Going with the flow: The path to better workplace efficiency?

In psychology, the concept of flow means feeling totally immersed and focused on what you're doing. But when flow is interrupted at work, efficiency and productivity can take a dive. That's why having tools that integrate seamlessly with each other is so important.

flow in the workplace - Workplace from Meta

Constant interruptions can prevent teams from managing their time effectively. Everyone needs to take breaks, but distractions from opening emails, answering phone calls and updating social media can be a huge drain on productivity.

In fact, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back into the swing of things following an interruption, according to a study by the University of California Irvine.

Multitasking is often seen as a good thing, but you could argue that if you do two things at once, both efforts will suffer.

The Flow Model

The Flow Model

First introduced in the 1990s by Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Flow Model shows all of the emotional states that we're likely to experience when trying to complete a task.

The theory suggests that people are at their happiest when they're in full "flow" – that is, totally absorbed and engaged in what they're doing. That means striking the right balance between being challenged by the task at hand and having the right skills and tools to carry it out.

Three reasons why flow is important for workplace efficiency

Three reasons why flow is important for workplace efficiency

1. Get more done in less time

You're engrossed in writing a report and a new email pops up in your inbox. You break off from what you're doing to read it, which ruins your train of thought. Distractions like this happen to your staff too.

Let's stay connected

Get the latest news and insights from the frontline of work.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive marketing-related electronic communications from Facebook, including news, events, updates and promotional emails. You may withdraw your consent and unsubscribe from such emails at any time. You also acknowledge that you have read and agree to the Workplace Privacy Terms.

"With Workplace, you can integrate tools you use on a daily basis such as Jira and Smartsheet to move seamlessly between tasks"

"With Workplace, you can integrate tools you use on a daily basis such as Jira and Smartsheet to move seamlessly between tasks"

On average, people switch between media content on a single device every 11 seconds. Interruptions can make your employees lose focus, meaning they have to spend time getting back the concentration needed to successfully complete complex work.

People can't achieve flow if they're constantly switching between software and looking at different screens and monitors. With Workplace, you can integrate tools you use on a daily basis such as Jira and WebEx to move seamlessly between tasks, minimising interruptions and maximising efficiency.

2. Make fewer errors

When you assign your staff tasks, you probably set them a realistic workload for the day, with time set aside for breaks. But you probably don't factor in all of the disruptions that can derail time management.

People often compensate for interruptions by working faster, but this only causes them to make more mistakes. What would help is something to sift through reams of emails, instant messages and project updates that aren't relevant to them so that they can concentrate on getting the important work right.

Tools such as Workplace use artificial intelligence and machine learning to do just that.

3. Reduce stress

Distractions don't just waste time, they affect people's mental state too. Stress is one of the major workplace issues of today, and losing focus can cause irritability and a constant feeling of being under pressure.

Gloria Mark, professor of informatics at the University of California, describes digital distraction as playing tennis with our cognitive energies, volleying them back and forth. Only unlike a tennis ball, our brain takes more time to switch directions. Going with the flow can rebalance those energies.

Was this article helpful?
Thanks for your feedback

Recent posts

Business communication | 10-minute read

How Ennismore uses Workplace to connect global teams and get more done

Workplace leaders: We meet Sharan Pasricha – Founder and CEO of Ennismore – to see how using Workplace is helping connect the entire organisation.

Culture | 11-minute read

Workplace culture: what it is and how to create positive impact in your organisation

With the pandemic forcing organisations to radically change how they work, creating a positive workplace culture has become an urgent priority for businesses everywhere.

Business communication | 10-minute read

Ways to stay organised at work: the downside of multitasking

The ability to juggle lots of tasks is often seen in a positive light. But is working on many projects a good thing or are there better ways of working?