Wednesday, December 9, 2009
A Wellbeing Workplace...
I feel that we need to make our working environments, both, more brain and planet friendly. Why, for instance, do we insist on having static meetings? There is an old phrase that says, "it is solved by walking". Some of my best eureka moments have been when walking along in conversation with someone else. The sky is a brilliant roof - much better and more likely to inspire than some dismal strip-light!
The trouble is - to extend the walking metaphor - we tend to fear an untrod path. However, when we dare to do different, and experiment a bit, the results can be amazing. For instance, I recently completed an intensive teaching qualification, writing several thousand words in a day. I did it by working in twenty five minute bursts, punctuated by ten minute breaks. The 'breaks' when, ostensibly, I wasn't working often proved to be the time when I experienced those moments of synthesis and inspiration which a nose to the grindstone culture so efficiently stifles. The optimal performance of the human brain is sustained for less than half an hour at a time.
Why then all the dreadful long meetings? It reminds me of a thought from the wonderful Ken Robinson video I posted here recently. I think that this fear of rest and relaxation stems from an attitude to people equivalent to the strip-mining of our planet - and, as with such reckless plundering, it is equally unsustainable. A well chaired meeting with regular breaks and changes in the mode of delivery - visual, aural, read/write, kinaesthetic - is bound to produce more of value in less time. And perhaps in those 'breaks' we might get to know each other - and ourselves - better. We might CONNECT and GIVE and KEEP LEARNING, TAKE NOTICE. If we walk and talk we might even BE ACTIVE. In other words, as the Foresight Report has established, if we build these five 'ways' into our daily lives our wellbeing is likely to improve.
I have been experimenting with this in my own working life, and have found that when colleagues and partners are amenable to playing with some of these ideas, we're achieving more and feeling better for it.
It ain't rocket science folks!