Data-based program to improve cognitive resilience.

Knowledge work changed the world and working from home changed knowledge work.

Knowledge work is based on thinking, which mostly requires creativity and innovation, but also working with different people with different work experiences. Experience has shown that today’s knowledge work has a tendency to crumble easily and to encourage people to give up and quit. This is because the knowledge work is highly straining on the cognitive side, this requires a lot of effort to keep the mind strong and efficient, even though the strain is still there.

Working at distans, being creative and innovative has proven to be more straining.

When working at home became mandatory, it highlighted the starining elements of knowledge work. Familiar routines were removed and we as individuals have been forced to find new ways to replace the old. Knowledge work is highly social and time showed that it is hard to create a healthy and creative work community with network connections, for example meetings were shown to be more straining. At the office breaks naturally occur, but at distans breaks are lacking and at worst occasions a constant flow of meetings and tasks without any breaks. Distans work has emphasized the fact of distractions and other annoyance factors as well. This has made a new requirement for some employees to start leading themselves, where it wasn’t needed earlier. Which has caused more stress and strain on the cognitive side.

Cognitive strain is a devious companion

Cognitive strain is impossible to avoid, like muscle strain during exercise, but the cognitive is harder to recognize. Because we do not usually react when we are cognitively exhausted and remember its importance. This is set in our work culture and our way of thinking that we need to work no matter what. When exhausted we are more error prone and our creativity is weakened. We start to focus more on negative signals and social situations become tougher to manage. At worst the cognitive is weakened or doesn’t exist which leads to work fatigue and extensive leaves. Work-Health organization Helt has proven this phenomenon in autumn 2020 and so called f-diagnosis, which means mental health problems have exceeded everything else in work leave reasons.

“It has been a pleasure to take part in the KorpiForRest coaching program. During the trial period, I have learnt during my workday to take breaks and give my mind enough time to restore and relax. Significant finding was to learn and to invest in long enough breaks even in the busiest of days, so that work efficiency and thoughts would stay healthy in the toughest of tight scheduled days.”

Satu, ENEFIT Oy

Routine breaks lead to better health and results.

To achieve better health, we need breaks and moments for ourselves. Research has brought up that we need a break between every 30-90min. Within customer service research showed exhausted people are 25% less effective. You can presume in knowledge-based workplaces the gap is going to be even larger, than in customer service.

When we recognize our needs and the context around it, distants work is the new great source in knowledge work. A successful distans work is a necessity in today’s world. The organizations that help their employees to adapt and succeed will be the most successful.

This is why organizations need to help and support the brand new work culture. A culture which understands the effects of cognitive strain, how to deal and how to keep a healthy cognitive state. This is the core of the new work culture. This will require new routines in a new environment, which entails that we schedule our days so that we keep our efficiency at a high level throughout the day and help us leave our tasks at work, and not take them home with us. Managing your cognitive strain during the day will improve activity after work and the quality of sleep. This will cause a positive spiral, which will entail a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

How to improve the cognitive resilience

We at Korpi Solutions want to support organizations’ knowledge work and especially the strains of working from home. We have developed a data-based program to help manage the cognitive strain during the day. Our focus is to develop the breaking methods in the work culture, by scheduling the day and to develop an individual restoring break routine. The goal is within context to develop a way with less effort and still keep a high level of efficiency.

The program will be company based and unique, but here are some core points:
Individual directed workshops
Planning based on the company’s situation, create goals and agree on terms.
Participants will get the latest information, importance of taking restoring breaks and how to manage the cognitive strain

  1. Individual directed workshops
    • Planning based on the company’s situation, create goals and agree on terms.
    • Participants will get the latest information, importance of taking restoring breaks and how to manage the cognitive strain
    • We will prepare an individual plan and team based goals and a succession layout.
  2. A private notebook and a digital notebook to self reflect and to follow up on progress.
  3. Weekly rapports, which are based on psychological and physiological indicators, also material to keep and improve a healthy cognitive state.
  4. Individual weekly coaching sessions during the whole program
  5. Summarize rapport and follow up procedures, and an individual toolkit for solving personal issues.

In 2020 we started to develop our coaching program. We have got the chance to test our program with four different knowledge work companies. Results have been excellent and we have received very encouraging feedback.

Our product is under constant development and we would gladly present it to your organization!

Lately it has been pointed out the importance of today’s knowledge work challenges. When we talk about knowledge work is where the physical side is on the low and the cognitive role is highlighted. In knowledge work the creative, social and innovative side is more in use.

Knowledge work has always been a part of our society, but it has changed greatly with digital working habits. Digitalization has had an effect on demands and the work environment. In today’s knowledge work is essential to realize that the work environment and tools have become more complicated, peristantly there and transmission of knowledge being extremely effective. Meaning, job qualification and learning curve is on a steady rise, because the source of knowledge has exploded.

[Works varieties, with digital gadgets and tools have made possible for many diffrent kinds of work tasks. This has led to fragmentation during the work day. DIgitalization has given the opportunity for lighter organizations and more freedom for individuals and how they do their tasks, which has highlighted the importance of more self management and leading.]

The self leading and management has led to cognitive strain is on a new level. It is no surprise that we feel physically tired, even though we have hardly done any physical work. Cognitive strain affects the whole human body, not just the mind.

In the spring of 2020 the whole world took a leap into a whole new level of digitalization. This has led to completely new challenges and a way of thinking. Knowledge workers’ communication tools have partly been crystal clear, which made the jump easily possible. What we did not know was how practically many things was different when doing tasks compared to before.

As organizations and individuals we are adaptive. We create routines and ways to manage different ways to have everything run smoothly. In the sudden change these routines and ways disappeared or where changed drastically.

Work and leisure became hard to differ
Work communities social benefits weakened
Communication and keeping contact worsened and its straining factors increased
Social and social connections decreased and benefits of restoring became lacking
Knowledge workers’ social side became a lot more straining, because of distant and network meetings.
Central changes were that routines changed, which lessened the straining effects. Also distracting factors increased. Before there could be natural breaks and usually a social restoring event.

Knowledge works highly cognitively straining factors, even for them we have a solution. Most central method is regular restoring breaks.