental health.
As a leader or company owner, you can provide support for your employees in those areas, thereby branding yourself as an employer who cares about more than just profit. Plus you don't have to wait x years to reap the benefits. You can implement the most basic steps NOW and create awareness to foster individual responsibility. Imagine your perfect work place NOW and acknowledge the importance of
to fully harness your employees potential.
Most humans WANT to perform on a high level. They want to give their best and succeed. Unfortunately a lot of companies seem to do the utmost to block this motivation. Stale air, noisy and overly bright offices, no access to healthy food and no chance to retreat and re-energize. At the same time corporations wonder why their workforce is burning out, unable to fully recover from the stress of the day. Go ahead and start the workplace revolution, in your own interest, your employees' and our society in general.
If you need more arguments to biohack your workplace, go read the article "10 Reasons for Corporate Biohacking".
If you liked the article and got some benefit out of it, I would be grateful if you would recommend it to people who should get that information, too. You help someone you love and at the same time spread the word about optimized performance. If you're interested in daily updates on better performance, follow @minimalist_biohacker on Instagram.