10 ways to wake up at work: Energize your workforce and stop hitting “snooze” on productivity

From our headquarters in San Francisco, we hear about and see plenty of strange happenings. One recent protest by the possibly fictional San Francisco Sleep Movement highlighted the prevalence of insomnia and “incessant yawning” in our fair city.

Pajama days are best left to school environments and spontaneous urban gatherings, but this got us thinking nonetheless. It’s hard to get anything done if you are sleeping at your desk, so we compiled a few tips to get you and your staff alert, energized, and performing at your peak.

Get more sleep

The best way to be less tired is to sleep more. I know, I know, it’s not that easy. But educating your staff and yourself on the benefits of regular sleep may have more impact than you think. And don’t forget to practice what you preach! Eight hours may be a stretch with your busy schedule, but the Mayo clinic says to make sleep a priority.

Walking meetings

Calling sitting the new smoking, Nilofer Merchant told the TED audience about the importance of breaking up your work day. If you have to spend your day in meetings anyway, ask your meeting mate to take the discussion on the move. (This works best for one-on-one settings.) Activity will get your blood pumping, and you’ll be surprised how creativity finds you outdoors.

Find your rhythm

Your natural rhythm, that is. Research shows we’re at our best when we work in 90 minute chunks. Make sure you schedule 15 minute breaks into your routine to get the most out of your 90 minutes. Stepping away from your work will keep you fresh and allow you to work with your body instead of working against it.


Sometimes the best answer is the obvious one. Caffeine can offer an important boost on slow mornings. If your workplace does not already offer tea and coffee for employees, look into making the investment. It’s a simple solution that usually pays off.

Take a nap

A quick power nap (10-30 minutes) in those listless afternoon hours can get you back to work with new fervor. Whether you take a break in your car, on a bench, or under your desk, catching a few discreet z’s in the afternoon has proven power.

Standing meetings

Keep company updates to the point and keep the workforce at attention with standing meetings. When you take away chairs, you’d be surprised how easy it is to stay on topic, and stay awake. To make this meeting style successful, keep the agenda short and focused on one clear objective.


Get out and explore! Walk around the neighborhood, discover a local museum, explore your industrial park’s water feature, or check out that café that keeps catching your eye on your drive to work. Take a short break to get to know your surroundings. You will return to work energized and informed.


Break up the workday and burn a few extra calories right at your desk. Small movements like tapping your toes and twiddling your thumbs keep you surprisingly alert—and can really add up. Depending on your work environment, kick it up a notch with desk pushups and wall sits, or a few of these. Alternately, keep your core engaged by using an exercise ball instead of an office chair or lobby for a standing desk.

Clean your desk

Clutter can be exhausting, so pick it up! Straightening the stacks and stacks of paper on your desk (oh, just me?) will streamline your workspace, and give your mind a cognitive break from your usual work. And if your desk looks like mine, you can repeat this task every week!


If your usual caffeine ritual doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, you are likely drinking the wrong beverage. Be sure to keep water in your routine. If the water itself doesn’t help, regular trips to the water cooler—and bathroom—will get you up and moving.

What are your favorite tricks and tips to get the most out of your work day? Let us know in the comments!