Employees are the essence of your organization, and their productivity and performance determine the overall growth and success of your organization. Given that, it is imperative for you to have a highly productive workforce. But, cultivating a productive workforce and maintaining employee productivity is not as easy as it seems. It requires actionable strategies that not only work at the superficial level but address the things that impact employee productivity at the core. Mental clarity, overall well-being, and energy level are some examples of things that affect employee efficiency. If your workforce doesn’t possess mental clarity or appropriate levels of well-being or energy levels, it is deemed to be unproductive or perform below its true potential. Now, the question is how to address these core factors that determine employee productivity? The answer lies in ‘Zen practices’.
Zen can teach us the way of life, and there are multitudinous Zen practices that help us tap into the true potential of our minds and bodies and emerge into the best versions of ourselves. That’s why a major portion of global leaders turn to the Zen way of life to attain the mental clarity required to work at their best. Many people have begun adopting these practices to help them bring balance to themselves and give a good start to their day.
If global leaders are turning to Zen there must be something valuable in it. You’ll see it for yourself once you adopt some of these practices and encourage your employees to implement them every day. Here, we’ll discuss a few zen practices that can boost employee productivity.
4 Actionable Zen Practices for Cultivating a Productive Workforce
Most of us engage in multitasking to be more productive without questioning if doing multiple tasks at a time makes us more productive. If we look at research studies, they highlight the fact that multitasking reduces productivity and, in some cases, leads to a productivity drop of 40%. That’s huge, isn’t it?
When we switch between tasks, we actually distract ourselves from one task to another. Once our brain gets distracted, it takes around 25 minutes to regain focus. Given that, by rapidly switching between tasks, you are taking a toll on your ability to concentrate, which significantly reduces your productivity.
Realizing the perils of multitasking, Zen masters have always beaconed their disciples and everyone else to mono-task. When you concentrate on one task at a time, you can actually achieve more in little time. Try monotasking yourself and see the results. As this practice can uplift our productivity manifolds, you should encourage your workforce to mono-task. Additionally, you should also keep some fixed focus hours during the day, when no conversations or meetings take place and your workers just be with the task at hand. Try this out in your company, and you’ll see incredible results.
Our minds are designed to think. Every day we think thousands of thoughts. Even when we are trying to focus on something, our subconscious minds are flooded with thoughts of different types, which serve as distractions. For example, while reading emails, we might be thinking about lunch or meeting our children after office hours and so on. These thoughts consume a portion of our attention and hamper our productivity.
Given that, if we can reduce the intensity of random thoughts that keep popping into our minds, we can concentrate more and perform better. Now, the question is, how can we reduce the intensity of random thoughts? The answer is to meditate.
When we meditate, we let go. We set our minds free and let them wander wherever they want to. As our thoughts keep flowing, soon they reduce in number. Consequently, our mind begins to clear up, and some silent space dawns on us. Therefore, our ability to get deeply engrossed in a task increases manifolds. Random thoughts do appear in our minds, but they are lesser in intensity, which reduces their distracting impact.
Hence, you should encourage your employees to practice meditation. Some people find singing meditative, for others, it’s writing with pen and paper and so on. Let them explore what helps them bring calmness to their minds and encourage them to engage in those activities during meditation time. Further, you can measure the impact of meditation and other Zen practices on employee productivity with the help of productivity-centered key performance indicators. You’ll find a significant increase in employee productivity if you introduce these Zen practices in your workplace.
Natural Light and Fresh Air in the Workspace
Zen masters and Buddhist monks have always focused on being in close contact with nature. They emphasize that nature is healing for the body and the mind and makes us feel alive. Today, their preachings have been validated by research studies. According to research, workers sitting close to a window that optimized daylight exposure reported a 2% increase in productivity. This implies that exposure to natural light boosts our productivity.
Moreover, another study found that the quality of the air we breathe also significantly impacts our productivity. Given that, by following the advice of Zen masters and taking your employees close to nature by letting natural light and fresh air fill up the workspace, you can give an enormous boost to their productivity. Also, there are various top productivity tools for remote teams that can help in many ways.
So, open up the windows, and let everyone bask in natural light and fresh air. Further, if your office is located at a place with a high Air Quality Index, indicating that the air quality is not good, then you should bring some air-purifying plants to purify the air in your workplace. This will not only help with air quality but also make your employees feel good as we all feel better in the company of plants.
If you study closely, ‘decluttering’ is the basic principle the whole of Zen revolves around. Declutter the space around you, declutter your mind, and so on. If you aspire to cultivate a perfect Zen professional workforce that exhibits the highest levels of productivity, you have to teach your employees to declutter their days. Yes, ‘decluttering their days’.
When we see physical things scattered all around our desk, making it cluttered, we feel motivated to declutter it by organizing things. But, when it comes to our days, the tasks we have to accomplish within certain hours, and the entire content of our days, we often don’t organize things well. We can’t see our cluttered schedules and days through our eyes. That’s why we usually don’t focus on how cluttered they are. Consequently, we live through messy, over-filled days, which negatively impact our productivity. Until we don’t eliminate all the extras from our days and make them organized, it is nearly impossible for us to function effectively.
With that said, you must declutter your days and also help your workforce with the same. There are three keys to decluttering your days: Organize tasks in the order of their importance, remove all the non-essentials from the list and if still, your days are overcrowded, find ways to create space and take frequent short breaks. You can start by creating a to-do list every day in the morning. Then, you can revisit it 15 minutes after creating and eliminate the non-essentials and create some space in your days. Further, don’t forget to take short breaks. After every 30 to 40 minutes of working, take a short 5 to 7-minute break. This will help you create space in your mind and boost your productivity.