Weight management from working at home. Some people have responded to the work at home economy by exercising more. They took time to improve their diet. They lost weight. They took the challenge of the pandemic in stride. But, not everyone is an Adonis. Another segment of society got fatter. Roughly 42% of Americans have obesity.
When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.
As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Dr. Benjamin Gibson.
Dr. Benjamin Gibson, PAHM, is a pharmacist, Functional Medicine specialist, and the founder and CEO of Awesome We Can Do It Better Together LLC™. With more than a decade of experience as a pharmacist and preceptor, Dr. Gibson is innovating healthcare. Dr. Gibson aims to guide disease prevention from a holistic approach in order to lead and teach others how to live a healthy, strong, and free life. (PAHM stands for Professional, Academy for Health Care Management).
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?
One day my parents were out grocery shopping. My sister and I were old enough we could be left alone. My sister unexpectedly had a horrible migraine. I was young so I could not do much for her, but she asked if I could give her a glass of milk and an ibuprofen pill to dull her pain. I gave her that, and she was so happy. I wished I could do more for her, but we were both so young. It made me feel very happy that I was helping her. I wanted to do that for others every day that I worked, and I became a pharmacist because of that experience.
Years later, I gained weight because pharmacists are expected to never make a mistake. That stress puts a toll on people. People rush to unhealthy comfort food to make you feel better in response to the stress. Some drink unhealthy comfort drinks with many calories (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).
I gained 22 pounds. Then a friend and coworker introduced me to the concept of fasting. I lost 22 pounds and with his advice kept that weight off. I wanted to share those concepts with some additional testing that would let people lose weight faster.
This is especially poignant for me because after a decade of dispensing medicines which improved health outcomes, many of my patients were still dependent on the medications. Their unhealthy habits were not changing. Some complained about side effects, or that they needed even more medicines. As we get older people tend to take more medicines, which increase both side effects and cost. Some medicines may minerals or vitamins, and people need to have appointments to monitor those vitamins or minerals. With Covid, it became harder to see doctors in person, so phlebotomists couldn’t draw the blood to test the mineral amounts. I have an alternate option that is easier and less painful.
Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now?
Some aspects of the human condition will be the same. Subordinates will probably still feel over worked and underpaid. Managers will say good help is so hard to find, and be mad when people quit. Subordinates will still feel that managers don’t explain things well. People will complain about other workers are lazy. These workers will not scheduled to be at work that day. Single parents will feel overwhelmed by all the requirements of work. Managers will not be adopting new technology since they aren’t familiar with it. Yet, as managers retire newer technology will be adopted. Some people will work remotely work. Others will work in an office. We might have more people willing to visit people in their houses either in person, remember the time when physicians made house calls? Thanks to holograms and the metaverse, we could have telemedicine visits with technology. It may be more than 10 years, but imagine having a physician examine you from the comfort of your own home? With the metaverse and holograms, we can theoretically “see” people in 3D. will be some dynamic with work at home, and work in the office. I imagine that work from home will still be an option.
What do you predict will be different?
Robots will be more common. For instance in foreign countries robots are used in some parts of the world. Ten years ago in school I observed one delivery robot, but I have not seen more places incorporate them into their workflow.
What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?
Start with yourself. Be someone who truly cares about your employees. Let them know that you want to know them as a person. What do they like. Are there hobbies you can talk about? If you don’t like the hobby, for instance stamp collecting, can you try to make a point to know something interesting about and try to understand their perspective?
What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?
Depending on the state you live in, give people an option to have their salary in a a coin like in bitcoin. Check with your local rules obviously. There is a credit card that wanted to give a rewards points in an electronic coin, but one state prevented it. As a result some other states were hesitant to let it operate. Thus, customers can only use regular rewards cards where people get points or cash back.
We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?
Before the pandemic managers at some places were inflexible. They refused to see why anyone would want to do it. I had some relatives whose employer was more forward thinking. They were able to work remotely occasionally.
Some people before the pandemic may have been very resistant to work remotely, but after you do it for a time you can really enjoy it. If you have scheduled breaks you may be able to exercise at work. In case you sweat no one will complain because you may be able to work in 1 room alone.
Humans are social creatures and it is good to have have human contact. So if one cannot come into the office, hopefully there are ways that people can still interact with each other.
We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?
You do need people to do some work. For instance, if you go to a restaurant, you need a server and a cook. If a person is not there, there must be a robot. Yet, in England, attempts were made to make robots welcome guests or help customers. However, most customers hated them. So the robot creators must improve. It is ironic because there are certain interviews were the robots seemed to fascinate reporters.
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?
People need tasks done by others. People cannot specialize in all fields. Despite a desire to DIY things, it takes lots of time. People make mistakes the first few times. Imagine you want to can foods. If you have no idea how to do this, and you don’t pay someone for good quality materials your food will spoil.
Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?
A new small business offers mental health days as part of one’s paid time off. I have heard this concept being said by others, so I expect this to be more valuable.
Inexpensive interventions like adult coloring books are an easy option for employers to give to employees.
Another thing is a journal. Go to the dollar store. Yes, their prices were raised to 1.25 dollars, but you can give it to an employee and they can journal their worries. They will sleep better. Their weight will not spike. Their health benefits will increase and the cost of providing this service will shrink. Spend that 1.25 dollars.
Instead of spending huge sums on team building at a corporate retreats, companies should consider having a day were employees volunteer together. Scientific studies show that the benefit that comes from volunteering was about 1,000 dollars. Being a mental health team building day, it lets managers build work friendships while also getting good press.
Connect with local bands and singers. Maybe there are up and coming bands who want an audience and would be willing to perform for free. Maybe some of your own employees would like to have an audience. Before pandemic I mentioned that concept to managers, and they liked the idea. They said they liked it.
Another very inexpensive idea for helping employees is to have toastmasters at the office. It does not have to be open to other companies or people unless you wish to make it open to the public. Then employees who have never given a speech can have a place to practice.
It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?
To the managers: please remember how you were treated when you were a subordinate. Please treat people as good or better than you were treated. If you would not want an action done to you, try to avoid doing it to a subordinate. One has to acknowledge that if you have an unproductive employee ultimately firing will happen. So the corollary to this rule is the subordinate must work well.
There is a joke that one day a manager arrived in a Maserati. The employee complimented him. The manager said, “If you do a great job, I will get a new one next year for me.” It highlights that managers often have skills their subordinates do not have, and it feeds a narrative of victimization. What is better is when employers are able to train employees to do more difficult tasks to let them grow. There may be a time when an employee will leave for greener pastures. However, if you water the lawn often, an employee may feel the current pasture is quite green.
Google once summarized their values succinctly: don’t be evil. In theory everyone claims they are not evil. Yet, I once worked at a place where a manager was accused of sexual harassment. A short time later the female subordinate was not working at that place. Turnover went up.
Another story was of an employee who slept on the job. Another employee said the person was suffering a side effect of a prescription drug, and not lazy. People are complex creatures. We do strange things for odd reasons. We make mistakes. We want the ability to fail and learn. Managers obviously want 0% error rates. There is a tension between managers and subordinates. With remote opportunities however, people can move to expensive big cities to smaller cities, or foreign countries.
Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”
1: Working at home will cause physical isolation leading to alcoholism
Twelve percent of Americans have alcohol use disorder. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine that 33% of those 45 or older are lonely. There is another study from the CDC website showing that dementia rises in by 50% as a result of social isolation. Alcoholism rose when the pandemic started. Hopefully more people will attend online Alcoholics anonymous chapters and use virtual private networks to better manage stress.
2. Weight management from working at home.
Some people have responded to the work at home economy by exercising more. They took time to improve their diet. They lost weight. They took the challenge of the pandemic in stride. But, not everyone is an Adonis. Another segment of society got fatter. Roughly 42% of Americans have obesity.
3. Growth of the small town. There a few very tiny hamlets in the US and Europe that are offering free land to grow their population. There are obvious downsides to living in small towns or these dilapidated places. The most obvious is the construction or repair costs. Before the pandemic I watched a YouTube video of houses in bad condition that would cost enormous amounts to move. No one wants to pay that, and it stays as an eyesore owned by the city. However, there is an appeal. Fewer people, mean fewer chances of crime. Rural communities tend to have fewer services, so their taxes are lower. Gasoline prices vary, but most states are cheaper than California. That is why many people have fled the golden state.
4. Rise of solopreneur.
In school teachers preach: do what you love and you will never work a day in your life. After years memorizing facts and having your self worth crumble with every test and quiz, you graduate under a crushing amount of student debt. Then you enter the work force and discover…. that you are doing menial tasks you despise.
With the rise of the internet remote work is on the rise. What else is on the rise: entrepreneurship. This is something that never really left the American value system. Why? Some groups were discriminated against so they had to work for themselves. A friend started his own business after being fired. Some managers just don’t like contractors or new hires. People can be replaced at the drop of a hat, and marched out of the building. With that type of power dynamic people obviously want to maintain pride and a paycheck. There are many more podcasts and YouTube videos to listen to, which means audiences to speak to about your unique skill set.
Let’s also not forget that people like fame. Most people know that building an audience takes time. However YouTube and related social media are a way for the average person to have their 15 minutes of fame.
5. Robots will be incorporated more into the workforce. A decade ago, delivery robots were used in veteran affairs hospitals. With many people wanting to work remotely, there will be a need to have other people or a robot. A company in England manufacturers them. In India they are used at weddings. However, there is a bit of hesitancy in customers wanting them. So work needs to be done. However, a tangent to this concept is with pet robots. There are also robotic toys that are used in elder care. Perhaps a way to help with work stress would be having a mechanical “dog or cat,” to comfort you at work.
I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?
“Don’t climb a ladder of success — a ladder that leads after all to higher and higher levels of stress and burnout, but chart a new path to success, remaking it in away that includes not just the conventional metric so of money and power but a third metric that include well being wisdom wonder and giving so that the goal is not just to succeed but to thrive.” Ariana Huffington.
Each person wants to be fulfilled by their work. We chose an occupation because we want to help others. Yes, many also want to be millionaires, have our own private island and private jet, but at the end of the day, we do not want to just trade our health for money only to trade the money back for our health. One thing my dad warned me about being my own boss was that I would not have time for friends or family. I spoke to a business owner, and he admitted that was often true because people were inefficient workers. He also mentioned that it was easier to hide at work than it was to spend time with other people.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.
Gary Vaynerchuk because my mentors rave about him. I follow his videos on social media. I often hear wisdom from him that makes so much sense to me.
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Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.