Tips for work ethic improvement

A big portion of our lives is devoted to work. And work is done in offices. But what is the defenition of “an office” in a time where we crave flexibility and happiness.

Happy Office

At Jaswig we believe that the term “office” applies to a whole range of places. People work in co-working spaces (The Surf Office is one of our favourites), cubicles, at their home office, in the airport, on the train, etc… Because people work in all these different places flexibility is key in the contemporary work environment! Inspiration on beautiful, flexible workspaces can be found on our Pinterest page.

Our work environment and ethic is influenced by a lot of factors. Our managers, office design, colleagues, personal health, family situation, etc… They are all interrelated and make up a very complex reality. Nevertheless, there are always a few things we can do to cheer up our environment and build a happy working life.

Incorporate nature inspired design

People have a preprogramed preference for natural elements. Philosopher Yannick Joye from Ghent University, Belgium devoted his PhD to this subject. His research gives us some pretty interesting insights. It turns out that our brain has specific modules for handling natural and non-natural stimuli that could explain the biophilia hypothesis or the love of living systems.

Love for Nature

Nature is full of fractal patterns. Fractals are patterns with a certain repetitiveness that displays at every scale and thus showcase an infinite amount of detail. Joye continues his argument that fractal patterns have a stress reducing and aesthetic impact on human beings and thus promote well-being.

Introducing these forms can be done in several ways:

  • Introduce fractal forms in architecture
  • Support grass root organisations that preserve nature outside and inside the city
  • Regularly spend time in nature

“Keep close to Nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean. – John Muir -“

Inspiration on how to introduce fractal forms in architecture can be found in this TED blog post and a review of a new book on fractal form in nature can be found here.

Give yourself and others the space to slow down

Slowing down is a very hard thing to do; it requires a shift mindset. We are always busy. We even use it as a measure of success. In fact when prompted the question of how life is, one almost always answers “Busy” (this article describes “the busy phenomenon” nicely).

Slow it Down

However, our busy lives are actually leading to stressful unproductive lives and work environments. From now on, actively take a step back from time to time. You can find some nice ideas on how to take a good pause here. Training your ability to slow down and be less busy will increase happiness and boost your creativity. Take a walk in the park or have a walking meeting.

Work towards autonomy

People love to have a certain amount of freedom and autonomy. The pressure to be present just for the sake of being present is something that is out-dated and outright dangerous when thinking about the millennials that are flooding the labour market.

Freedom and autonomy also reflect in the way people are included in certain processes and decisions. We have to try and give everyone in the organisation a voice so that creativity keeps flowing. This doesn’t mean everything should become unorganized and untargeted.

There are hundreds of options to introduce more inclusive “management” techniques. Books related to this topic include Reinventing Organizations by Frederic Laloux and Holacracy by Brain Robertson. A nice blog post about this subject can be found here.

Holacracy Infographic

Autonomy also reflects the space where people work and the rules at those places. A study of Stanford University showed that if people are granted the freedom to work where they want (co-working space, home office, other company) they are happier. And being happy boosts performance and creativity.

Might this be because of the reduction in time spend in traffic jams, being overly solicited by colleagues or spending too much time in meetings (an interesting article on standing up while having a meeting can be found here).

Watch us standing at our prototype standup meeting table, made out of one single plate of bamboo!