These questions certainly give many employers sleepless nights. No wonder that they have been in the spotlight among research environments for many years. While analyzing contents available in the Internet, one may find a lot of theories devised by e.g. prominent psychologists which revolve around increase in effectiveness of employees in a work place. One of them is the flow theory – in short, an enthusiastic state of mind that is at the same time a state of maximal efficiency.
What exactly is a flow?
The term flow coined by a psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines a state of full concentration on a performed activity in time when a harmonious flow of information between mind and body occurs. To be more precise, it is a state of experiencing pleasure, satisfaction and full commitment or dedication to a given task. It is mainly associated with the environment of e.g. painters, poets, musicians or sportsmen who are completely engaged in a performed work: painting, writing, composing of music or practicing sport. Is it possible to transfer the flow phenomenon into the world of a computer programmer, accountant or marketer?
Yes. According to the psychologist from USA, this experience is universal and it may be applied to every single situation that occurs every day. How was then the flow theory implemented in the work environment? The answer may be found in the report compiled by Nowy Styl Group „Flow at work – Factors determining the optimal experience at work”. This study is an innovative approach to the term flow in the context of work and occupational environment. It consists in e.g. precious tips how to create an office favoring the flow experience at work. The first tip is the necessity of providing a proper work place intended for concentration to employees, which allows them to focus on a performed task without any distractions. Why is it so important? According to the results of the conducted research, over a half of employees are distracted by the noise at work. Proper conditions mean better results and better results have an impact on satisfaction and motivation of each employee. The second crucial element is guarantee of a smooth communication enabling better understanding of a goal set by employees and constant receive of feedback from a supervisor in the area of a performed task. While bringing two first tips to life, one cannot forget about the third aspect – the best work place is a place which favors cooperation and does not create barriers between employees. According to the report conducted by Nowy Styl Group, the flow phenomenon may be experienced thanks to a team work. The intensity of interactions is really important in this case. The rule is simple – the more intense the communication is, the more intense the flow phenomenon is experienced. It means that a well-designed office space should consist of a zone intended for formal and informal meetings. The secondly mentioned zone is important because it enables spontaneous interactions between employees and thus they play a substantial role in creation of a good atmosphere at work and this factor has a crucial meaning in experiencing the flow state.
Work place with a flow
Theory is not enough because it also has to be used in practice. Therefore, Nowy Styl Group took a step further and they suggested not only some solutions how to create an optimal work place enabling each employee to reach the flow state, but also gave employers a concrete instrument – the furniture system called Play&Work. How does it sign itself into the flow theory?
Desks that are integrated with high lockers used for separation from the noise in open space zones are aimed at better concentration. Moreover, transparent metal panels enabling eye and voice contact, which may be completed with an upholstered tuck, were implemented in order to provide communication. Thanks to the furniture system called Play&Work, a side additional seat to the workbench sets as well as lockers with a function of a seat were designed in order to create zones that encourage to informal meetings. Furthermore, natural materials such as wood, linoleum or wool with a wide range of colors were applied to create a friendly atmosphere.
The experiencing of a flow at performance of occupational tasks is therefore real. It is worth remembering that an optimal work environment is only a part of success. Personnel, and to be more precise – their attitude and passion are also important in this matter.