HR professionals have been trying for years to discover  how to improve employee engagement and productivity,

A collaboration between Wharton Neuroscience Initiative (WNI) and global consulting firm Slalom is aiming to find out.

By giving EEG headsets to over 650 volunteer Slalom employees and studying the recordings during their workdays, the researcers were able to draw some interesting conclusions.

For example, the study reported that “Zoom fatigue” is a real phenomenon. Due to a lower need to travel to meetings, a practice of scheduling back-to-back meetings has become the norm in many organisations, but the study shows that endless meetings depress brain waves and reduce motivation.

Results from the EEG scans showed that breaks as short as ten minutes can have a significant positive effect on brain activity throughout the day.  Employees who took ten-minute breaks between meetings showed more brain signals associated with lower stress levels and deep, creative thought.

“Employees who work together locally share more experiences both at work and in the local community and are bound together by a shared language and culture, By contrast, employees working in global markets may lack these shared experiences, encounter cultural differences, and face significant time-zone differences with their colleagues around the world.” 

This clearly has implications for working-from-home strategies.