Businesses are constantly searching for innovative ways to encourage creativity, boost productivity, and reduce stress among their employees – all factors that we know impact a company’s bottom line.
We also know that implementing strategic change in companies of scale takes time. So what if there were a simple shortcut to achieving these outcomes?
We think we’ve found it at International Quarter London (IQL) in the form of an intense early morning boost of adrenaline.
That’s the conclusion of a rather unique research project we recently conducted in partnership with The University of Essex.
IQL sits adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford. It is within easy reach of the London Aquatics Centre, Lee Valley VeloPark, and Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, plus there are several running trails and cycle paths spanning the park’s 560 acres.
It’s also home to the landmark ArcelorMittal Orbit, which offers a hair-raising experience for those who ride its 584-foot tunnel slide which lasts for 40 seconds.
Given our proximity, we set out to test the theory that a rush of adrenaline first thing in the morning could see an uplift in a person’s levels of stress, engagement and energy throughout the day. We obviously had a hunch, but our aim was to collect a robust set of data that would stand up to scrutiny.
Overseen by a team from the University of Essex’s Health and Exercise Active Lifestyle research group, I joined more than 100 willing participants including those who work at IQL, as well as TfL and Unicef UK employees and even a City A.M. writer, to hurtle down the slide. The event was covered on this website in October.
Personally, I try to ensure that my morning routine regularly includes some form of exercise to get the blood pumping, taking full advantage of the Olympic facilities around IQL.
I was sceptical that something this different could replicate those stress-relieving effects. But the full results are now in – and they are dramatic.
According to the survey completed immediately after the ride, participants experienced a positive effect across all the areas measured by the study. Stress levels were down by 25 per cent, creativity up by 22 per cent, and energy levels up by a third.
Even more striking were the results from when the survey was repeated at 4pm.
Even at a time of day that’s often associated with a slump in productivity, the data was still tracking noticeable improvements in levels of engagement and energy, when compared to our control group. In particular, stress levels remained 25 per cent lower and productivity was 12 per cent higher.
Riding the world’s longest tunnel slide every day is not a realistic suggestion for businesses, but we hope that, as a robust piece of scientific research, these findings will add to the debate on improving workplace wellbeing and productivity.
In short, a time-efficient, intense adrenaline boost in the morning can make a real difference to an entire working day.
We are not suggesting this as a replacement for regular exercise, but it could be a useful option for increasing productivity and reducing stress on days when there is limited time for working out.
The question for businesses now must be how can they put this research into practice for the benefit of their employees’ wellness. With a little creative thinking, I’m sure that employers could come up with some great ideas.
Or they could come visit us at IQL, and experience the original adrenaline rush to get those ideas flowing.