Adrenaline rush in the morning makes office workers more productive in the afternoon

  • Date

    Tue 5 Feb 19

the ArcelorMittal Orbit

Office workers who took part in adrenaline-boosting activities before work felt similar benefits to those linked to exercise, according to a study led by the University of Essex.

Researchers discovered that taking a 40-second ride down the world’s tallest and longest tunnel slide - the ArcelorMittal Orbit at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - improved levels of happiness, productivity, creativity, energy and focus in workers.

The experiment saw more than 100 office workers tackling the 178-metre slide – which involved a 40-second ride down the UK’s tallest sculpture with riders reaching speeds of 15 miles an hour in the 80cm wide tube.

After the activity the researchers found that workers’ average stress levels fell by 25%, productivity rose by 20%, creativity by 22% and energy levels rose by 32%.

By 4pm, six hours after the taking part in the activity, stress levels of the participants remained 25% lower than before the activity and productivity remained 12% higher.

The impacts of exercise on wellbeing have been well-documented, however, this is the first time research has shown that similar affects can be achieved from a quick adrenaline-boosting activity.

To measure the psychological impact of the adrenaline rush, participants in the study completed a questionnaire immediately before and after their trip down the slide. This measured factors such as stress, motivation, creativity and productivity. Participants repeated the survey throughout the day to measure how long the impact of the slide lasted. Results were compared with a control group who did not take part in the activity.

The research was commissioned by International Quarter London (IQL), the new London neighbourhood at the gateway to Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, designed to promote improved employee health and wellness.

Dr Valerie Gladwell, Senior Lecturer at our School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences, who led the study said: “This research suggests that an adrenaline rush in the morning may help to reduce perceived stress levels for the rest of the day. This was one small study and while the results were positive more work needs to be undertaken to further these finding and fully understand the benefits of an exhilarating activity for workplace wellbeing.

“While an adrenaline rush might not be for everyone, other research we have conducted suggests that undertaking exercise within areas such as the green spaces at IQL may also help reduce stress levels and thus help overall wellbeing. Encouraging businesses to be proactive about wellbeing is essential in today’s world for both employers and employees.”