Article 092: Fostering flow in the workplace


A recent study by Harvard Business School has found that companies generate more success when the workplace environment is one that encourages employees to set clear goals, while supporting them with the flexibility required to reach them. These conditions demand a high challenge and a high concentration level – which is conducive to the flow state – and this may explain why these companies experience increased productivity.

In flow, creativity increases by 700%. This is due to the fact that pattern recognition and lateral thinking – two key components of the creative process – are sharpened, while the brain becomes adept at tuning out distractions. This allows employees to approach problems with creativity, translating to increased productivity. In fact, a study run by McKinsey found that executives in flow are 500% more productive than when they’re not.

Many associate the flow state with incredible feats performed by extreme athletes, but flow triggers can be incorporated into any workplace or situation. The Flow Genome Project found that the vast majority of people experience the flow state when carrying out creative knowledge work with concentration. They’re designers, programmers, writers, managers, marketers – all professions that are crucial to bringing a rebel entrepreneur’s vision to life.

While a rebel entrepreneur cannot force their employees to experience the state of flow, they can take steps to ensure that their workplace is one that encourages creativity and has the potential to foster flow. Team members should feel challenged by their work, but also secure in their abilities in approaching said challenge. Crucially, however, employees must have a genuine passion for their work. Rebel entrepreneurs will ensure that they are surrounded by team members who will gain satisfaction in seeing their shared vision come to life.

Masaru Ibuka, the co-founder of Sony, stated that he wanted to “establish a place of work where engineers can feel the joy of technological innovation, be aware of their mission to society and work to their heart’s content.” It is in this ideal that creativity and passion combine, and the whole company can reap the benefits of the resulting productivity.




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