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The Benefits of Rotating Office Seating Assignments

The Benefits of Rotating Office Seating Assignments

Whenever offices are reorganized, most workers view the process as nothing else but a nuisance interrupting their daily work and for what exactly? They’re not really sure. Design firms and experts have long discussed the benefits of changing up work environments, claiming that when people are able to circulate freely and had more opportunities to engage with different sets of coworkers, they become more communicative, collaborative, and creative.

Even world-famous managers believe so too; when Steve Jobs was designing the new headquarters for Pixar, he designated large central bathrooms in the building’s atrium, rendering employees to walk a couple of distances to use them creating unplanned “collisions” that would later on spark innovations. Several studies have backed it up but the financial return rate of such investment had been hard to prove – until recently.

A professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Sunkee Lee, came across a “natural experiment” within a large South Korean e-commerce company that was moving into a new office. In their old building, six Merchandising teams tasked with sourcing and marketing flash deals for various products were seated in one area while six other merchandising team sat in another, separated by a common entrance. And though the company wanted both groups to be in one location altogether, space constraints would render nine of them to be in one open area and three in another with a common entrance between them. Both areas are identical in terms of its decoration, lighting, equipment, distance between teams and their respective workstations, as well as proximity to management – there’s no denying that it was pretty similar with those of the old headquarters and employees had no choice where they would sit.

Lee looked at over 38, 435 deals done by 60 merchandisers over 200 days – 120 days before the big move and 80 days after – and found that those merchandisers in the area that contained more teams sourced over 25% more deals from new suppliers, on average, than all merchandisers had sourced before the reorganization. The thing was, the deals didn’t come from collaboration, they were a mark of change in the quality of the employees’ work. Lee identifies the change as a shift away from “exploitation” or the repetition of offers to “exploration” – the formulation of new ideas. More importantly, the daily deal revenue of each employee sitting with a previously unknown colleagues was 40% higher, on average, than that of their average prior to the move.

The aforementioned increase in creativity and the jump to exploratory ideas was statistically significant for those whose experience sourcing deals within the organization. They were above the median and had no social ties to most of the members of their new workspace. Lee explains that once a person learns enough about the area they specialize in, exposure to new peers would help them enhance their creativity. He adds that physical proximity promotes trust and the exchange of knowledge between new colleagues.

In addition to this, the change of surrounding seemed to boost the employees’ performance compared to the other switches the company has made. Moreover, the effect brought upon by the relocation was quick.

Sunkee Lee’s study is one of the first to use a before-and-after setup to examine how a change in a office seating arrangement affects individual innovation and sales performance. But it became part of a long line of research suggesting that where we seat can do significant effects on how they work together. Another prominent example of this is MIT professor Thomas Allen’s study on communication among engineer in the R&D facility of a multinational company during the 1970s. His finding, popularly known as the Allen curve, shows the dramatic drop in dialogues between employees who sit apart. Though most of the earlier research focused on businesses, the aforementioned phenomenon happens in other arenas too. A 2015 study said that members of the US Senate who will sit in close proximity with one another are likely to support each other’s legislation, regardless of their party affiliations.

And though majority of today’s organizations have left closed-door offices behind in exchange for open spaces for communal workspaces, few have gone as far as routinely changing office seating arrangements. Lee still suggests that such interventions is of big help to organizations who live by knowledge sharing and innovation.

And in any case you want some help in keeping things fresh, hit us up!

Five Design Elements That Enhance Productivity

Five Design Elements That Enhance Productivity

Today’s workers and employers have focused the majority of their energy in enhancing their productivity. Several articles and blog sites have discussed “productivity hacks” while some have busted out inspirational Q&A’s with top CEOs and entrepreneurs on how they stay efficient.

There’s even apps that guide you through “focused” meditation. But there are limits to what it can do in a place that is chaotic in itself.  As a result, designers have utilized the role of smart offices by using employee data to create work environments that enhance productivity.

JLL’s Workplace Strategy Practice Managing Director, Ed Nolan, said that the workplace is supposed be the physical manifestation of an organization’s culture and core values. He adds that by thoroughly understanding the correlation of human experience and real estate, companies can create innovative offices that drive productivity, experience and business value.

Experts suggest that the following five design elements that covers everything from concentration to wellness are exceedingly detrimental in boosting employee productivity.

• Amenities That Alleviate Life

Facilities that make life easier doesn’t necessarily have to be something as luxurious as a roof top pool. Something as simple as vending machines that carry healthy, energy-boosting snacks can enhance someone’s experience in navigating through their workday. It’s important that organizations make staying in the office more convenient by reducing an employee’s need to go out.

Companies with an older labor force can add onsite medical services, while the younger demographics with kids might appreciate onsite childcare better.

Giving employees access to free healthy food all day can help them stay flexible as they adjust their mealtimes with their workflow accordingly.

• Right Blend of Workspace Design Elements

The growing global movement of coworking spaces shed light on the advantages of open plan offices. But like the movement itself, the design has its critics – highlighting that the setup has no room for focused work.

In order for a company – or serviced office provider – to cater to the different needs of each professional, it’s important to carry a variation of workspaces. There should be enough room for team activities, casual lounges that cultivate collaborations as well as acoustical areas perfect for concentration.

• Natural Light and Clean Air

The architecture of an office building directly affects its cognitive functioning. Several studies have said that enhanced employee productivity, engagement and satisfaction is only a few of the benefits brought by big windows that allow natural in. Its infrastructure plays a clear role as well. Poor air quality can spread flu and colds.

• Quiet Place

Noise isn’t just any other disturbance; studies from the World Green Building Council says that it can lead to as much as a sixty-six percent productivity drop. Companies should provide options for improving acoustical focus like private offices and phone so booths so that it can help control conference call conversations with the addition of secured privacy.

• Embedded Technology

Today’s modern tools – with the help of the Internet – has made our office life significantly easier. The more organizations embed technology into their workplace, the more productive their people became.

But execution of effective design elements is the key to a successful collation. If the machine itself isn’t intuitive, employees’ valuable time can be wasted.

 

Honest workplace designs that reflect employees’ needs and concerns boosts engagement and productivity. Professionals put more value in organizations that genuinely show concern about them.

Learn more about offices that care and talk to us today!

Creating a Middle Ground for Collaboration and Focus

Creating a Middle Ground for Collaboration and Focus

Today’s architects, interior designers, as well as engineers are fully engaged in a journey of discovering the different ways our run-down-the-mill offices increase our overall efficiency while promoting collaboration at the same time. Much to their surprise, they discovered a risk that was often swept under the rug by today’s large majority: distraction.

Architectural firm, Gensler, made headlines when its 2013 US Workplace Survey revealed the detrimental role of focus in effective performance. The aforementioned study showed that whenever we are distracted at work, our capacity to focus and collaborate is immediately undermined. As a result, this specific piece of information became the ammunition of critics going against the open plan setting. Only a handful of participants reported at least an hour of heads down, concentrated work during their shifts. Their headline finding led people to wonder how professionals can successfully execute individual focused work in an office that clearly prioritizes collaboration.

Understanding the Nature of Software Developers

Almost all industries carry complex work that requires a balance of focused individual activities and collaborative task but lead consultants of Genler decided to focus on software developers and engineers whose project require a lot of focus.

Developing software is an increasingly collaborative activity — self-organizing teams swiftly move through series of cycles. This fluid method of working splits tasks into small increments that would usually take one to four weeks with each one requiring a variation of periods of intense focus and intense collaboration. According to the interviews the team conducted within a global tech firm, it shows that about seventy percent of a developer’s time goes to individual work; some casual and uninterruptible by emails and instant messaging, while tasks like coding, testing, and debugging can only be interrupted at the expense of their productivity. At the same time, sit down conversations and brainstorming sessions are integral to a team’s progress.

The competition in today’s tech industry is fierce, with several companies prioritizing speed in marketing its services and products, and that pressure can easily inflame the problems open workspaces usually come with — it can be too loud and distracting for them. Despite of this, we don’t see it going away. The open plan setting is not going away any time soon and this is because of the mobility it offers as well as its cost efficient nature.

It became pretty obvious by then; people are doing more and more focused work but they feel ineffective at it. Solving it wouldn’t be as easy though, the organizational demand for collaboration hinders researchers from coming up with solutions as both work modes are attached by the hip. Their eureka moment came when they realized that in order for an office to be effective, it needs to serve both interests. It’s not just about the spaces anymore, how work happens matters as much as where work happens.

What Went Right and What Didn’t

The participants involved in the research were situated in a brand new “agile” workspace that carries a series of of open team areas with 15 workstations each. And according to the interviews and focus groups, developers and testers said that the setup fitted their team dynamics, culture, and individual work needs, perfectly. They were incredibly satisfied. It allowed them to sit together and interact with one another amidst focused work. Its size and proximity allowed both work modes to become productive.

Unfortunately, user experience designers weren’t as enthusiastic. Their tasks required them to collaborate with large numbers of teams yet they have the innate tendency to sit along side each other, resulting to distractions. Episodically conversing with developers and testers, it became a tenuous activity that gave them less autonomy on where and how they worked within the office. And in order to cope, they would often look for more effective acoustic spaces elsewhere.

Based on the input they have gathered, it suggests that people can perform well, even in interactive situations, if they have the liberty to utilize workspaces and processes that allowed them to balance both collaborative and focus activities in real time.

A Balancing Act: Collaboration and Focus

Gensler’s report entitled “My Work in a We World”, enumerated four strategies in order to perfect the balancing act: choice and control over surroundings, team discipline, united code of behavior, and decision-making autonomy. Each strategy should be tailored to the organisation, the team, and the project. Taking into consideration other factors aside from the setting, it integrates team dynamics, organisational culture, as well as work polices and practices. In order for your people to truly flourish, they must have enough control over both their space and situation.

Interested in performing the balancing act? Talk to us today and we’ll give you a helping hand. Sales Rain’s spaces are designed to improve both your team and individual performance by syncing collaboration and focus in one rhythm.

How to Steadily Develop an Appetite for Lifelong Learning

How to Develop an Appetite for Lifelong Learning

There was a time in our life when our idea of learning stuck within the four walls of the classroom and though the adults around us would always tell us for the rest of the duration of our younger years that it doesn’t necessarily end where school stops, it will take us a while to realize that they’re actually right.

In our lifetime, there’s a large chance that we would come across people or certain individuals that just love to learn. Acquaintances that would take up another course right after their first ones or workmates who are earnestly working hard to pay for their master’s degree and then there’s that one person whose education doesn’t rely on the traditional method.

They’re the ones we call lifelong learners – people who crave for knowledge that they can apply in real life, day by day. They would read books depending on whatever they are going through at the moment with the idea that it would help them come up new solutions to their current problems. They would use today’s technology to learn new things through different courses found both online and offline and they are always out to find more opportunities to grow – these are lifelong learners, individuals with an everlasting yearning for edification. Some are born with this kind of hunger, while there are some that develop it as they engage themselves with new ways to earn knowledge.

It may seem extensive to a large majority of us but it’s quite the investment, bringing to the table more than what is being asked from us.

The Benefits of Becoming a Student of Life

Medically speaking, aside from its grey matter, the brain contains muscle – that like any other muscle, needs to be exercised for it to be stronger. But aside from this obvious advantage, it carries with it helping hands in other fields.

According to a study on the benefits of lifelong learning from the year 2012, the aforementioned habit helps sharpen the mind, increases confidence, enhances interpersonal skills, expands career opportunities as well as impacts that ability to effectively communicate with other individuals.

Whenever we learn, we develop our knowledge base – breaking old patterns or routines and resulting to an increased confidence in creating. It rids us of the feeling of complacency and in turn pushes to enhance our skills as well as add more to our metaphorical tool box. In addition to this, it’s also good for our health. Though admittedly, it may not cure critical diseases like Alzheimer’s, it still helps in slowing down its progression. Something as small as reading for a short period of time everyday can also alleviate stress levels.

But in order to become a student of life, you must train your brain to have a constant yearning for new things to learn.

Training Your Brain to Crave Learning

Whenever we kick start a new habit and easily notice changes, the more we are prone to doing it again and again. So in order for our brains to have an everlasting yearning for learning, we must train it.

Start by creating an objective for your learning. Say for example, your objective maybe to develop a new skill or to reduce your stress levels. After doing so, start small by setting up a 15-minute read two to three times per week – this method is applicable for those who aren’t naturally keen on learning. It helps to break down information into bite sized pieces so they won’t have a hard time sticking to the habit. And lastly, make it fun. Learning doesn’t have to be a chore, you have every opportunity to make it more engaging like turning it into a game.

The world can be your greatest teacher – and not just academically speaking. When you stick by the right group of people, they can educate you on different fields, including life itself. And if you’re looking for a community filled to the brim with students of life, look no further. Just talk to us today and we’ll introduce you to them!

When Guilt and Shame Comes into Play: Feeling Unproductive

When Guilt and Shame Comes into Play: Feeling Unproductive

A large majority of us keep a list of things that needs to be accomplished during a work day. At certain days, our to-do lists grow longer and longer almost as if tasks won’t stop piling up. When other projects linger unfinished for quite some time, we can’t help but feel ashamed of the accumulating stockpile of work in our desk.

We often feel guilt and its close relative shame when we’ve done something wrong. Guilt is an internal feeling we have on something that we committed, while shame involves feeling like a bad guy, in the context of what the public views as bad behavior.

It’s a common scenario found in different industries but the main question is, are both feelings helpful?

It depends. For us to know how the aforementioned emotions affect an individual’s work behavior, it’s important that we truly understand its nature – its root causes as well as its differences.

Guilt, shame, and feeling unproductive

Despite of its perceived similarity, guilt and shame arise from different attributions and elicits different responses. Shame arises when an individual regards the root cause of their failures to something unchangeable. All the while, guilt is what comes when an individual regards the reason for their failure as something changeable.

Both emotions relate to different aspects of agency and control. When we experience guilt, we resort to focusing on what we could’ve done differently or what we could do to be better in the future but when we feel shame, we direct our attention to how finer things would be if we were a different person. Say for example, a freelancer overlooked a deadline and fails to submit the collaterals he/she has been making for a client on time. If the freelancer correlates this misdeed to his/her behavior, she is likely to experience guilt but if the person attributes it to something core in themselves, he/she would feel shame – a much more devastating emotional experience than guilt for it promotes constructive responses to our mistakes.

A liability or an asset

Both emotions have its pros and cons. For example, guilt can be motivating. It has the power to increase one’s propensity to cooperate. In most cases, it will drive employees to work on tasks that have been stalled for quite a while. At its lowest, it doesn’t create much interference in completing projects but the guilt produced by the inability to work under conditions that are beyond one’s control can be painful.

Shame, on the other hand, relays a different story. It can be problematic in a sense that it prompts individuals to engross in habits that minimize contriteness and are unproductive to the organization. In fact, there are studies providing evidence that people will explicitly procrastinate to avoid shame. Realistically speaking, it’s almost never helpful.

Carrying the same amount of advantages and disadvantages, both can either be a liability or an asset.

So how do we avoid the negative effects of guilt and shame? We need to put a stop to rumination – the process of having repetitive thoughts about something anxiety-provoking – so that it would be less painful for us.

• Exercise self-compassion

Being kind to oneself helps alleviate the negative effects of guilt and shame. We must be willing to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made. A large majority of us would tell our friends who are in the same situation to “give themselves a break”, so we must be able to give ourselves the same advice.

• Focus on your accomplishments

According Gabriele Oettingen’s Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation, focusing on the space between what you have accomplished and what you want to achieve leads to feelings of dissatisfaction. Admittedly, that same energy can motivate an individual to act but when they are unable to do so, focusing on what you have achieved can give you a sense of pride.

• Practicing acknowledgement

One of the many outcomes of mindfulness technique is acceptance of one’s situation. This perspective is also useful when we are trying to overcome feelings of guilt. During these moments, it’s important for us to remember that no matter how bad we feel, it won’t help get rid some of the work that needs to be done.

 

With the innate tradition of needing to look “busy” to be labeled as “productive”, feeling guilty is simply unavoidable.

This type of culture greatly contributed to our anxious tendencies and the longer it stays, the harder it is for us to diminish this toxic habit. Luckily, today’s young professionals are implementing progressive changes in the hope of relieving their peers by starting in the root of it all – the workplace.

With the help of shared offices like coworking spaces that encourages well deserved breaks and reflective downtimes, freelancers and budding entrepreneurs are welcomed to a fresh culture – one that doesn’t berate you for being ‘unproductive’. Its supportive community of like-minded individuals are constantly reminding us that it’s okay to have some slow Mondays, the greater audience agreeing in unison.

If you’ve been feeling down lately, hit us up and maybe we can cheer you up!

Willpower is Overrated: How to Succeed with Limited Drive

Willpower is Overrated: How to Succeed with Limited Drive

Known as the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals, Willpower is often seen as the secret to success. A large majority of the public believes that with more self-control, they can easily improve their lives.

It allows people to make better decisions and stick with them until they’ve achieved their goals. With its help, we delay gratification – a hardwired need for us humans.

With research and first-hand experience backing it up, it comes as no surprise that we believe it’s the secret ingredient to success. But the question is, in this modern time, is it still an important element to reaching our goals?

How willpower became the ‘key’ to success

During ancient times, our kind relied on natural instincts to survive. But as civilization evolved, our ancestors wanted to put things in order. Rules were created to be followed and only by following them will a person get what they want, and survive modern society. Because of this, we made self-discipline a virtue.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, a marshmallow experiment made us believe that it leads to success. Lead by psychologist Walter Mischel, the Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies conducted on delayed gratification. It was simple but it revealed a lot about what willpower can do. Children who participated in the aforementioned experiment were given a choice between immediately being able to eat one piece of marshmallow and waiting for twenty minutes to eat two marshmallows.

Results showed that those who were able to wait fared better in life than those who took the easy route. It pioneered the studies on willpower and experts began to put more emphasis on its benefits.

Nowadays, it’s fair to say that it controls a lot of what we do for we see it as a detrimental factor in reaching our goals. Trainings on developing better willpower became big business as well as countless workshops and seminars.

Despite of the hype it gained, it carries a series of limitations that not a lot of people know about.

The restraints of determination and how to overcome it

Willpower is similar to a muscle – when overused, it gets tired. The fact remains that it still has its limits and on top of this, other factors such as emotional state, physical well-being, and our own tendencies of reflecting our past mistakes hinders us from making the most out of it. Yet despite of its restraint, there’s a way for us to easily navigate ourselves around it.

The realization that willpower has its limitations is the first key to succeeding with limited drive. After doing so, one must create a system that will support them in reaching their goals and drams. Without a personal success system, it defeats the purpose of determination.

Creating a system

A personal success system is one that formulates the right conditions within your mind and environment in order to help you make a surefire outcome. With this in place, willpower becomes this extra helping hand as you reach your goals. Should your drive fall short, with the right system, you’ll remain walking in right path to achievement. Here are the essentials in creating a success system of your own:

• Knowing What Makes You Happy

Take some time to reflect what truly makes you happy – it’s important that we know what motivates us so that when the time comes and our willpower falters during our darkest days, we can easily retreat to simple things that make us happy to uplift us and motivate us once again.

• The Right Environment

Willpower on its own doesn’t place any emphasis on what needs to be changed in your environment, but instead, puts its focus on overcoming its disadvantages. So it comes as no surprise that the moment it fails us, we succumb to environmental influences no matter how much we resist them.

As humans, we are influenced by our surroundings – consciously or not. From what we see in the news, the stories we hear from our friends and even our homes as well as workplaces.

So for us to have a smooth journey towards success, we must create an environment that actually helps us in reaching our goals. For one, if you want to concentrate better, move to a much more secluded room. Other than that, it can also directly support your career. A perfect example is by joining coworking spaces and experience being a part of a community of like-minded professionals.

Several freelancers and digital nomads alike flock these shared offices for its sustainable work environment. Its wide range of work areas allows them to choose where they want to work and when to work. Moreover, its great community of members allows them to learn new things and gives them the opportunity to further expand their network – supporting the goals of its members.

 

It’s high time that we face the facts: “willpower is not the be all and end all” of our careers. Though it remains as a basic component of success, having a system that can back you up the moment it fails you is also important.

Talk to us today and we’ll help you build the system you need to reach your dream.

Why Quitting Isn’t Such A Bad Thing

Why Quitting Isn't Such A Bad Thing

If we tell our colleagues that if we are unhappy with our current job, we should quit.

And though we admit just how badly we want to walk away, the idea actually terrifies us. The act elicits deeply rooted fears and anxieties within us. So instead of facing them, we cozy up back to our comfort zones – no matter how unhappy we actually are.

“Winners never quit and quitters never win”

This is the belief we grew accustomed to, shaping us to think that we shouldn’t stop while we’re ahead – we need to keep on moving forward. The negative impact it can create to our personal life coaxes us in the idea of staying stagnant. And in return, our brains would coerce us that this is what we want. When in reality, we’re just here for the sake of avoiding change.

Internal factors such as what our loved ones would say and financial insecurities would fog our view of the opportunities quitting can open, chances of growing and improving ourselves that contributes to our personal happiness.

Coauthor of the motivational book Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future and preside of Babson College, Leonard Schlesinger, said that a large majority of us are paralyzed by our unhappiness with our current reality.

This same paralysis stops us from taking that leap and keeps us glued to various mundane job. Tech entrepreneur, Daniel Gulati believes that most of us stay too long in professions we hate because the corporate world is geared in keeping people in roles without really considering whether or not an individual matches his or her position.

Simply put, the world doesn’t give us enough freedom to grow and create situations that allows us to thrive and move forward.

Why you still feel ‘stuck’

So you’ve followed all the advice you’ve read from several motivational books but the feeling’s still the same. You still feel stuck and you’re not even really sure why.

If everything still feels the same, chances are it’s because you’re still resisting quitting. Even if it’s pretty obvious that things aren’t working for you anymore, you continue the same routine every day, refusing to prepare for the change walking away could bring.

We’d probably defend ourselves by saying that we’re not really sure what we want right now but this ideology hinders us from discovering the right career for ourselves by just sitting around and thinking about it. If something isn’t working, get up and gather the courage to do something about it.

The second we pick ourselves up and put ourselves into this kind of headspace, true breakthroughs will happen.

People who refuse to acknowledge their unhappy situations and continue to do the same thing day in and day out without ever finding real meaning in what they do, will never flourish – no matter how hard they work.

Quitting is okay

The fact remains, quitting carries a negative connotation – that is, when it means fleeing away from challenges and responsibilities – but in certain cases, it’s a necessary step towards the path of success. It all boils down to acceptance rather than fear.

Sometimes, it becomes exactly what we need in order for us to know what’s best for us – something that will be hard to find when doing the same thing over and over again. Don’t view quitting as a sign of failure, see it as a chance to find what you’re really set out to do in this world.

Statistically speaking, a large majority of today’s labor force are walking away from their 9-to-5 work and corporate roles to join the growing population of digital nomads – freelancers and remote workers cooped up in coworking spaces pursuing their dream jobs. These communities typically found within shared offices encourage young professionals to be brave, to not fear quitting and follow the path less traveled.

Its true magic reveals itself in the sense of urgency that follows, the same feeling that opens up a space for you to find what really matters.

Changing one’s perception isn’t easy, and that’s the truth. But ask yourself what truly makes you happy. What’s the one thing you can’t stop thinking about?

Deep down, we know what would really make us happy but fear is the only thing that’s stopping us from achieving this. Quitting is necessary when something no longer makes us happy or pushes us to grow.

View it as a chance to win at life and in any case that you still need some help, talk to us today.

The Wonders of Contemplation and 10 Minute Meditations

The Wonders of Contemplation and 10 Minute Meditations
Over the recent years, the need for creativity in several jobs have increased. No matter the industry or task – whether you are trying to pacify conflicting stakeholder priorities, looking for solutions to a client’s complaints, or launching a new product, your answers won’t probably be found in textbooks or academic papers.

But the thing is, it’s not easy to generate diverse ideas day by day. Chances are, creative blocks come in the way or worse, we actually run out of them. So what do we do once this happens? How do we move forward when our mind have seemingly hit a wall?

Mindfulness meditation have become an increasingly popular solution to curing mental blocks. Not only are researchers advertising its benefit but even leading firms such as Google, Goldman Sachs, and Medtronic are introducing this method of contemplation, as well as other mindfulness practices to their employees. Their executives and those from other organizations are saying that not only is it useful for stress-reduction, but it can also enhance creativity, opening a door in the wall blocking us from going forward.

But encouraging such acts would take a lot of convincing. These unorthodox ways of increasing productivity is often frowned upon, so in order to open up one’s mind to this approach, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of its affectivity.

The Science of Musings and Contemplation

Administrators who gave contemplation a try, said that it actually helps them switch gears when things are becoming too stressful. In addition to this, there’s a large number of existing literature on the other benefits that it brings to the workplace. If one is to do it regularly, it can boost their resilience – allowing them to mitigate stress, regulate emotions, and develop a much more positive outlook. Moreover, it helps them switch off their innate reactive fight-or-flight response and engage in a more thoughtful mode needed in making balanced decisions.

Danny Penman argues in his book, Mindfulness for Creativity, that meditation and other similar practices amplify three essential skills for creative problem solving. First, mindfulness that switches on divergent thinking, opening our minds to new ideas. Second, it improves attention and makes registering ideas much easier. Lastly, it nurtures courage and pliancy against skepticism and other setbacks – a quality much needed for various innovation processes.

To further strengthen the claims that creativity is one of its first benefits, an experiment was conducted at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Netherlands. One hundred twenty-nine students participated in the test to see whether a minimum of ten minute meditation would be sufficient to boost creativity. The results showed that the short contemplation activities given to them rendered the participants in a more positive and relaxed frame of mind. Moreover, it decreased the participants’ feelings of restlessness by at least twenty-three percent, nervousness by seventeen percent, and irritation by twenty-four percent. Google’s Mindfulness Program Advisor, Mirabai Bush, said in a conference that the activity will make your life work better and your work life better – a win-win situation.

Step-by-Step Process

At the end of the day, the only way you’ll find out whether or not meditation and contemplation works for you, is for you to actually try it yourself. You can download apps such as Headspace, Calm, or Buddhify. You can also try following instructions from short courses that can be found online.

And for us to actually experience it to the fullest, it’s important that our work environments would provide us with enough freedom to do it. Traditional offices would usually disapprove of such activities but the growing presence of coworking spaces are giving today’s professionals room for mindfulness activities. The global phenomenon of shared spaces allows its members full autonomy of their workday and provides them with a wide variety of work areas that they can use any time they please. So in case you want to give ten minute meditations a try, you can easily pick a quiet area for a quick break.

Better ideas and a better mood can easily be achieved in approximately just about the same time that it takes for you to enjoy a cup of coffee. And if you want to give it a try, we can introduce you to a working environment that encourages mindfulness.

A Breath of Fresh Air: Diversifying K-pop Groups

A Breath of Fresh Air: Diversifying K-pop Groups

2017 played quite the significant role for South Korean pop or K-pop culture. In the aforementioned year, what once was a hidden safe haven became a major driver of global culture.

The Korean wave – commonly known as Hallyu – became a full-blown global phenomenon as it made its prominence known. Starting from the entertainment field – filling the streaming platform Netflix with unique Korean dramas, down to the cosmetics industry with its intricate skincare regimen. But at the heart of its growing presence in the global community is its music – the well-acclaimed Korean pop music or K-pop.

A Hidden Safe Haven

Hallyu has been around for almost two decades now but K-pop in particular, have accumulated a global audience in the past five to ten years.  With several second generation artists hitting the Billboard Hot 100 chart, its exports have spearheaded its growth into a $5 billion industry.

Their distinctive blend of melodies, well-choreographed dances, dazzling productions and eye-catching performers, have allowed them to become a global phenomenon. Surpassing language barriers and cultural differences, their music have helped them connect with the rest of the world.

As their audience grows larger, talks of diversity and inclusivity come in. With the country’s conservative nature, their following couldn’t help but wonder just how open the industry is to other cultures.

Transnationality

Though experts admit that prejudice towards foreigners remain to be rampant in the country due to its traditional customs, it can’t be denied that the country is going through its multicultural phase and in response to this, they have become more accommodating to its neighbors.

Not only are we seeing large numbers of different races within South Korea’s current population, the same diversity is now being seen in the K-pop industry as several multinational groups emerge.

The popular girl-group Momoland that made breakthrough success earlier this year with their third mini album “Great!” and its title track “Bboom Bboom” is proof that with inclusivity comes success. The band’s youngest member, Nancy Jewel McDonie, is a half-American, half-Korean, 18 year old who grew up in the province of Daegu. Though her father is American, she grew up to be more fluent in her mother’s dialect. Nancy and the rest of the members of the band is well-received by the local audience as well as their global fan base.

But Momoland wasn’t the first group to introduce non-Korean idols. JYP Entertainment’s GOT7, introduced 3 of its foreign members hailing from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand during their debut. The boys garnered global success 4 years since their debut and is well-loved by the Korean public.

Admittedly, the bigotry is still there but compared to the earlier generations, today’s Korean public have grown to be more open to diversity.

K-pop Diversity and Creativity

The advantages brought upon by inclusivity and creativity can be observed not just in today’s global music industry.

Simply take a good look at today’s workforce. The changing way of working has opened the general public’s mind to the different ways of efficient working. The movement of shared offices or coworking spaces taught us to embrace the unique workings of productivity. Though several experts would suggest that there seems to be a pattern or a way to hack utmost efficiency, it may not be effective for each one of us. Some might need flexibility or creative freedom to produce innovative ideas. Hence, these open layout offices aims to cater to those with peculiar ways of harnessing productivity.

Its success shows that it’s not bad to open up ourselves to the unusual. Just as how the rest of the world warmly embraced the Hallyu wave.

Talk to us today and we’ll show you a different way of being productive.

Saving a Coworker: How Managers Can Help People Who Lost Motivation

Saving a Coworker: How Managers Can Help People Who Lost Motivation

At some point in our career, we meet individuals – sometimes, even groups of people – who lost motivation towards their work. Though we understand the struggle of losing interest, we can’t help but feel frustrated. We find it hard to sympathize with coworkers who become unproductive due to how disengaged they are. We tend to forget what it felt like when we were there and we would often end up being unkind to them, wishing they would just suck it up and snap out of it.

Leaders are prone to falling into this mindset. But what most managers don’t know is that these kinds of approach are usually counterproductive. It’s a band aid solution that ignores the underlying reasons as to why people lose passion for what they do.

The reality is, in order for managements to find the root of the problem, they have to know that it’s crucial to understand the need of humans to feel motivated and to find meaning in the things that they do. It’s simply part of our biology. As a matter of fact, there’s a certain part of our brain commonly known as the seeking system. This specific section creates natural impulses to learn new things and to take challenging yet very meaningful tasks. And whenever this urge is satisfied, we receive a jolt of dopamine – the neurotransmitter responsible for motivation and pleasure – making us want more engagement to these kinds of activities. And, whenever our seeking systems are stimulated, we become more motivated and feel purposeful as well as zestful. We feel even more alive.

In an ideal circumstance, we should be able to freely explore, experiment, and learn – this should be our way of living and working. But the harsh reality is that a majority of us are members of organizations who each have their respective restrictions that prevents us from doing so.

When we’re left in a box with no room for growth and learning, we tend to shut down – a reaction we are engineered to have. It’s our body’s way of saying “we’re meant for better things”. Our brains are basically telling us that we’re wasting our potential.

Activating your employee’s seeking system is one of the biggest keys in bringing back their motivation. The question now is how should managers do it? Surely there are road blocks in the way – many of which are beyond control. Admittedly, it’s almost impossible to ignore these metrics and other bureaucratic red tapes but despite of this, there are ways in which we can stimulate the aforementioned structure without creating too much of a change in the organization.

With three small but significant steps to triggering employee’s seeking systems: encouraging them to play around their strengths, creating opportunities for experiments, and helping them personalize the purpose of their work.

Promoting Self Expression

Philosophers through the decades have emphasized the human mind’s innate drive to showcase their true selves to those around them. Yet despite of this notion, the working industry have ignored our desire for self-expression.

Regardless of the progress we’ve made in our way of working – the rise of remote workers, the growing population of coworking spaces and how the industry is now lauding creativity and innovations – there’s still administrative positions, inflexible roles and standard evaluation systems that creates anxiety instead of excitement.

Allowing talents to think for themselves and utilize their respective unique skills, their seeking systems are activated. They feel more alive when they feel that they have a larger role to play in the company.

Experimenting

Another way of activating the aforementioned system is creating “safe zones” wherein they can experiment, play, and have supportive social bonding.

Not only to these zones elicit positive emotions, it also creates intrinsic motivations that can unleash creativity. Organizations become more agile when they encourage employees to look for new approaches and allow them to test it out as well as letting them learn through feedback sharing.

Research have said that framing change and innovation as an opportunity for experimentation and learning instead of viewing it as a performance situation is actually better.

Greater Purpose and Motivation

The sense of a greater purpose doesn’t just revolve around solving global problems like curing epidemics or changing the world. It can also start with seeing how our input contributes something greater. We find our jobs purposeful when we learn how we affect the team’s progress.