The Science of Work

In the next 5 years up to 70% of work in front of a computer can be automated, and 44% of all skills will be irrelevant due to AIs impact on work, according to the World Economic Forum.

The most important skills of the decade are now 1. creative thinking 2. analytical thinking and 3. technological learning.

How do we design work in ways that represent this value shift? How do we ensure that we have the capacity for the increasing cognitively demanding nature of work?

By using cognitive, behavioral, and neuroscience strategies, showing the way to peak brain states and optimal mental performance – you can have the same cutting-edge techniques leveraged by the world's most innovative companies.

Below a Scientific glimpse into the insights about modern work life:


Digital distractions

  1. It takes 23 mins and 15 seconds to get back into a deep focus after you have been disturbed (Source: Professor Gloria Mark) 
  2. Today we get disturbed 56 times during a workday online and offline (Source: McKinsey & Co) 
  3. Today most employees spend at least 2 hours of their daily time recovering their mental concentration on key tasks. Time not spent working - but trying to get back to the most important tasks and responsibilities. (Source: Professor Cal Newport)
  4. It's estimated that knowledge workers are wasting up to 40% of their productive time at work today due to multitasking, task switching and digital distractions (Source: Professor Cal Newport)
  5. Case in point: At IIH Nordic all employees work in Pomodoro sprints the entire morning, meaning fully focused 25 min sprints, with no distractions. The afternoons are for meetings, emails and conversations. This ups their productivity so much, that they only work 4 days a week and has won the “Best Place to Work” award several times

Deep focus & flow

  1. When you are in your deepest focus or flow state
    1. You can learn the same in 10 mins, as you can in 60 mins being a bit distracted (Source: Professor Angela Ducksworth) 
    2. Your ability to solve complex problems is 500% better (Source: McKinsey & Co 10 year study) 
    3. Your brain takes in more information per second (Source: Aarhus University)
    4. Your creativity is up by 700% (Harvard University)
    5. Your brain is primed for deeper work and higher quality focus 2 days after - and you will experience more meaning and an increased happiness (Source: Gloria Mark
  2. Case in point: At LEGO one of their most creative and future-oriented divisions has made a rule: the first two hours of the day for your most important work. NO distractions, no meetings, no bookings - nothing but you and your most important work of the day. 

Meaning & wellbeing

  1. The key to “a great day at work” is having the opportunity to make progress on your most important work (Source: 12.000 people study by Professor Gloria Mark)
  2. Companies that reduce meetings with 40% sees a 71% increase in productivity, a 32% increase in engagement and a lowering of stress by 43% (Source: Henley Business School, Ben Laker et al.) 
  3. Stress at work makes you perform 45% less creatively on any task - and one very stressful day at work gives your brain two days of creativity hangovers. 2 days where your top thinking is down by 45% (Source: Professor Gloria Mark)
  4. Case in point: The CEO of TikTok has a “Bare Minimum Monday”, meaning that she does not take in meetings and instead gets to be ahead on her own core core-tasks. This allows you to not start your workday Sunday, but use your weekend for what it is for: restitution

Creativity & movement

  1. Today we sit down 90% of our working hours - but when you walk, you are 60% more creative than when you sit down (Source: Stanford University)
  2. Movement is the ON-button for your brain, as you shift your brain chemistry flooding your brain with serotonin, dopamine and norephinphrine - molecules that put you in a better mood, lowers your anxiety and increases your focus and goal drive. 
  3. If you walk less than 6.500 steps a day, your brain will start to show signs of depression (Source: Aarhus University)
  4. When you walk you increase the activity in an area of your brain that is responsible for understanding and producing speech, which makes conversations deeper, easier and better (Source: Professor John J. Ratey)
  5. Case in point: At Bjørn Borg everyone at the company exercise together Fridays at 11 am, with their CEO front of the class. This is a ritual that they find crucial for creativity and mental balance, and no one is excused - this is a mandatory future-proofing part of their work strategy.

Reflection and pauses

  1. Rest is one of 4 elements that determine your brains health along exercise, food and learning. (Source: Aarhus University)
  2. Short 5 mins breaks is enough during a workday, to restore your brain to an optimal,  rather than stressed, mode (Source: Microsoft Human Factors Lab)
  3. Rest activates the default mode network in the brain, that helps your creative thinking processes by making new connections within existing ideas.  
  4. Meditation will calm your brainwaves, taking them from the highly active beta to your calm alpha waves. This is the golden standard for the future of work, because in an alpha state of mind your creative outpouring is greatest by far.
  5. Today 44% of the Forbes 100 companies train their employees in meditation (Source: Altered Traits)
  6. Case in point: At Google their Chief Innovation Evangelist advocates meditation as a daily innovation tool, to build a future ready mindset. Meditation not only increases your creativity, lengthens your attention span and lowers your anxiety but it increases your EQ, your emotional intelligence and empathy that Googlers believe to be at the core of developing products with true value in the future.

To apply these insights to your way of working, join the Masterclass with your team or get in touch to tailor make a training program or book a keynote

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