Is Your Environment Too Toxic For Productivity?

What a difference a week makes in weather - this time last week I was writing this blog on the beach!  What a difference it can make in what we are seeing in our environment news wise too.  I won't spend this precious weekend time of ours recounting the obvious and horrific events of the week, but I do want to reference it in terms of the levels of toxicity you could be experiencing day to day which can contribute to erratic moods and knee jerk decisions.

Whether or not they lead to extreme circumstances is not what I am focusing on here today, its the general every day 'narky' and energy draining effects it can have on your body, hampering your productivity.

This week I had the pleasure of introducing the well researched, passionate ambassador and clean living advocate Therese Kerr (yes Miranda and Matthew's mum) to one of my corporate clients as part of their monthly Wellness at Work presentations to speak to the team on the health interrupting chemicals we find in and around our homes and workplaces.  It was insightful and revealing to say the least and certainly a topic that in today's world we simply cannot bury our heads into the piles of left over plastic rubbish and ignore.

Your home and work environments could very well be the one contributing factor getting in the way of your otherwise sharp firing nervous and hormonal systems.  When I am working with chronically overweight, lethargic and grumpy patients and teams, my first port of call is to investigate what they are exposed to both in the diet and in the spaces around their habitual movements to reveal the clues as to why they are seeking fast but short lived energy hits (caffeine, sweet foods) throughout the day.

Let's take a look at the usual day in the life of an environmentally toxic person - could this be you?  As you read the points below - think about the level of productivity this person is bringing into the workplace.  Are you one of these every day people or do you have a team of them?

If you are in the job of hiring and performance managing a team, wouldn't you want to reduce the amount of performance management work you need to do?  What about the costs of turning over disengaged or chronically ill team members?

Here is what I see in most workplaces day to day - meet Roger and Hayley (names are irrelevant).  Roger and Hayley do not know each other, but they work together.  Strangely enough, their life patterns seem to follow a similar path...

  1. Alarm goes off at 6.30 am after a restless and thirsty broken sleep - about 500ml of water had to be consumed and eliminated throughout the night between the hours of 11pm and 5.30 am.  Snooze button is hit a few times to squeeze out a little more horizontal time, the decision is made to forgo breakfast and get something on the way to work.
  2. In a foggy haze, both of our stars shower (shampoo, soap and lotions/aftershave full of hormone interacting chemicals that later needs to be cleaned up during the day and sleep time) and dress for work, watch the morning news, register any one of disappointment, sadness, frustration or anger at the content and walk out the door.  So far, sleep toxins, glucose balancing hormones and mood hormones are flooding the body trying to be set into an equilibrium.
  3. Arrives to work, forgetting the coffee stop - that's ok - work has coffee on tap and a vending machine full of sugar - that will keep me awake.  Consumption complete - time to start work.  Oh - that's right - they didn't get the pile of yesterday's work finished - have to start there.  Energy has suddenly dropped into apathy and overwhelming thoughts of the list of things to do before 5pm.  And there's that annoying/space invading and overly loud person in the office that demands attention all the time (their nervous system is over wired right now too!)
  4. 10 am and the momentum has just started to kick in - but its time for a break.  Promises to drink more water already out of the window - lower back starts to ache - could that be dehydration or lack of exercise?  They'll most likely take some pain relief (toxin added in for liver and kidney to clean out) - to get through.  20 ml of water taken in to get the pill down.  No more till lunch.
  5. A couple of foggy and unproductive paper pushing and people prancing hours later - lunch kicks around and the choices are minimized to whatever the local sandwich shop or centre has on offer.  Decision to be good and get a ham or chicken salad roll. That sounds good when/if they need to report that in later to the other half (except the ham is full of chemicals and processed meats and the chicken/salad/bread is no doubt either genetically modified, plastered with pesticides that never get washed off and the bread is energy sucking in an hour or so).
  6. Fatigue from the lunch meal has kicked in by 2pm - hang on - isn't it meant to give them energy?  Why are they so sleepy in the afternoon?  Better get a coffee to kick us awake again.  Hopefully that will get me through the afternoon to 5pm.
  7. Restlessness and tension has been felt in the body all day.  Headache has now kicked in again, neck pain and another day nearly gone without getting much done at all - where did all that time go?  Oh that's right - they had to front up to the boss and explain the big problem they contributed to earlier in the week.  How did they miss that one?
  8. Home time and nothing is planned for dinner - just get take out or hit the freezer for a quick micro-meal.
  9. Asleep at 7pm and awake again 2 hours later feeling like a second wind has kicked in - TV till 11pm, hit the bed, get up and drink water and the night parade to and from the toilet and kitchen begins...

Although this is perhaps a little exaggerated - it really isn't far from the truth in most organizations.  If you even relate to half of this or know someone who can - they are not your most productive person when you look at their attendance and output over the month compared to a potentially different style of month where exercise, healthy eating, cleaner products and less chemical interaction is required to be cleaned up and reset over night.  Oh, and sleep is way better too - that's got to count for something!

If you need to address these potential productivity impedance in your team (or yourself) -  send us an email to and we can arrange for Nicky to come out and speak to the team.  If you would like to hear Therese Kerr speak at your next team meeting or training event - contact us at the above email address too.  We would love to bring a message to your team that inspires them to clean up and put out more effectively!