Anyone who works in an office knows that energy levels can often take a major hit around 2–3pm and productivity goes way down as a result. Even with a conservative estimate, this equates to around 24 unproductive workdays a year! But there are ways for employers and employees to get this time back. Some employers even hire coaches to help people avoid the 3pm slump; eBay, White Stuff and Lloyds all brought in a professional coach to help their staff maintain their energy levels throughout the day. There are a few changes you can make that will drastically reduce sleepiness in your office and they aren’t expensive to implement. In the long run, battling the 3pm slump will save you a lot of money and work hours.
Manage stress to sleep well
Sleep is the foundation of any strategy to oust the 3pm slump from your workplace. If you have slept well it is far less likely that your energy levels will crash throughout the working day. You can take responsibility over your own personal sleeping pattern, but not of your colleagues or employees. However, he biggest enemy to sleep for any office worker is stress, and that is something you can definitely fight influence. A study by the International Stress Management Association found that more than half of workers suffer from stress for periods of up to a year. They also found that over a quarter of people have actually taken time off work due to stress. In fact, stress is the biggest single contributor to people taking sick leave in the UK.
Needless to say, solving stress is complex, as a variety of things stress out different people. Also, stress manifests in people in different ways and is hard to diagnose sometimes. A very common side-effect of stress is insomnia and drowsiness, as well as an inability to concentrate. The best advice is to foster a good, nurturing work environment and have an open-door policy with complaints and worries. Sometimes stress is born simply out of frustration, and getting it out of your system by ranting to the boss or manager will help. However, the main cause of stress is often understaffing, so make sure you assess your workload often and make every effort to make sure you aren’t stacking too much work on your employees.
Food – Make it easy for employees to eat well
Now that you’ve sorted out sleep, food is the next most important contributing factor to battling the 3pm slump. Junk food, high in carbs, fats, and sugars, cause a reaction in your body that tells it to stop looking for food and to start focusing on digesting it. Higher sugar levels also stimulate the production of a hormone in your brain called orexin that causes you to feel sleepier. And on top of this, high levels of insulin in your blood (after eating a big lunch) also increases the levels of melatonin (the main hormone responsible for sleepiness). So eating a big, unhealthy lunch, full of carbs, fat and sugar can make workers incredibly sleepy. This is a big cause of the 3pm slump!
The best way to avoid this is to encourage workers to eat well. You don’t need to patronise them by telling them what to eat for their lunch, but you can make sure that they can get hold of the right kinds of lunches somewhere close to work. Rather than making sure they’re stuck with Subway and Greggs, you could arrange with another food venue close-by that serves healthier food to give your workers discount in exchange for repeat custom. The rule could even be that they only receive their discount if they eat healthy food. Everyone’s a winner with this tactic!
Here’s a small list of some of the most energising foods out there:
- Oranges are full of vitamin C, which boosts your energy levels two hours after you’ve eaten them. Leave oranges around the office, or hand one to every employee yourself!
- Fish, especially oily fish, rich in omega-3 oils is great for energy levels. It’s hard to encourage your employees to eat fish, however, and it may stink up the kitchen a little…
- Blueberries are jam-packed with antioxidants that energise our bodies. You could perhaps buy an office smoothie maker to boost energy as well as morale.
- Greek yoghurt’s probiotics have been proven to improve the decision-making portion of people’s brains (especially women), so Greek yoghurt would be a perfect accompaniment to the blueberries and the smoothie maker!
- Dark chocolate (not milk chocolate, sorry!) increases the flow of blood to your brain, making you more alert and awake. It can improve your mood as well, making it an office essential!
Coffee is King!
Coffee and caffeine in general can play a huge role in keeping an office awake and alert throughout the day. We say this a lot here at Amore Coffee, but if you aren’t already, you really should offer free coffee and tea to your employees. Coffee has been proven to positively affect people’s health in a variety of ways:
- Coffee improves memories and can even reduce the risk of dementia
- Coffee improves mental health by stimulating the production of serotonin (the happy hormone) – this also helps with stress
- Coffee improves your alertness and decision-making abilities
- Coffee positively affects your lungs, making them open up a little, allowing you to get more oxygen into your system. This improves energy levels significantly
Needless to say, coffee is the incredibly beneficial to the workplace and it’s in every office’s best interests to encourage employees to drink coffee. The best way to do this is to make sure you have nice coffee. The best coffee, without a doubt, is from specialist coffee machines. And as a standard, barista-style coffee machine would make a mess of your office kitchen (and require a little too much time and effort from your employees every time they want a mug of joe, it’s best to invest in an office coffee machine which uses pods instead of filters. This way, employees can make themselves a beautiful cup of coffee without spending ten minutes making it.
It’s also a much better idea to rent or lease your coffee machines, so read all about the ins and outs of this on our coffee machine rentals page. One of the biggest advantages is that here at Amore Coffee we have a trained team of engineers ready to fix your machine should something go wrong. You can also check out the details of each of our specialist coffee machines, such as the Krea, Koro Max, Korinto, and Solista. If you have any questions about coffee or about leasing our coffee machines, please get in touch.
And that’s it. If you take care of sleep/stress, food and coffee, then you’ll be well on your way to vanquishing the 3pm slump for good!