Managers agree that the ideal workplace is one where employees are engaged as well as highly productive. Unfortunately, these two scenarios are usually not positively correlated. As we explained in a previous post, the more common circumstance is to “reward” the best employees with more and more work until they burn out and eventually leave the company. Luckily for you, Blueboard recently connected with The Energy Project and discovered the secret sauce to increasing both productivity and happiness in employees: maintaining the four dimensions of energy to create mindfulness at the workplace.
1. Physical Energy: While we’re all aware that exercise, sleep, and nutrition are essential to our physical energy, it’s easy to ignore their significance. It turns out that these factors are crucial to sustainable high performance on and off the job. Paying attention to and maintaining your energy is critical, which cycles throughout the day in high and low peaks at around 90-minute intervals. People often pride themselves on getting by on very little sleep, but the truth is that the majority of the population requires seven or more hours of sleep per night. If you don’t get this much sleep, you are walking around in the equivalent of a semi-intoxicated state. Not ideal for high performance and a real strain on your health and well-being.
- Tip: When you encounter a low-energy cycle, take a short break! You can nap, take a walk around your office, practice deep breathing, or eat a snack. The key is to notice when your energy is waning, tune into what your body needs and practice self-care. Simply engage in another activity that stimulates your brain differently for five to ten minutes.
2. Emotional Energy: How you feel profoundly affects how you perform. For example, if you experience a high degree of negative emotions, you’ll likely go into fight or flight mode where stress hormones take control. While you may get stuff done in that moment when cortisol and adrenaline are pumping, your work quality will suffer. As humans, we’re simply not as smart when we are in fight or flight because the body essentially operating in survival mode. On the other hand, if you’re feeling high positive energy, you’re in the “performance zone” and will find that your attitude is upbeat, open and collaborative – the performance zone is great, but me mindful that it can’t last forever – remember to take breaks to avoid the crash. Low positive energy is also good – this is energy that emerges when you feel safe and has minimal distractions, such as during a walk, run or when you’re taking a shower, and can lead to a flow of ideas and creativity.
- Tip: Pay attention to the quality of your energy. Check in and ask yourself, how am I feeling right now? And become familiar with the type of energy that best fuels what you need from your coworkers if directing a meeting or project. For example, it can be hard to force creativity during a scheduled brainstorm – the environment isn’t conducive to feeling safe and non-distracting. Instead, encourage your team to take a walk, meet at a coffee shop or outdoor space like a park, and leave their cell phones behind.
3. Mental Energy: This form of energy refers to the focus of your energy. Most of us are guilty of multi-tasking at work, and some of us even claim that we’re good at it. The truth is: nobody is actually good at multitasking, and it’s actually very draining on your mental energy bank.
- Tip: It’s better to tackle tasks one at a time in a highly absorbed way. It may feel slower than your normal pace, but trust that the quality of your work will improve and you can actually get more done in less time!
4. Spiritual Energy: This refers to a deeper connection that we have with our work and the feeling like we’re contributing to a greater good. This is increasingly important for Millennials, especially when 88% don’t have a passion for their work.
- Tip: Constantly assess your life both in and out of work, and ask yourself: Am I contributing to the greater good? Am I living the life I want to? Am I operating according to what I believe in? More tips for work/life balance in our article here.
As a manager, there are lots of steps you can take to ensure your employees are both productive and happy. Continuously check in on their well-being, implement sustainable work habits and share articles like this with them so they can be more mindful of their own energy levels at all times. And tap into the amazing team at The Energy Project for a 1:1 consultation, PeopleFuel & LeaderFuel workshops, workforce energy assessment and continued best practices.
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