dreamstime_14404603You might remember from my last tip that when I saw the article called “Why You Hate Work” recently in the business section of the Sunday Times I felt the need to write about it and share my thoughts. If you haven’t read Part 1 of this topic yet, you may want to take a look at it here.

Both in the article and in Tony Schwartz’s book “The Power of Full Engagement” he addresses four separate but related sources of energy in work and life – Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. All four need to be working together in order to perform at our best. The better a leader can support employees in drawing from all these sources, the better their performance and the engagement will be.

In the last tip I discussed the physical and emotional sources of energy and today I’ll cover the remaining two , mental and spiritual.

Mental Energy
If you’ve ever taken a workshop with me, you’ve heard me talk about my views on multitasking. Multitasking seems to be a job requirement these days despite the fact that it’s been shown to be ineffective when we look at overall results and outcomes. The brain is a sequential processor. Neuroscientists tell us that when we try to multitask our accuracy goes down, and that when we are interrupted, it takes over 20 minutes to get back to the flow we were in before it. (I can attest to this!)
Tal Ben Shahar, who taught Positive Psychology at Harvard once told our Positive Workplace group that even having a email program open in the background while doing a task that required focus diminished our brain power as much as losing a night’s sleep. It seems a portion of our brain stays at the ready for incoming info and doesn’t get with the task at hand.
Multitasking actually diminishes our brain power. Employees who are able to take a breather every 90 minutes report a 50% greater capacity to think creatively and a 46% higher level of health and well being, and being encouraged by a supervisor increases by nearly 100% people’s likelihood to stay with the company, according to the Times article.

Let that sink in.

People need the opportunity to focus on one thing at a time and they need to effectively prioritize their work. I frequently hear the lament from support staffs that if only their bosses would tell them what of the never ending stream of to-do’s that get put on their calendars is truly important, their stress would lessen considerably. (And if they also knew why they would learn more what matters to them.) People who have the opportunity to focus at work are more engaged – 50% more engaged according to the Times article. That’s significant. We need engaged employees to engage customers.

One of my clients took my cautions to heart – they took my suggestion and bought a bright orange construction cone. Now anyone in the department needing quiet time to work on a project has the freedom to post the cone outside their work station or office. The meaning is understood by all and they stay away. “When you see the cone – I’m in the zone”. The “Flow” zone that is! That’s the state where we lose track of time and our strengths and challenge meet. Some time in flow is essential to well-being.

Spiritual Energy

This is one of those words that is often misunderstood, yet every person understand what is meant by “team spirit”. At work spiritual needs are met by feeling connected to the purpose and the passion of the organization. When people feel valued, important and cared about their spiritual needs are being addressed. According to the article, feeling cared for has a more significant impact on people’s trust and safety than any other behavior by a leader. When people feel cared for, it’s easy to care for the customer. Employees who say they have a supportive supervisor are a whopping 67% more engaged!

People want to know the “Why” – why they are doing what they are doing. Why does it matter? (Our latest generation “Y” has often been dubbed “Gen Why?”) When people can find meaning at work, it makes working more joyful. When people are more joyful – and happier at work, the positive emotion created causes many beneficial biochemical changes in their bodies.

Positive emotion increases creativity and problem solving ability – people become smarter, and healthier. When people have the opportunity to do what they do best and bring their strengths to work their performance increases – and they usually have some energy left over at the end of the day for their families. When leaders notice and acknowledge the contribution that an individual brings to the job five times more often than they notice that persons weaknesses, they fuel higher performance.

What will make your workforce more energized, more inspired? What will take your workforce to the next level of amazing and remarkable? Are you asking yourself those kinds of questions?

A Towers Watson workforce study in 2012 found that the traditional definition of engagement – the willingness of employees to expend extra effort – is no longer enough to fuel the highest levels of performance so necessary today. While willingness (according to the study)brought an operating margin of 14%, the companies with the highest number of “sustainably engaged” employees had an operating margin of 27%, nearly three time the lowest traditional engagement scores.

To quote this article I’m so fond of. “Put simply, the way people feel at work profoundly influences how they perform.”

Are you ready for the future? 2013 Gallup studies tell us only 30% of the US workforce is engaged (Worldwide it’s 13%). What’s the world like where you work? Are you ready to power up your workforce by meeting their four core needs?

Let’s talk. 561-279-0027

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