In current research on mental workload and task performance a large gap exists between laboratory based studies and research projects in real life working practice. Tasks conducted within a laboratory environment often lack a strong resemblance with real life working situations. This paper presents an experimental approach to minimizing this gap by designing a very flexible experimentation system with adequate hardware and software components. The first goal of the system is to design a laboratory based environment in which a broad range of computer supported daily life work can be simulated, including co-operative working situations. Moreover, several behavioral and physiological measurement and analysis techniques are supported, such as video based behavioral analysis, task related event registration, cardiovascular state analysis, determining mental workload indices as well as EEG background and ERP analysis. An important requirement for relating the different measured variables to task performance is synchronization of data sources and task parameters at varying time scales. The highest time accuracy should be at least 10 milliseconds. The present system fulfils this requirement by using software system components and libraries that allow real time experiment control and measurement. Additionally, the new system should work within a Microsoft Windows based environment, providing the possibility to use standard office software that is well known to subjects having to work in the new environment. The option to use such standard software, in combination with new (simulation) techniques for presenting more realistic tasks, results in a powerful laboratory environment in which task elements in semi-realistic tasks can be manipulated experimentally. The way to do this is by defining adequate scenarios that can be simulated. At present, is that both a simple, less realistic task has been realized (Synwork) with a high time accuracy (1 ms), as well as a more realistic simulation of an ambulance dispatcher task with lower time accuracy (10-100 ms). Both types of task can be seen as examples of the range of tasks to be implemented in the near future.