Speed Up or Take Things Slow?

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

We live in a society that constantly emphasizes the “Speed up” concept:  produce more, get more, move faster, get higher and in such as society taking things slow might be considered anti-progress. The moment we get something new, we want to know what is coming next and it feels like we cannot help it.

As much as I would like to deny it, I was one of those people. I always had my hands full with dozens of things that needed to be done “right now.” And when I finished a task, I wouldn’t think about it before jumping into the next one.  

It wasn’t until last year, when I was living in The Netherlands, that I came across the Dutch word “onthaasten.” This word could be translated as “de-hurrying” and it is all about taking things slow. When I first heard the term, it gave me a sense of relief. As humans, we tend to seek approval to do the things that we need, such as slowing down a bit.

Slowing down gives us freedom, it makes us feel happier and less stressed, as a result, we are also more productive at work.

From a Business Perspective

Asking your employees to take things slowly at work may sound absurd. However, when you take a closer look at the benefits it could have for your employees and your company you might want to reconsider slowing the pace.

Here are some statistics that show the negative impacts of having such a fast-paced life.

  • Stress has become the number one long-term sickness.
  • The largest companies in the United States estimate that unexpected and sick leaves are costing an average of $760,000 per year.
  •  Several studies show that working long hours at a fast-paced cause tension, anxiety, stress and depression.

Employees working under constant stress and burnout are more likely to make mistakes and to have poor judgment and decision making on the job. On the other hand, Watson Wyatt, a leader who helps organizations improve performance, states that companies with healthy and happy employees can achieve:

  • 20% more revenue per employee.
  • 16.1% higher market value.
  • 57% higher shareholder returns.

Benefits of Going Slow

The idea behind slowing down goes hand on hand with practicing mindfulness at work. When we are constantly running to get things done, moving from one task to another in seconds, we don’t have time to think, analyze or change the course of our actions.

People who learn to slow down at work:

  • Have better listening and communication skills being able to foster good relationships with co-workers, partners and, clients.
  • Improve analytical skills by being more observant and perceptive.
  • Are less impulsive in the decision-making process.
  • Tend to be more creative and to have better solving problem skills.
  • Become more present in day-to-day activities becoming better leaders.

Now that you know what “slowing down” is all about, take a moment and think if this is something you want for your company and your employees. As we have mentioned before, happy employees make organizations thrive. If you would like to know more about mindfulness and its benefits at work, don’t forget to read our previous article (here). And remember, we have to create working spaces adapted to our people and not the other way around.

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