A Positive Employee is Worth Pounds

money-manResearch shows that employee wellbeing can influence an employer’s bottom line. It’s not just an indulgence of companies like Google – with their fun slides, colourful workspaces and pool tables – focus on developing your staff and you’ll see financial and reputational benefits that far outweigh the time and money invested. A content, fulfilled employee is more productive than a demotivated, dissatisfied workforce.

Positivity at work isn’t necessarily aligned to a huge pay packet; there are a number of ways to help employees get more from their working hours: such as offering a decent work/life balance and flexible working arrangements, ongoing development and training, clear acknowledgement and reward, and values within an organisation.

So, how can employers get the best form their people? Do they focus on improving employees’ weaknesses, or should they work to develop their strengths? Don’t both options reach the same end?

Research by Gallup shows that there’s greater potential associated with the developing of employees’ strengths, as opposed to ‘fixing’ their weaknesses. It’s not that difficult to understand…just think about it: would you feel good if you had to think about the specific things you don’t do well (and, likely, don’t enjoy either)? Would this motivate you to change these aspects? Human nature means you’re also likely to compare yourself to people who don’t have issues in those areas – how’s that going to make you feel?

We’ve written before about how you become what you think, and if your point of view is one of negativity, it’s not the best foundation for your inspiration and innate talent to shine through.

Think about something you’re good at. Something that you already know you like to do. Something that you’re already skilled at…how would it feel if you were even better at it?! Would you be happy to go to work to develop this strength? Do you think you’d feel better about your job? Wouldn’t you want to apply your new-improved skills?

The Gallup study showed that the more people think about and use their strengths, the happier they are. They feel calmer and that their quality of life is good. They also feel more engaged with their work.

And here’s the bottom-line effect. More than a million employees took part in Gallup’s study; they were arranged into groups that received A) intensive intervention relating to their strengths, B) moderate intervention on strengths, and C) no intervention at all.

90% of the employees in groups A and B showed an increase in productivity. Even moderate intervention had the potential to realise up to 29% more profit, 19% better sales, and 15% improved employee engagement.

A 2012 study by David MacLeod and Nita Clarke, in association with the University of Bath, backs up the benefits of a happy, engaged employee. It reports: “As well as performance and productivity, employee engagement impacts positively on levels of absenteeism, on retention, on levels of innovation, customer service, and staff advocacy of their organisations.” Just last November the CIPD published the findings of their own study, which showed that team performance is better when focus is on employees’ strengths.

Make it a habit

Our brains don’t have infinite capacity. We can only process a certain amount of information at a time, which is why we form habits – often-repeated tasks that can be carried out by our subconscious mind. Experts can’t quite pin down how many daily tasks come with their own mental shortcuts; some believe it’s around 40%, whilst others think it could be as much as 80% of what we do.

Thinking positively and concentrating on pushing our strengths forward can become a habit. Our brains are pliable enough to make new habits; however, it’s easier to focus on a new habit if we rid ourselves of old ones that no longer serve us – such as any thought we may give to our weaknesses. When we apply our strengths to problems, we acquire the skills to solve them, which in turn helps us to grow and develop.

This all sounds fantastic if you know what your strengths are. Given that we’re continually learning things and undergoing new experiences, we can potentially pick up new ones all the time. We’re all works-in-progress.

The Jigsaw Discovery Tool is a unique solution that not only identifies strengths, it also gives you an insight into how to apply them, when it comes to communicating and interacting with others. Great for leaders and managers looking to get the best from their team, using the positives of each individual to achieve the end goal.

Emotions are contagious, as are ideas (Schachter, 1959: 15; Cacioppo and Petty, 1987; Levy and Nail, 1993). We’re back in the subconscious again: our physiological responses mirror that of those around us. If we’re faced with hostility, that’s what we’ll fire back. If there’s enthusiasm and warmth bouncing around us, that’s what we’ll project, too.

That’s why it’s so important to create a positive culture. One where employees’ strengths are paramount.

Your bottom line will thank you…

If you would like to find out more about the Jigsaw Discovery Tool, please contact Michelle McArthur-Morgan on 01924 898930


Is our Generation a Ticking Time Bomb?


Everyone is made up of matter, we know this. We need oxygen to breathe, and various other elements to stay alive.

Chemicals (hormones) gush through our bodies and nervous systems: the vast majority benefiting us on a short-term basis. But, you can have too much of a good thing.

Take cortisol. Often called the ‘stress’ hormone, this chemical can have a range of functions: it can help regulate blood sugar and salt in the body, improve memory function and control our blood pressure. If we have too much cortisol in our bodies, though, it can interrupt our sleep patterns, affect fertility, cause muscle weakness, and much more.

Research has shown that we have more cortisol in our systems that our parents and grandparents carried. We have learned to react to a 24/7 world, which means we don’t spend as much time relaxing as previous generations did. And we don’t mean being physically relaxed; for many of us, even if we sit down to rest, our minds still turn over the things that worry us. And in this instance, your body will still produce cortisol – as it gears up for what it thinks could be a ‘fight or flight’ situation.

In a 2017 study, 40% of the employees questioned said they experienced ‘excessive pressure’ at least once a week. Do you imagine your parents or grandparents would have said the same? Yes, they lived through traumatic periods, no more so than during world wars, but outside of these horrific incidents, was life for them as stressful on a daily basis?

Have you ever fallen ill when on holiday? On a daily basis cortisol keeps our wits sharp, its stirs our adrenaline, and it makes sure we function well, but constant overproduction can affect our immune systems long-term. One reason why people in demanding jobs often get sick in their downtime is because the sudden drop in cortisol production causes an inflammatory response.

Mindfulness is a word that’s been batted about in recent years, though there are still many of us who don’t practise it. It’s not a New Age practice, but the simple act of slowing down and clearing your mind for a short while. Your brain is a muscle; we would gladly rest our legs if we’d been on them all day – why should our minds be any different?

Ten minutes meditation/mindfulness once a day is a help, but for long-term benefits, and so we can avoid the cortisol time bomb going off – which has the potential to explode into a breakdown of some kind – we need to flood our systems with positive chemicals. These include dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins, which are all part of a group often called ‘the happiness chemicals’. With an amygdala full of ‘happiness’ hormones, we react to situations calmly and with a positive attitude. If cortisol overrides these chemicals our reactions tend to come from a point of anger and frustration.

Incorporating mindfulness into our daily lives is not a case of jumping onto the latest self-help bandwagon – it has real effects on our effectiveness and productivity. Consider this: the number of sick days employees take from work each year, due to anxiety and stress, costs the economy £29bn.

So, how do we increase our happy vibes? How do we ensure there are more happy chemicals in our systems?

Well, they don’t derive from having the biggest house, the latest designer handbag, or the flashiest car – sorry! Research has shown that people are happiest when they “feel good about themselves and what they’re doing”. According to Fredrickson et al, happiness stems from gratitude, love, inspiration, awe, hope, pride and more.

These positive emotional states improve our decision-making, productivity and resilience. Another significant benefit that comes from increasing these chemicals in our systems is better life expectancy: studies show that happy people live 7-10 years longer. These people don’t have better circumstances, more money or greater health than the rest of us, but they exercise acceptance and gratefulness for what they do have and can do, rather than stressing about what they haven’t got or what they’re unable to do.

Our Jigsaw Development Tool is useful in this instance. It can help you understand in which scenarios in life, and within which aspects of your personality, improvements could be made – to achieve a greater balance between cortisol and happiness chemicals. We’re all a work in progress; increasing the flow of endorphins and its stable-mates won’t happen overnight. They will only come with effort and from forming new habits. For example, gratitude is a state of mind; experts recommend taking a few moments at the end of each day to consider what you’re grateful for from the last 24 hours and recording it in a journal, so that it’s more tangible. Doing this often enough will create a habit, and before long, you’ll be exercising gratitude throughout the day, not just when you’re winding down to sleep.

This quote from Abraham Lincoln sums it up: “Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”

How happy do YOU want to be? How happy do you want your EMPLOYEES to be, when you realise the effect it will have on them…and your business?

 For further information contact Michelle on 01924 898930 or michelle.mcarthur@jigsawatwork.com




I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better……

Abraham LincolnWhilst scanning through a book of quotations, I noticed “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” Abraham Lincoln. These words are a perfect reflection of my vision for a better world, where an attitude of openness and affectionate curiosity existed between people and individuals were accepted for who they were rather than judgements been made about them before even getting to know them. You may think that this is a wonderful philosophy but somewhat unrealistic, but is it really that big a leap to hope for less conflict in our workplaces and home? Emotional Intelligence, Behavioural Styles and Mindfulness are all terms we are familiar with, yet few have learned from. I work with leaders, and their teams helping them to be more accepting and less judgemental of each other and would like to share a few ideas of how workplace conflicts can be minimised and a culture of valuing the diversity within a team be nurtured. Create understanding and appreciation of differences, when the conflict is based in clashes of behavioural styles and working preferences, simply telling team members that they are different is seldom enough, they already know that much! The key is to demonstrate that each of the preferences and styles are normal and that each brings unique qualities and strengths contributing to the overall effectiveness of the team. Each style and preference is equally valid and important to the success of the team, however don’t tell them show them! A simple yet powerful activity, I use is to bring together the individual’s or teams and ask them to reflect upon what they need to be productive within their workplace taking into account their working preferences. Debriefing the lists in terms of behavioural styles, illustrates the significant, yet normal differences in working preferences. At this point comments such as “So that is why you do that. You are not just doing it to be awkward.” Having identified the differences, a few minutes reflection about how the individual preferences contribute to the effectiveness of the team, is a worthwhile activity to reframe the differences as valuable strengths. The next stage I move to is to facilitate discussion between the individual’s or teams to move them towards generating ideas for working out the situation and enable them to be more tolerant of differences, see beyond the differences and work more effectively together. Non judgemental acceptance of others. A natural reaction when we don’t like someone, is to have as little as possible to do with them, we exclude them from conversations and other activities, only including them when we are forced to do so. The action of exclusion then creates an even bigger rift between the two parties, conflicts escalate and atmospheres can develop which impede upon the whole team. Practitioners of Mindfulness refer to the Seven Pillars: Non Judging, Patience, Beginners Mind, Trust, Non Striving, Acceptance and Letting Go. The Seven Pillars provide some very valuable lessons which can be applied into the workplace, to help address issues such as conflict management and being more accepting of others. I referred earlier to having increased awareness of self, with regards to behavioural styles and working preferences. We also need to be aware of the judgements we make all day every day, judgements which influence the way we treat individuals, which influence whether we include or exclude our colleagues. Having increased awareness of our judgements means we can make a conscious decision about our actions. A beginners mind enables an openness and affectionate curiosity about the way we approach a situation or the way we communicate with our colleagues. It creates a deeper empathy and understanding of how the other person is feeling and what is going on for them and enables us to get to know them in a whole new way. Another valuable lesson is “Letting Go” or as my colleague Sian says “Drop the bone.” Don’t carry grudges and resentment, let unpleasant and conflict situations go as soon as you become aware you are holding onto them. Don’t let them get in the way of getting to your know your colleague better. So as Abraham Lincoln said “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”Abraham Lincoln  Could be very good advice we should take heed of in the workplace as a way of reducing conflict and improving team effectiveness.


Change – It’s All About the people

Change Curve SimonThere is a whole range of theories and models around change management. Each theory offers its own solution to sustainable change and many adopt a logical and sequential approach, which in many instances leads projects to fail or to be only partially successful.

Change isn’t logical and no one solution will suit every occasion. Change is complex, full of contradiction and paradox because it includes the business ecosystem. This is the organisational environment, people’s vision, values and beliefs about themselves, their organisation and the world in general. Organisations need to create a clear, realistic vision about what can be achieved through change and be honest about where support is required.

Ultimately organisations need to use creative approaches to change management and understand the conditions necessary for change. Building on the work research by Don Beck and Chris Cowan we can identify six key “musts” necessary for change to be successful:

  1. People will not change unless they appreciate a pressing need to do so
  2. People need to have the will ability and potential to make whatever changes are necessary
  3. People will need to have some idea about why there is a problem and what alternatives exist to do things differently
  4. People need to know how current problems can be resolved so they can move onto new challenges with confidence
  5. People need to know how to deal with resistance to change, resistance may be internal such as a personal fear of the unknown, or external such as a lack of promotional opportunities
  6. People need to be given support and consolidation so they can learn new skills in a relatively safe environment with plenty of encouragement

All effective change comes from within people. Leaders in organisations need to create the kind of environments which support people in change.

Change management is all about people, valuing individuality, positively managing people through the change process, communicating effectively in the language of the people and providing leadership.

Appreciating the value of individuality within the workplace is crucial to successful change. Managers need to be aware of how change affects different types of people, the roles each behavioural type will play and the support that each individual requires during the change process.

The Transition Curve as experienced by the four Jigsaw Behavioural Styles

Circle of Change

Whilst there are many similarities in the way people experience the change process, it is important that managers know their people, and how they are likely to be affected by the change and how

they can be best supported to make sense of the change and be motivated towards the goal. The Jigsaw Discovery Behavioural framework informs managers so they can lead their people through the change process successfully.

So with people at the heart what do leaders need to know?

  1. Know the values and motivators of individual team members
  2. Create an atmosphere of trust, with open honest conversations in a safe environment
  3. Be creative – work out if and how each individual’s motives can be satisfied within the work environment
  4. Create an environment for positive beliefs by creating certainty and focusing on the short term
  5. Communicate on a regular basis even when there is nothing new to say
  6. Provide a range of appropriate support networks and coaching to help motivation, learning and growth
  7. Enable autonomy by asking questions to generate insights rather than providing people with the solution

Overall no one theory or model will offer the right solution to sustainable change. People should be at the heart of all change initiatives and an individual’s needs must be considered at every stage of the change process.




Can You Lead A Horse To Water?

How many times have you heard “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t Horsemake it drink.”?

Well actually that’s not true, if the horse doesn’t want to move it won’t! The only way the horse will choose to go with you is by being confident and developing a trust based relationship with the horse, enabling them to feel safe. Horses are motivated in similar ways to human beings, by satisfying their basic needs for safety, food and staying clear of any threats to their survival. Sound familiar?

It is because of these similarities with human beings that working with horses can provide such a powerful way of gaining feedback and learning invaluable lessons about the impact of your leadership style upon others and the relationships you have with your colleagues, customers, friends and family. The behaviours displayed by the horses when working with them provides you with a reflection of yourself. Just as the developments in neuroscience have shown that emotions between people are contagious, horses too can pick up and sense the emotions and thoughts people. If you approach or stand close to a horse with a head full of negative or stressful thoughts, you will see a behavioural reaction in the horse.

If you want to lead a horse to water, you need to;

  • be confident and clear about where you are going and how you are going to get there
  • build up a relationship of trust
  • and be totally focused on the horse and the present moment.

When I was invited by equine-facilitator Roz Danks, to attend one of her workshops, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the increase in self-awareness and transformations of behaviours in the participants within such a short space of time was absolutely astounding. I observed participants as one by one they nervously approached the horse, heads full of “The horse won’t do it.” or “The horse is much bigger than I am.” And it was of no surprise to them or anyone else when the horse started to turn away or refused to move. However, as the facilitators began to coach the participants, increasing their awareness of their thoughts and behaviours, you could see the participant’s confidence levels rise as they displaced their unhelpful thoughts and began to focus on the horse and what they wanted it to do. In a relatively short space of time, the participants were leading the horses around the arena and guiding them, without holding onto the reins through and around strategically placed obstacles.

As I watched the workshop unfold, the participants grew their confidence and skills in leading the horses and I was drawing the parallels of what I was watching with the situations and challenges people face in the workplace. I started to think about the way mindful practices could support participants to regain and maintain their focus in the present moment and have increased awareness of their thoughts once they returned to the pressures and demands of the workplace.

This is how my interest in developing an equine-facilitated mindfulness workshop began.

If you would like to find out more about our equine-facilitated workshops, please contact Michelle McArthur-Morgan on 07801 056 284 or email michelle.mcarthur@jigsawatwork.com



Mindfulness should not be used to avoid addressing workplace stressors

You may or may not be aware that October 2015 was a milestone for mindfulness within the UK, as we saw the launch to parliament of the Mindful Nation UK report, which is the culmination of the Mindful Initiative which drew together dozens of mindfulness practitioners, journalists, academics, politicians and scientists who gave thousands of hours of free time to investigate the benefits of mindfulness on the health of nation.

The project looked at four key areas, Education, Healthcare, Criminal Justice and the workplace. One interesting fact which the report highlighted is that whilst there has been no significant increase in mental illness within the general population over the last twenty years, within the workplace the over the last six years there has been a 24% increase in the number of days lost to stress related illness and the number of days lost to serious mental ill health has doubled.

The report identified the key factors driving the increase of mental ill health in the workplace;

  • Intensification of work duties with multiple demands upon employees attention
  • Increased multitasking at work
  • Technology driven changes leading to increased uncertainty and instability which is creating anxiety around job roles and employees status

Mental ill health is of great significance to the long term prosperity of the UK, and when implementing initiatives to develop a Mindful Nation, the importance of SME’s to the economy must not be overlooked, as they tend to have little or no access to mental wellbeing programmes.

The World Health Organisation has warned that mental ill-health will be the “biggest burden of disease in developed countries by 2030”.  It is therefore imperative that we begin to develop sustainable brain friendly working practices which support our mental health and wellbeing.

Research has shown that by taking short periods of time out to practice mindfulness, individuals can benefit by having enhanced cognitive skills such as decision making, objectivity, working memory functionality and improved reaction times.

Whilst there is a vast amount of evidenced research into the practice of mindfulness in a generalised context, there is still more to be done in the context of the workplace. However the Mindful Nation report does highlight some specific workplace based findings which include:

  • Leaders who practice mindfulness were reported to have employees who showed fewer signs of emotional exhaustion, were able to maintain a better worklife balance, had increased empathy and concern for their co-workers, were able to speak out honestly and overall achieved higher performance.
  • Increased resilience with employees reporting being able to sleep better, feeling less anxious when working under pressure and having improved memory
  • Increased focus, attention and reflection during the decision making process, which led to an increase in consciousness of the assumptions and judgements, influencing the judgements being made.
  • Preliminary research also found that organisations which integrated mindfulness into the workplace culture could be labelled as being of “High Reliability” due to paying an increased attention to the day to day operations, thus enabling mistakes and trends to be identified earlier, discussed and then flexible decision making structures put in place to provide solutions.

In relation to the workplace the recommendations in the report suggested that:

  • The Department for Business Innovation & Skills should demonstrate leadership by working with employers to promote the best use of mindfulness and develop an understanding of good practice and that….
  • Government departments should encourage the development of mindfulness programmes for staff in the public sector, to help combat stress and improve organisation effectiveness.

There is a word of caution however, mindfulness should not be viewed as the antidote for working in a toxic environment. It should not be used to avoid addressing workplace stressors such as poor management practices, excessive workloads, long working hours, lack of employee involvement and low levels of control and autonomy employees have over their work.

As Jess Morden MP said in her opening speech at the parliamentary launch of the Mindful Nation UK report, this is the beginning of a process and not the end. We have lots of work to do.

If you would like to find out more about mindfulness and developing mindful working practices, email michelle.mcarthur@jigsawatwork.com or telephone 01924 864444 now.

Michelle McArthur-Morgan -Senior Learning Consultant & Mindfulness Practitioner


The Performance Equation

In figures published by the HSE 1 in 5 of the workforce are affected by stress, it is now the biggest single course of sickness in the UK, with 105 million working days lost each year, costing employers £1.24 billion. Although from a reliable source these figures do not illustrate the whole picture as they do not take into account the loss of productivity of employees who continue to work but due to anxiety, depression and the adverse effects of the pressure of the work are not able to perform at optimum levels, resulting in under performance and loss of revenue and profitability.

Many of us know only too well that the busyness of the 24/7 365 knowledge economy that we are living in values how well we use our minds more than how many things we make each hour. It is ideas, inventions, innovation and creativity that fuel our rapidly changing global economy yet organisations still largely operate on old notions of productivity, work faster, think faster and use as much technology as possible to increase efficiency. People skills, even in this age of ‘Emotional Intelligence’ are more expected than cultivated and the idea that the workplace should be a place where people flourish and develop sets heads nodding, but are we really making this happen?

Traditionally when we think about people development we look at the skills level (capabilities) of our people and identify skills gaps which go onto form the training plans. However developing skills, behaviour and capability is only part of the picture and whilst skill development does lead to enhanced performance, if we want to optimise performance we need to look at the bigger picture.

A question we ask at the beginning of our Leadership programmes is “If you could have an abundance of one more thing, what would it be?” The over whelming response I get back is “space”: Space to stop and think. Creating Mental Space is critical for innovation, creativity, decision making general performance and mental wellbeing. Having the skills and capabilities to perform a role is important but if people do not have the mental capacity (space) to put their skills to the best use, personal productivity and effectiveness will be limited.

As we face longer and more demand­ing lives, it is imper­a­tive that we bet­ter empower and equip our­selves with the right cog­ni­tive and emo­tional resources and tools to enable us to maintain a healthy mind.

At the World of Learning Conference and Exhibition, (September 29th & 30th, NEC, Birmingham) Michelle McArthur-Morgan, Master Facilitator and Mindfulness Practitioner at Jigsaw@work will be discussing ways of creating more mental space , to enable better decision making, developing attentional skills and resilience to cope even in the most frantic of workplaces.

Michelle will discuss how Mindfulness is impacting on the world of work, looking at ways in which individuals and organisations are introducing and using mindfulness, and not just as a way of reducing stress, or being more focused whilst at work, but to create awareness of what and how they do things, enabling them to make more ethical choices and exercise social responsibility to ensuring the world will be here for generations to come.

The workshops are Free of charge to attend and will be delivered throughout the two day conference and exhibition in the Mindfulness Zone. Michelle will also be available for 1:1 consultations in between the workshops.


Building High Performance Teams

On the 24th June, senior consultant Michelle McArthur-Morgan led a group of HR Professionals through an interactive and thought provoking Learn & Lunch workshop looking at “Building High Performance Teams”. The workshop consisted of experiential activities, group discussions, personal reflection, and insights into some of the underpinning neuroscience.

The Jigsaw Journey of Discovery

The Jigsaw Journey of Discovery

At the end of the workshop a number of key learnings had emerged which we would like to share;

  • Although time is a very scarce resource for most managers, the importance of investing it wisely by getting to know individual team members will reap expediential benefits in the future. As a starting point managers should develop their awareness and understanding of the working and communication preferences of team members, the value of individual members strengths, and their personal stressors and early signs of stress.
  • The communication and sharing of the vision and goals should be done in such a way that all members can feel committed to them and easily explain the following;
  • What’s our team’s job?
  • What organisational goals do we support?
  • How do we add value?
  • What would happen if we were not there?
  • Diversity within a team increases the collective intelligence which is a critical factor for high performance teams.
  • One of the major requirements to enable a team to move along the development curve is the ability for open honest communication. Team members should feel supported and encouraged to speak openly, honestly and with respect for the colleagues.
  • Only a small number of teams truly achieve and maintain the performing stage of the Tuckman development curve, with a much larger percentage of teams aspiring to be a Performing team but the reality being that they fluctuate between Norming and Storming.
  • The three ingredients of a high performing team are;
  • Effective leadership
  • Committed Membership
  • Appropriate ways of working together. Team members should discuss and agree the process and ground rules for
  1. How they will communicate ?
  2. How they will manage meetings ?
  3.  How they will problem solve ?
  4.  How they will resolve conflict &disagreements
  5.  Their scope of authority
  • Managers should be aware of the symptoms demonstrated when a team is in distress. All too often when things start to go wrong, when people stop performing at their best, the tendency is to place the blame on the individual and assume that they just “Don’t care”. Instead managers should first explore four key elements;
  1. Are all team members, (including themselves) sharing the same vision and heading in the same direction?
  2. How do all team members (including themselves) work together? Are relationships healthy?
  3. How do they organise and use their resources?
  4. Do team members have what they need to do their jobs?

If you would like further information about any of the above learnings or to find out how your team could benefit from a Jigsaw Team event, please email: michelle.mcarthur@jigsawatwork.com or telephone +44 (0) 1924 864444.


Are Tea Breaks An Unnecessary Indulgence?

Picture of Cup of TeaIn a recent survey published in the Daily Telegraph today, one in five people said they took fewer tea breaks than they did five years ago as they feared their bosses would think they were slacking.

One in half of the 2000 surveyed said they were too busy to stop for a cuppa, whilst one in four believed they were not allowed to have a break.

Psychologist Honey Langcaster-James said that the research “reflected the increasing pressure they feel they are under at work”

Yet evidenced new research has the importance of taking regular breaks throughout the day to sustain performance on average every 90 minutes the mind needs a short break to help it maintain clarity and calmness which enables good decision making, creativity and increases overall performance.

In today’s working environment where people are after working to tight deadlines, where distractions are high, it is becoming ever increasingly more difficult to stay focused and maintain a clear mind to do our best work. By taking regular breaks just 2/3 minutes every 90 minutes or thereabout helps to keep our mind in peak condition.

It is when we feel that we really cannot afford to stop for a short break, that we should try even harder to take one.

There is also a second reason why regular breaks should be encouraged. One of the basic human needs which plays a major role in intrinsic motivation is the ability to be ‘social’.  Tea breaks provide a valuable opportunity for staff to socialise with their colleagues which encourages better teamworking and collaboration.

Long live the Tea break !


Simple Steps for Creating a Mindful Workplace

The busyness of working in a 24/7 365 world of interconnectedness is often distracting and limits our capacity for clear thinking and good decision making.

At the forthcoming Learning & Skills exhibition Michelle McArthur-Morgan, Managing Partner and Brain Mechanic at Jigsaw@work, will be delivering a number of free workshops to provide delegates with simple and practical ways of creating a workplace where employees are able to thrive and achieve sustainable effectiveness.  During the workshops Michelle will be sharing her experience and knowledge of Mindfulness practice and its application within the modern workplace.

People who are more adept at working with their mind and mental states perform better that benefits their teams, colleagues, clients, customers and all other stakeholders. “There has been thousands of studies conducted on various aspects of mindfulness and on that basis I can say with confidence that mindfulness training enhances focus and attention, increases awareness, raises levels of resilience and strengthens cognitive effectiveness.” said Michelle.

Mindfulness at work training is fast becoming accepted as an essential core programme for leaders and their teams. The five core areas which mindfulness can impact upon in the workplace are leadership & strategic thinking, productivity, self management, interpersonal relationships and wellbeing.

Only this week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, a conference room jammed full with over 100 of the global elite came together for “Leading Mindfully”. A panel discussion with a mix of breathing instruction, management theory and personal reflection, the session focused upon how mediation is impacting the workplace. According to a report in the New York Times, Jon Kabat-Zinn, a molecular biologist who helped popularize mindfulness meditation in recent decades, said “This is a very unusual event at the World Economic Forum, and it’s diagnostic of something much larger that is happening.”