Workflow: The Future of Work

As business and industry has advanced, new productivity models have been created to increase profit and output. Many businesses rely on finding the most efficient way to create more value for their customers or to just create more revenue. From six sigma, project management theories to Gollop productivity models, theories on productivity abound.

But few employers consider how employing mental health techniques might improve productivity and ultimately the bottom line. April is Mental Health awareness month and also Occupational Therapy month, that’s why now is a great time to think about how business and industry can improve employee output with advanced techniques.

Occupational therapy addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial, sensory-perceptual, and other aspects of performance in a variety of contexts and environments to support engagement in occupations that affect physical and mental health, well-being, and quality of life.

According to the American Occupational Therapy Society (AOTA). This means that things we do every day, like climbing stairs, writing emails and checking our smartphone can be considered as an “occupation. The concept of “flow” is an concepts in the field of occupational therapy. The term was coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian American Psychologist who determined that people reached a state of bliss during certain activities.

According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his associate, Isabella Selega Csikszentmihalyi, in a 1988 paper entitled, “Optimal Exprience: Pyschological Studies of Flow in Consciousness,” flow is defined as, ““A positive feeling that occurs when there is a balance between perceived challenges and that person’s skills. It may include enjoyment, intense or complete involvement, deep concentration, or the loss of time”

Could it be possible for employers to configure work stations, tasks and other work related occupations to create or simulate a positive feeling of flow? Imagine if managers could help employees reach a state of flow in their duties? Imagine how quickly tasks could be done and how productive the company might be buoyed by not only a great productivity model, but also an occupational therapy flow model that encouraged a sense of bliss among staff during work. Among the top causes of stress are work, death, divorce, finance and health issues. Imagine if an employer could help to alleviate some of that stress and thereby increase productivity by encouraging work and business techniques that increase flow?

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