Head Space

by | Apr 3, 2017

I’m a reflector. I’ve always been one, but I didn’t really understand my thinking process until I was older. It means two things; sometimes I can make a snap decision which isn’t always the most sensible, although this doesn’t happen anywhere near as much now I’m older, but it can also take a while for me to think something through and come up with something viable.

However, this doesn’t mean that it takes an age for me to make a decision. I’ve honed my thinking process over the years and coupled with a brain that just never seems to have any down-time, I can take on board the info I need, cogitate on it and then formulate a plan.

One of the things that I do to help this process is force my brain to have some time out. You see, one of the things I noticed about myself years ago is that I need to not actively think about something to think about it. It’s like I have to clear my head of all the white noise that comes with thinking to get to the essence of a problem. When I can do that, I can think about what I need to.

Clearing out the white noise isn’t as easy as just mentally commanding it to be gone; this is not the middle ages and I’m not possessed by demons! I’ve adopted a process of doing something else, usually inane. I have a feeling that there is scientific reasoning for this, but sitting staring out of the window and focusing on the skyline or the birds or whatever can work, doing an online jigsaw or suduko are even better. All of them get my brain to focus on one thing and stop the constant whirling around, making space and calm for me to think about what’s really important. This process is often misunderstood. Now that I’ve got my own work environment, I’ll do what I want, but when I’ve been in an office, it’s frowned upon. Why is that?

Tech companies like Facebook and Google have got it right. They have proper breakout spaces with entertaining diversions, trivial pastimes and childish pursuits. They pay a lot more attention to the work environment, how it looks, how it feels, how people move about and interact. And all of this generates a much higher level of creative thinking and productivity than the businesses that adopt a traditional work place. When there is ample evidence to prove that allowing people more free head space works, why do most businesses have a real issue with their team taking active breaks during their work day?

We (the royal We) talk about how we have to embrace the differences in the people we employ but, like my daughters school who teach in one way and cannot accommodate visual learners, the majority of businesses fail to accommodate those of us that work better when we’re not at a desk, or looking at a spreadsheet. It makes me think we need to pick apart the diversity question a bit more and understand what it actually means to have a diverse workforce, because it runs much deeper than mere skin colour and gender.

I can’t help but wonder how our need to stick to the outmoded and archaic idea of a workplace plays into the gradual decline of innovation in business. We exacerbate this further by insisting on a specific set of criteria to be able to apply for a job. How important is it that you went to university in the 80’s, and how much does it contribute to your ability in your current and future job? I run a successful business and employ people (and will be employing more by the end of the year) and have a clear plan of how we are going to provide tangible help to our community, but I’ve never been to university – the closest I’ve been is a shopping trip to Cambridge.

As the PtG team are re-fitting our new work space, I’ll be looking more closely at how I can foster solution finding, creative thinking. This might be as simple as supporting active breaks, or providing diversions in the way of in-office games areas, space to move around or encouraging the use of virtual and physical tools. We won’t get it right all the time and there will be some who try and exploit the situation or misinterpret the meaning, but despite these, we need to explore these ideas to push our business forward and hopefully, set an example for those we work with.

If you would like to know what makes us different and how it benefits our customers, call Julie or Charlie on 01462 713444. We can share our ideas and discuss how our creativity can help support your business.

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