Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur the collaborators are his.
If you like what you do, you’ve probably had this experience – you sit down to complete a task, and to your surprise, when you’re finally done, the hours have passed, you’ve missed several calls, and you’re hearing something close. of happiness. In those hours you entered the state of “flow” and, as employers, we should do our best to encourage it in our employees.
As the psychologist who coined the term defines it, flow is “a state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it until all at great cost, because for the simple interest of doing so. “
While the state of the flow sounds good in theory, how do we really create an environment that allows us to get there? We can’t expect 100% of our employees to find their flow unintentionally, just as we can’t navigate on a windless day or in a storm that can overturn us. As employers, we must work to create the conditions for flow and equip employees with the right equipment they need to find it.
Related: How to use Flow to make you more productive
Find the flow
Whether you work from home or in the office, if you’re in an environment where you’re constantly distracted (whether it’s by your kids, your co-workers, or even your phone), you won’t go into flux. That said, we can’t magically snap our fingers and make all the distractions go away. We must actively settle in a space that protects our concentration and leaves room for flow, even if this environment only lasts an hour.
Each person’s approach to creating this environment will be different; what matters is that we take the time to create it. Parents of four children may have to leave home and work in an office, while 20-year-old singles without roommates may thrive working from home without co-workers distracting them.
Start conversations with your employees and ask them what barriers to productivity are and what they need to overcome. For example, we had an employee who found it very difficult to work from home and had difficulty completing his work. Instead of letting her languish (or look for a new job with an office), we found her the office space she needed and is now more productive than ever. Each employee has a unique set of circumstances and challenges, and it is part of our job as leaders to help them identify and establish the most conducive work environment for their productivity.
Related: Finding Your Focus Through “Deep Work”
Flourish in flow
We all want to work in a place that makes us feel happy, productive, and supported, where we enjoy our work and often find ourselves in flux, hours that pass before we are left out of the task at hand. The good news is that these elements are not mutually exclusive. They are intrinsically intertwined.
The state of flow is born of joy and passion for our work and inspires productivity when we can get into it. In addition, happiness and productivity create a self-fulfilling cycle. Studies have shown that happy people are more productive. And when we are productive, we feel fulfilled and our self-esteem increases, leading to a greater sense of happiness. Each of these elements works together to create a happy, healthy, and productive workplace.
By enabling our employees to flow, we not only give them the opportunity to grow and advance in their careers in the future, but we also make them more effective in the work they are doing in the present. It is in the best interest of all parties to identify the employees who want to grow and the employers who will create the environment that will allow them to thrive. Jobs that feel stagnant or messed up by chaos will be left with happy workers giving the bare minimum, demotivated to get more.
Related: How to permanently increase your productivity
Creating space to flow
For most, the “flow” state occurs accidentally and is only found occasionally when one is especially inspired. And while it is true that it is an easier state to achieve for some than for others, everyone can i they should benefit from a work environment that encourages it. So how do we create a space and process that allows all employees to find their flow?
There are clear and tangible steps we can take to cultivate flow. First, assigned tasks should be difficult but achievable to involve employees without overwhelming them. Second, an employee’s tasks and tasks need clearly defined goals (short and long term). Finally, an employee’s job should receive immediate feedback that recognizes their efforts and guides them forward, motivating them to continue to find the flow state.
From these steps, my colleagues and I launched an experimental product with the intention of creating a system that would allow employees to be in flow for 90-minute intervals, regardless of their external circumstances. When we test this product, we are working with employees to design the environment they need to flow and then test it by assigning a specific set of tasks to complete in 90 minutes. By creating a system and working closely with our employees, we look forward to helping them find their flow more easily and frequently, thus increasing productivity and job happiness.
Flow is essential for business
Flow is not only a key term for yoga teachers and psychology books, but it is an essential element of the business and a sign of a healthy work environment. Employees want to work in a place where their growth is supported and inspiration has room to thrive. It is an advantage to entrepreneurs to empower people to find their flow. In doing so, they will inevitably attract the most productive and valuable employees. It takes work to cultivate this environment, but the effort is well worth it in a workplace full of motivated employees, happy to be there and eager to learn.
Of course, no one will be in the stream 100% of the time. There will be tasks we don’t like and times when we will have to take a coffee break or an outdoor walk. However, more we can do as entrepreneurs and employed to cultivate it, the more we wake up and find blue skies and strong winds, ready to push our sailboats steadily into the future.