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Monday, July 11, 2011

Rested Minds = Productive Minds: A Case for "Slacking" at Work

As we slide headfirst into our busiest season, it’s important to take stock of our mental health and step away from our desks, put the blackberries away at the end of the day, or even take some time away from the office to rest and recharge. It’s easy to obsessively check email outside of the work environment, but the most productive employees are those that can distance themselves from the office and return fresh and re-energized the following day.

In fact, research shows that employees who spend time daydreaming are more creative and better at generating new ideas. So, rather than load up on caffeine to stay focused from 9-5, take a couple minutes to clear your head. Go for a walk, chat with coworkers, or eat lunch at a park nearby. If this behavior is appropriate in your office environment, go for it! Business can benefit from some employee downtime.

If you want to push productivity in this manner, try offering flexible work schedules, encourage some idle internet surfing, and don’t necessarily assume that an employee staring off into space is slacking. Just like recovery is a critical component of getting in shape physically, mental rest is crucial to keep the brain in tip top condition.


Anonymous said...

This reminds me of the initial stages of sleep and how they are necessary for memory encoding. I'd be willing to bet that some mental "breaks" during the day would substantially help with productivity and learning/memory encoding.

Neil Butterfield said...

Very sound advice here. Meditation is very helpful if you want your creative juices to flow. It is also important to get some time alone so that you can think clearly.

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