I have recently seen all kinds of articles about Energy Drinks in the workplace, ranging from the damning (the local shops may as well be peddling Class A drugs) to those who wholeheartedly recommend the drinks to get them through the working day. Are energy drinks a good or a bad thing for employee productivity?
Energy drinks are hugely popular with younger workers, who cite them as essential to getting them through repetitive tasks, massive workloads, a long working day, or the day after a big night out with their mates. They are seduced by the marketing campaigns which promise a ‘buzz’, fronted by a pretty awesome stunt pilot, snowboarder or a hipster rock guitarist. Just the kind of people with endless energy, alertness, and a busy, non-stop lifestyle.
Sounds great, alert young employees bouncing off the wall with energy to do the job! Yet the negative side effects of energy drinks are reputed to be decreased levels of concentration, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, cramps and headaches; they can even alter the rhythm of the heart, giving dangerous irregular heartbeats. Exactly the opposite thing needed to complete a boring task which needs attention to detail, or concentrating to meet a deadline. I have even read articles which state that some of the drinks can alter the chemicals in your brain – eek!
Hang on, weren’t these effects reported about strong coffee and soft drinks, which were the predecessors to energy drinks in the ‘bad for you’ stakes? The big difference is that energy drinks contain other stimulants such as Taurine and Guarana, as well as high levels of sugar and fructose. This can actually cause withdrawal symptoms when you stop drinking them, leaving you more tired and lethargic (and craving even more energy drinks).
So should you drink energy drinks in the workplace?
I think ‘everything in moderation’. Yes have an energy drink, coffee or soft drink occasionally for a short term ‘pick me up’, but don’t rely on them to get you through the day.
There are other things you can do to give you more energy too. Think about what you eat too as this can help; slow burning energy can come from nuts, breakfast cereal or breakfast biscuits. Try some exercise, even going out for a quick walk in the fresh air at lunchtime can work wonders. Get a good night’s sleep before work. Most importantly, talk to your Manager, they will be able to help with your workload and time management, which is most likely the source of your exhaustion. If you find your Manager unhelpful, it is time contact us to move to another job that won’t tire you out so much.