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16.10.2019

Think time: The simple practice that breeds innovation

We are living in an always-on world.

It feels like every minute of our workday is filled with a meeting, a phone call, an email, and catching up on an overdue task.

Outside work hours, life continues apace. We rush to the bus or train, squeeze in an hour at the gym, and then race home to prepare dinner, tomorrow’s lunches and spend time with the kids.

Our daily activities leave us little time to think and even less to innovate. More employees than ever are also taking leave due to stress and anxiety, reducing the productivity of your business.

Some astute employers have introduced a simple concept that could boost the performance of both your employees and your business.

Time to think about ‘think time’?

‘Think time’ is an emerging concept that benefits both you and your employees. It is time taken during the workday to well, think. Employees can focus on one specific project, catch up on a piece of work, or think about ways of improving work processes.

It’s a concept already in use by many well-known business people and companies. For example, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner dedicates two hours a day to uninterrupted thinking. Bill Gates would take two weeks to think about the future of Microsoft. At AOL, executives are encouraged to spend four hours a week just thinking.

Whether used by employers or employees, think time can benefit an individual and overall business health.

Reduced risk of burnout

Think time offers people a chance to reflect on their mental health. Being able to take time when stress strikes gives employees a chance to relax and evaluate situations before reacting.

We all know how hard it is to find time to think about ourselves too. When a personal issue arises, it’s not restricted to after work hours, it’s ever-present. Time to think about the issue during the workday will help reduce stress and worry, while also giving employees time to resolve the issue.

That means they face less risk of burnout, fatigue or anxiety. The knock-on effect is that your employees and your business benefit.

How can you implement think time?

If you’re seriously considering think time, it’s important to remember that it goes for your entire workforce. Every employee needs to be included, not just people working in creative roles.

Lead by example when you roll out the initiative. Take an hour or two in your day, grab a coffee and move into a quiet room. Show your employees that it’s okay to take the time.

When it comes to your employees, two easy ways to promote think time are to provide:

  • Individual think time: Allow employees to take think time on their own. They can do this by going out for a coffee or using a quiet room, or
  • Group think time: Assign time slots for groups or teams. They can use a quiet room and jot down ideas. Or, they can talk among themselves about ideas they have for the business.

Your employees will almost certainly welcome either option. While the benefits may not be noticeable immediately, you and your employees will reap the rewards in the long run.

Thinking of trialling think time? Speak with an expert on 01 886 0350 to make sure you do it right. You can also complete a contact form to receive a callback.

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