Going with the flow: The path to better workplace efficiency?
In psychology, the concept of flow means feeling totally immersed and focused on what you’re doing. But when flow is interrupted at work, efficiency and productivity can take a dive. That’s why having tools that integrate seamlessly with each other is so important.
Constant interruptions can prevent teams from managing their time effectively. Everyone needs to take breaks, but distractions from opening emails, answering phone calls and updating social media can be a huge drain on productivity.
In fact, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back into the swing of things following an interruption, according to a study by the University of California Irvine.
Multitasking is often seen as a good thing, but you could argue that if you do two things at once, both efforts will suffer.
The Flow Model
First introduced in the 1990s by Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Flow Model shows all the emotional states we’re likely to experience when trying to complete a task.
The theory suggests that people are at their happiest when they’re in full ‘flow’ – that is, totally absorbed and engaged in what they’re doing. That means striking the right balance between being challenged by the task at hand and having the right skills and tools to carry it out.
3 reasons why flow is important for workplace efficiency
1. Get more done in less time
You’re engrossed in writing a report and new mail pops up in your inbox. You break off from what you’re doing to read it – which ruins your train of thought. Distractions like this happen to your staff too.
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“With Workplace, you can integrate tools you use on a daily basis such as Jira and Smartsheet to move seamlessly between tasks”
On average, people switch between media content on a single device every 11 seconds. Interruptions can make your employees lose focus, meaning they have to spend time getting back the concentration needed to successfully complete complex work.
People can’t achieve flow if they’re constantly switching between software and looking at different screens and monitors. With Workplace, you can integrate tools you use on a daily basis such as Jira and WebEx to move seamlessly between tasks, minimizing interruptions and maximizing efficiency.
2. Make fewer errors
When you assign your staff tasks, you likely set them a realistic workload for the day, with time set aside for breaks. But you probably don’t factor in all the disruptions that can derail time management.
People often compensate for interruptions by working faster, but this only causes them to make more mistakes. What would help is something to sift through reams of emails, instant messages and project updates that aren’t relevant to them so they can concentrate on getting the important work right.
Tools like Workplace use artificial intelligence and machine learning to do just that.
3. Reduce stress
Distractions don’t just waste time, they affect people’s mental state too. Stress is one of the major workplace issues of today, and losing focus can cause irritability and a constant feeling of being under pressure.
Gloria Mark, professor of informatics at the University of California, describes digital distraction as playing tennis with our cognitive energies, volleying them back and forth. Only unlike a tennis ball, our brain takes more time to switch directions. Going with the flow can rebalance those energies.