“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.” – Steve Jobs
Conscious business practices are becoming more popular as a means of operating the workplace. A conscious business focuses on the wellbeing and resilience of both their employees and customers as a priority, not an afterthought. There are many ways to ensure that you are running your business in a conscious way, but the bottom line is that, in order to improve your workplace in this way, you must pay attention to the people you come in contact with and consider how to balance their wants and wellbeing, whilst keeping up productivity.
What you will find, once you start to implement wellbeing-focused ideas, productivity, creativity and efficiency is likely to go up. Many businesses have seen a clear link between the happiness and wellbeing of their employees and a rising quality in their work and their longevity. Pushing your business to become a more conscious and mindful environment not only creates a nicer place to work, but a workplace that is running to its highest standards. Here are a few things to think about implementing to ensure that your business is a hub of mindfulness and positivity…
1. Promote A Healthy Work/Life Balance
Burnout is a real issue in today’s world. With many of us now working from home, hours becoming longer, and emails able to catch our attention 24 hours a day, the work life/balance is something that is, on the whole, becoming uneven. This not only erodes people’s energy and positivity, but it also affects the quality of people’s work.
A company my wife used to work for took specific working hours very seriously. The company made it policy to only talk about work matters during working hours, and only send emails within office hours. Not that there were any hard consequences, but if the boss had seen a customer email go out after 5.30pm, she would certainly flag it up. It is easy to say, ‘oh, it’s only a quick email. I might as well deal with it now.’ But then, before you know it, you are sending work emails during dinner or settling workplace issues over WhatsApp at 6 in the morning (you’ve not even had your coffee yet)! Make work/life balance and working hours a priority and company policy.
2. Make Work A Safe Space
In order for any place of work to improve, criticism and debate are important tools. By committing to open door policies and putting other systems in place whereby everybody gets a say in how your workplace operates, you foster an environments where people feel safe to have an opinion. Systems like this might include suggestion boxes or meetings scheduled specifically for discussing your work environment and community (to which everybody is invited). Through these systems, your employees should feel safer to speak up without judgement and made to feel part of the community.
3. Clear Goals
Make sure everybody knows why you are here and what you are all working towards. This is relevant in the overarching ethos of your company all the way down to specific jobs and projects. A conscious business ensures that everyone clearly understands and is on board with what you are trying to do. You must encourage employees to call for clarification and try your best to outline clear goals and objectives. Everybody being on the same page is important for an efficient team dynamic.
4. No Phone Policies
Social media, apps, phones, notifications… they all really get in the way. We know they are addictive and stunt productivity enormously. You might not be able to ban phones at work, this is entirely impractical. However, it is not quite so ludicrous to have ‘no phone zones’ at work. No phones in meetings is a really good. A meeting with no phones ensures an hour (or however long it is) when you and your co-workers can enjoy a focused, undistracted, productive period of work. If this is working for you, you could even stretch it out to ‘no phones at desks’, or install a phone locker to be used during working hours.
5. Avoid Static Ways of Working
I find that sitting down and working in the same place for hours makes my brain a little numb at times. Try to encourage and organise ways of working that are not entirely static. Getting people moving throughout the day, getting their blood flowing, can really help to wake the brain up. This will boost inspiration, creativity and problem solving.
How? Well, standing desks and hot seating have long been a popular way to do this. Also, make people work on projects together, this interaction has a natural way of fostering movement and animation. You could even start holding walking meetings, in a park for example, to avoid anybody nodding off half way through a proposal!
By Chris Thomson
Inspiration is not confined to the creative industries, it is imperative to all evolving businesses. Here are some ideas on how to find it… 5 Tips on Encouraging Inspiration
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