I remember a while ago reading Loic’s post about the future and how it would look (he also did a talk on it). In there he talks about his daily life in the future, what exists, what doesn’t and how it simplifies his life.
Since a lot of people are throwing around the “sitting is the new smoking” phrase, it’s time to address this issue.
If you remember, I talked about why your standing desk should be thrown out and you should squat instead. I still believe you should squat, but I think it has to be balanced somehow.
It all begins with mindfulness
When you leave your house, an Uber is waiting for you. It will self-drive you to your work place, which is about 30 minutes away from home. During the drive, computers and phones are not allowed.
The first few instances of work, shouldn’t be work, but mindfulness.
You have two options to choose from, in the back of the Uber:
- Postural Massage
You want to try out both, so you start with Meditation.
The back of the car darkens and colours similar to the polar lights start to slowly come up. You can do a guided session, a sound session or a calm session.
You choose the guided session. A monk, named Frank, gives you a few instructions (“close your eyes, relax, breathe in, breathe out”) to get started. It automatically times for 10 minutes, because that’s your usual meditation time.
Frank talks slowly about the importance of breathing and being aware. Around you, you hear bird noises. It feels like a forest.
In a normal sound session you’d choose the preferred sound around you, out of multiple options. There are sounds like sea sounds, birds chirping, forest rain and others. All calming, no notifications.
The calm session makes the back of the car entirely soundproof and just darkens the room without any kind of instruction.
After about 10 minutes, your session is over and you open your eyes, stretch a bit and move your legs around. It feels great!
Because you still have some time left, you’d like to test out the Postural Massage in the car so you choose that option.
The back of your seat changes into foam rollers and from the sides two more foam rollers and lacrosse balls are coming out.
(Imagine this in a car setting)
Instead of you doing the active foam rolling, the instructions just say “relax your right bicep, good, breathe out, better”. Your whole body gets pressured and relaxed at the same time. It also works around your chest, because you tend to slouch over the desk when your sitting, so your pecs are really tight and need to be opened up.
The foam rollers slowly roll back and the seat changes into normal, the lights come back on. You have reached your destination.
Time for some movement
You take your bag, which is a backpack (any other bag would mess with your spine…), put it on and go into the office building, which actually looks like an art building or a museum.
Your office is on the first floor and to reach it, you have to climb the steepest stairs you’ve ever seen. Using your hands is not only encouraged, it’s necessary.
If you’re feeling a bit tired, you can also use these stairs:
There are multiple ways to reach the first floor. Another cool option is to climb up a wall:
What looks like play in the untrained eye, is actually activating all kinds of different muscles and neurological ways, to help you perform better at work. You’re excited, your heart is a pounding a bit faster, but you’ve reached your destination.
You’re ready to crush it at work.
Choose your desk
There is a fixed seating plan for everyone at the company, but moving around is strongly encouraged. You have couches, beds, standing desks, squatting desks, normal desks.
You choose your own place, a desk that moves up high, to use as a standing desk and moves down low, so that you can squat and work at the same time.
You have a meeting at 10am, and it is currently 8.30am.
You quickly go to the kitchen and get a some Action Tea to start your day.
Since you have a lot of energy still, you start with a standing desk position. While sipping your coffee or tea, you’re working on your three most important tasks for the day, which you have defined the day before, with your team.
You get through two important tasks and at 9.30am, switch to a squatting position.
Squatting for 30 minutes might be a bit rough, since you just started squatting at the office, so after 15-20 minutes you get up, and walk around and prepare mentally for the meetings.
In the office of the future, there are no sitting meetings. Seated meetings take way too long, make everybody slouch forward and lose focus.
There are three kinds of meetings in the office of the future:
- Meetings in a squat
- Hanging meetings
- Walking meetings
This specific meeting is a hanging meeting, let’s get through the technicalities.
Hanging has many benefits for the human body, such as improved posture, improved shoulder girdle strength and it helps alleviate lower back pain.
However in the modern times, humans stopped moving their hands up and lost that part of the shoulder range. Now when they want to lift something up (their kid) or change a lamp at home, they mess up their shoulders or hurt their neck.
Hanging can help not only with your shoulder health, but also your wrist and elbow health. You basically let gravity do its work on the human body, which is why hanging is encouraged and included in the office of the future. Back to our regularly scheduled program:
You walk into the meeting room and what you see is this:
You see monkey bars, some with rings attached and some with just the bars.
What might look funny to you, is actually really common in the office of the future. People hang on the monkey bars in the meeting rooms and discuss business.
Because hanging can be quite exhausting, you regularly come down from the bars, shake it off a bit, keep talking and then jump onto the rings or a different part of the bars.
When it is not your turn to talk, you switch between active and passive hanging, to work your shoulders:
After just 15 minutes (and about 4-5 minutes of accumulated hanging), the meeting is over and the points are cleared. Everyone is on the same page and you go back to work.
It’s 10.15am and you get a little hungry, so you go to the snack section of the kitchen and grab an organic apple (remember the dirty dozen and the clean fifteen?) and a handful of nuts.
Walnuts can help the brain to function at its optimal state, because of the Vitamin E, folate and omega-3 fatty acid contents.
As soon as you walk back to your desk, your desk sends a friendly reminder that you need to drink more water, to be productive and have more energy. So you grab a glass of water and sip it while going through your other tasks.
Lunch time and post-Lunch nap
Noon is near and the hunger creeps up on you, especially because you have switched from squatting back to standing and were shortly sitting for around 30 minutes.
Your office has catered lunches, based on your dietary requirements to meet your goals. You’re trying to lose a little weight around the waist, which is why your lunch is low-carb, high-protein and high-fat.
You get a chicken breast salad, with some avocadoes and a tasty dressing. The salad also has some Quinoa in it, in order for you to be not too low-carb so that your brain still functions properly, even without the sugar crash.
Because Vitamin D is encouraged and helps with the mood of the employees, everyone is encouraged to eat on the terrasse.
When it’s a rainy day, the terrasse closes the upper part and introduces some artificial lights, in order for the people to feel happy.
Before you go crazy and think that this is absurd, hear me out. In a Western and Northern European countries, the sun is sometimes shining too little, leaving some people with a serious deficit of Vitamin D. This can cause a bad mood or worse, depression. If you look at the suicidal rates in those countries, they are way too high. Artificial light can help prevent that. I personally use a light like this for 30 minutes every day in Winter, when I’m sure that I won’t get enough sun light exposure:
It helps extremely with the mood, you’re just generally more happy! 🙂
Socializing is very important, so you’re encouraged during lunch to not sit in front of your computer, but to sit with other people and discuss everything but work.
After your lunch, you decide to take a nap, in order for your afternoon productivity to be on par with your morning efficiency.
You go to the meditation room, which also has a few nap places, but the room is about 15min. away from the office. That means you can use this time to have a mindful walk.
It clears your thoughts and calms you down after your exciting lunch with great co-workers.
When you reach the nap room, you are required to remove your shoes, but don’t worry, the room is just the right temperature so you won’t feel too hot or too cold. You choose a nice and comfortable place and take a nap for 20min. The room looks like this:
The place your napping in has vibrating sensors around it, so you gently get woken up after around 21min. because you were just about to fall into deep sleep.
You wake up, stretch a bit and feel extremely refreshed. Back to work!
In the afternoon you have one more meeting, a bilateral with your boss, at around 3pm.
Before that you decide to get on with some work, but want to work from the couch, since you’re still digesting the tasty food you’ve had!
You finish off task after task and after about one hour, get a notification, saying you should get up, move around a bit and drink some water.
Giving yourself a creative pause is always a great way for more inspiration. You have a great idea while drinking the water and write it down.
Just before 3pm, you change your shoes, because you know the next meeting is going to be a walking meeting.
The office you’re working in has a beautiful garden with grass on the floor and different flowers, trees and herbs around it.
You meet your boss at the beginning of the garden.
The scenery looks like this:
There is also a room if you want to talk specific points, which require tech equipment:
“Shall we take the shoes off?” your boss asks, to which you happily nod. There is something magical, something freeing and relaxing about walking barefeet in the garden grass. It balances you out somehow.
Your walking meeting lasts for 45 minutes, and you walk through the beautiful garden with your boss, discussing all kinds of important topics. She disagrees on certain topics with you, but you see her point and find a consensus with her. The perspective in the garden, fills you up with inspiration and relaxation and you can’t wait to work a bit more.
When the meeting is over, you decide to stay a bit longer and work outside, because the weather is so beautiful.
Since your mobile phone was with you, all the important data was with you as well, so you have instantly a mobile workstation you can work in.
You choose to stand next to a tree, under the shade and get some more work done.
It’s almost 5pm and before going home, you quickly jump into the pool to refresh a bit.
A quick swimming session for about 30 minutes is just what you needed and then you dry off, take a quick shower and go back to the office.
Almost everyone has left, some people are playing Ping-Pong and most of the people are relaxed. They all finished their 3 most important tasks and did so without it feeling like heavy work at all.
You say good-bye to everyone, climb down the stairs and exit the building where you Uber awaits you.
A nice future
As you can see the office of the future, is pretty nice and relaxing. Working at an office doesn’t have to be a drain and unhealthy for all the parties included. It can be quite relaxing with a few hacks.
I know that some of the topics mentioned above might be a bit difficult, but I think we can slowly start to revolutionize the work place, one by one. It starts with a meditation session in the morning, or catered lunches for the team. With walking meetings or relax zones. It doesn’t have to cost a lot.
I have a bunch of other ideas that I’d like to see implemented in the office of the future and will share them from time to time on this blog here.
Let me know if you’re interested in working together to create a future like this.
Fix your posture!
Learn how to fix your lower back, neck and shoulder pain by fixing your posture in this free email course. Sign up on the right side!