Laura Stack* says changes in the business environment (and not just because of the pandemic) have forced organisations to consider practices which a few years ago would have been dismissed as ‘New Age’.
When many people hear the term ‘New Age’, they think of crystals, magic mushrooms, and alternative spirituality.
When applied to business practices, the term takes on a different meaning.
Oh, there’s some of the esoteric in New Age business; but as it typically does, the business community has extracted only what seems to work.
It’s more of a New Age of productivity than a new type of lifestyle.
Practitioners of New Age management techniques have chosen logical practices for treating their human resources as, well, more human.
Let’s take a look at a few, starting with the obvious.
Many Westerners have misguided ideas about meditation.
Stripped of mysticism, it’s simply a way to relax and clear your mind — a welcome exercise for a desk-bound worker.
This allows you better access to the creative and subconscious parts of your mind.
If you come up with a new idea or insight during the process, that’s a bonus — and you may end up with more dividends than you expect.
I won’t teach you how to meditate here; you can find hundreds of resources that do so on the internet, depending on your intention (it’s not just all about not thinking).
When I first tried deep breathing for meditation, I couldn’t stop my mind from going over my to-do list, so now I pray instead to keep my mind focused.
Involves paying strict attention to what you’re doing in the moment.
While letting yourself run on automatic can increase your productivity, it doesn’t work for everything.
I think of it as more peripheral to work than central to it: Routine gets you dressed, through breakfast, to work, and into your daily mode.
However, while you work, mindfulness ensures your focus, reduces mistakes, and deepens your effectiveness and understanding of what you’re doing.
Running on automatic, you learn little or nothing; mindfulness is how you improve your work and your work ethic and expand your repertoire.
Errors become fewer, your pace more deliberate, efficient, and effective.
Remember: True productivity lies where efficiency and effectiveness intersect.
This is a point I’ve made repeatedly over the years: Do one thing at a time with your full focus, and you can do it better and faster than if you try to divide your attention with multiple tasks.
While workers are arguably improving at multitasking (if only due to the nature of their daily lives), many employers have begun to emphasise it less.
This may be because Millennials and subsequent generations have begun entering the workplace in increasing numbers, with some of the older Millennials having risen to the top by now.
Having seen the tech bubble burst, followed by the Great Recession and its effects, these workers are more likely to be self-focused vs. job-focused.
They still do their jobs, but don’t kill themselves doing so. Ironically, the result is often greater productivity.
Enhanced remote working
You knew I’d include this one, right?
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to learn better ways to work remotely, using technology that’s advanced significantly since we last tried telecommuting en-masse.
Meetings on Zoom and Skype have become so common as to be unremarkable, much like predicted in old science fiction.
Videophones looked like they weren’t really going to happen — until new technology and their utter utility during the pandemic made them ubiquitous and necessary.
Ease of use and our new familiarity with them makes it unlikely we’ll stop using these and other simple tools to work from anywhere in the world.
Remote work has come into its own.
A new focus on wellbeing
Even before COVID, companies were becoming more concerned about the health and wellbeing of their individual employees.
Healthy employees are productive employees,
We’ve now come to realise that taking regular breaks, getting access to natural light, regularly changing posture, the presence of plants, and even walking meetings improve employee wellbeing enough to improve their performance.
New Age workplace practices may sometimes seem a little woo-woo, but the ones we’ve adopted are logical, and they work.
These are just a few such New Age practices. Do you have more to add to the mix?
*Laura Stack is an award-winning keynote speaker, bestselling author, and authority on productivity and performance. She has authored eight books, including her newest work, Faster Together: Accelerating Your Team’s Productivity. She can be contacted at theproductivitypro.com.
This article first appeared at theproductivitypro.com.