The dirtiest word in the office: nourishment

Imagine dad coming home from a long day at the office. Whether in true, three-dimensional life or in TV drama, what comes next is immortally etched in our brains; he pours himself a drink.

He may utter inaudibles, too disheartened to even talk about the throes of his day. He gulps - rather than sips - his cheap escape. It'll do for now.

Not all dads, and certainly not all mom's approach the front door ready to burst at the seams. Yet, so many of us - including nearly all of my private clients - feel like they are lying their way through life. They're red-faced and inflamed that they have to go back yet another day to an office that's unsupportive. 

According to the PCW "Work-life 3.0: Understanding how we’ll work next" study, 38% of the workforce will likely change jobs in the next year. 

Employees are lobbying for a different type of workplace and those shifting demands often go unmet. The result: office and financial drain on replacing vacancies with new people.

That's why Dan Schawbel, contributor to believes that "Workplace wellness, and well-being, become critical employee benefits for attracting top talent" in 2017. He goes on to say that "Companies realize that workplace stress is the biggest health issue that employees face so they invest in creating a more relaxing and healthier environment for them."

I'll counter that argument with this: it's not about stress. Stress is a byproduct and the last emerging physical symptom in a chain reaction of events with origins way beyond the workplace. 

So what is the real problem? Nourishment. 

And, it's nourishment of an employees personal or "primary" energy.

Business is a social game. Every transaction hinges on just two people developing rapport, finding common ground and trusting each other enough to engage in a relationship. One person receives a good or service, the other gets financial reward.

But, it doesn't end there.

What really happens is that two human beings connect, deepen the connection through mutual contribution and find that sweet collaborative space where each feels valuable. As one of my mentors says, "the key is rich engagement."

Humans, especially under duress of timelines, reports and scroll-length to-do lists forget about the social game they are playing at work. Individuality can work wonders for efficiency, but it's terrible for our innate need for contribution, to make a difference and to feel connected.

I was told the amazing story of a department at a major corporation in the banking industry. Among studies of several departments it was found that this particular group had higher rates of success and job satisfaction, with less sick days. When they dug in to determine why, the results were shocking: their team had a single mom with a young son and everyone rallied around her to help get her work done quickly so she could leave early, beat traffic and get her son to baseball practice every night.

The moral of this story is that when we make a concerted contribution in a team we feel rewarded, like we've helped the tribe to thrive. This is one form of nourishment. 

Historically, from the emergence of "offices" in the 19th century, we worked on a transactional basis. The cubicle is a great example of such a vestige of the old paradigm.

Today, our collective urge to evolve, to enhance our consciousness, to feel more alive and well-meaning demands a different approach to our workplace health. 

At Google, employee number 107, Chade-Meng Tan, is known as "The Jolly Good Fellow." He teaches mindfulness and offers employees simple, practical ways to cultivate inner peace. The key? Simply focus on sending happiness through intention to someone around you for a mere 10 seconds. And, he asks us to do this throughout the day. The result? Attitudes shift, the nervous system calms and relationships improve. Yet another path to nourishment. 

As corporations vie for the very best talent available their workplace health requires nourishment. 

That's why I developed Workforce Energy, my on-site offering to cultivate a thriving workplace. Because I saw stress as the last domino to fall, I worked backwards to understand the root cause. I used myself and my 15-year career in corporations as the test - why was I really so irritable, uncomfortable and feeling unsupported? I easily blamed my manager or clients for my woes, but I knew my problem ran deeper than the surface.

What I learned is the heart of the work of people like Deepak Chopra, Tony Robbins, Richard Bandler and legions of other practitioners - I was carry around a ton of baggage. Old wounds, old patterns, old junk. Our physiology, our bodies, become stiffened and our flexibility compromised. 

In order to re-supply office employees with the "nutrients" to unwind and release the gunk, I offer Energy Work, rooted in ancient wisdoms as old as 40,000 years. 

Why in the world would I bring this to corporations? Because I believe, as do quantum physicists, that energy is everything. 

Every idea starts as an intangible thought. With planning and work it becomes something tangible. Every "thing" in life starts as energy. 

As such, energy work can open what's blocked. Like acupuncture. Remember, that acupunctures has been in existence for thousands of years and it's only been recently that medical science believes that it works, and is even now covered my many insurance companies. That work is all about energy - and opening energy pathways.

That's how I work as well. I open the possibility to a new vitality to course through a human, creating a new feeling, a new physiology and a new way of thinking. 

To me, this is one of the best forms of nourishment an office can provide to it's employees.

And, the outcomes aren't limited to just individuals, even if the work is done one-by-one. There is a collective energy that's created and it feeds everyone. Similar to how the Pygmalion Effect works higher expectations leading to better outcomes.

When I am on-site at a corporation for 3 days I notice an incredible shift in energy. There's a the feeling that the noise has softened, yet there's new found excitement and buzz. When people release and recharge everyone benefits. 

Here's to making "nourishment" one of our most fundamental words in the workplace.


Joe Shoemaker is a Workforce Energy Nourisher, traveling to corporations around the country to cultivate and sustain an environment of top performance. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his gifted wife and familiar cat, enjoying the old growth Doug Fir trees and Northern Flicker woodpeckers. His website is: