The Importance of Slowing Down with Carl Honoré

7 May 2024 | Blog

When do your best ideas come to you?

If you answered ‘in the shower’ (or something similar) then this post is for you…

We were delighted to be joined by Carl Honoré on the latest episode of our podcast. We’ve compiled together the best bits of the episode into a special edition of our newsletter.

“In a world addicted to speed, slowness is a superpower”

Living a happy and fulfilling life involves a lot more than simply meeting daily obligations and speed running through routine and everyday tasks. It should be about savouring the precious moments and being present during transformative times, especially of those close to you, like family and friends. At The HR Booth, we understand that our employees want to do just that. Moments such as the birth of a child, a wedding or a graduation for your child are all important events that you deserve to be at these moments. Therefore, we have implemented a ‘Moments That Matter’ policy, an initiative designed to provide our employees with the opportunity to fully engage in their personal lives without having to worry about work or the subsequent time off. This policy provides our team members to participate fully in the key moments of life. By doing so, we believe that this is a two – way street, and as such, we believe that by supporting our colleagues with this policy, we are more likely to see an increased output from them in the future.

Our Management Team work closely with employees to ensure that the time off (which can sometimes come at short notice) causes as little disruption as possible. This proactive approach in leave management not only supports the individual employees but also maintains team cohesion and productivity.

We aim to enhance employee satisfaction and loyalty but also further strengthen our workplace culture. By investing in our employees’ growth, development and personal wellbeing, we seek to create motivation and togetherness within the team. A balanced approach to work benefits both personal and professional success.

Carl Honoré champions the Slow Movement, aiming to slow down the pace of life to align with your own personal needs. This concept promotes the idea of stepping away from a sometimes relentless pace of life that individuals may find themselves in due to modern lifestyle and / or work life. We find Carl’s ideas relevant to workplace culture, especially when there is a pressure and expectation to perform well. There are some negative outcomes with this form of pressure such as burnout, increased stress and errors creeping in to work.

With the promotion of slowing down, we can regain a sense of control over our work, through our time and decisions. Enhancing individual well – being, reducing stress and anxiety whilst also improving the quality of work being produced and relationship with colleagues and clients.

A more sustainable lifestyle can be achieved through living life at a slower pace. By taking away the desire for instant success, your work force can reap the benefits of a more thorough, higher quality standard of work.

In today’s fast – paced and client facing environment, a methodical approach to each task can be vital for achieving positive results. This ensures that the quality is there, but also the standard of service is clear to see as well.

Carl suggests implementing ‘pilot projects’ to help your workforce slow down. He encourages you to test new ideas, see how they run, and then work out how best to move forward from that. This is something that we, at The HR Booth, do on a regular basis. Ironically, our slowing down involves getting people up and about, encouraging regular lunchtime walks – something which is particularly fun to do when the weather is and sunny today (at least it is whilst I write this, it will likely be raining by the time I’m finished!). At first, this was arranged on a monthly basis, but we have since realised that colleagues will head out on walks on an ad-hoc basis, which is more suitable to their needs and working lives – the important part is that they are out and about doing this and is something we encourage. It is extremely pleasing to see our employees take ownership of this idea and make it suit them.

On these walks, we switch from work mode to social mode, chatting about non – work related stuff, like last night’s football or upcoming holidays. We find that stepping away from our desk and switching off the ‘work’ part of our brain, can really help re – focus the mind for the rest of the work day. In addition, it also helps the team bond together, always helping the team working aspect and workplace culture.

If you are facing a perhaps daunting and / or difficult task, we recommend taking that step back to fully focus on it properly. Write down a list of the different steps you need to do to complete the task, take a quick five minute break before starting the task. Once you have completed the task, it may be useful to send the work to a colleague or a line manager, to get a second pair of eyes on the work. This can be helpful as this will help spot any mistakes that may have slipped through. It is important to not worry if you make mistakes, we all do! Having two or three people checking over your work will help spot them.

Rushing through tasks will likely lead to uncharacteristic mistakes, diminishing the quality of work and can seriously impact upon the outcome of projects. If work is busy, then it can be appealing to rush through tasks as quickly as possible to get more done, but this can in fact, be counter – productive. Ensure you adopt a disciplined and careful approach to your work, even when under time constraints.

Carrying out tasks at your own pace does not mean to work slowly, but instead, work at a pace that ensures the quality of work can stay high. As Carl noted in the podcast, work at a pace that suits you, as this will get the best results. It is important to find a rhythm that suits you, maximising accuracy and productivity without giving in to the time pressure associated with some tasks.

One such suggestion that may be useful for the workplace is the Pomodoro Technique. This method means you can work for 25 minutes, associated with short 5 minute breaks. You are still leaving yourself a fair amount of time to work through the task but giving yourself a break every so often. This is important to break the task up and quickly recharge before carrying on again. Maintaining focus is key and this allows you to do just that.

The idea put forward by Carl of slowing down and avoiding rushing through tasks means the output of your work is likely to remain at a high standard. The enlightening conversation with Carl on our recent podcast underlines the necessity for embracing a slower pace in both our personal lives and in a professional environment. His belief and passion for the Slow Movement is something we believe in at The HR Booth. Where we recognise the demands of balancing work life with significant personal moments in life – through our ‘Moments That Matter’ policy that we have in place.

This policy is implemented to encourage employees to attend these moments and promote a healthy work – life balance and take away the stress from work that can be associated with asking for time off, which is sometimes done at short notice. By providing employees the freedom to attend such events, were promoting and facilitating for a happy and positive workplace culture. There are mutual benefits in place for all in this as we see that employees are more inclined to work harder and to a higher standard, if they are afforded the appropriate time off for significant life events. The list of benefits is endless as staff retention will improve, workplace culture will improve, and your business reputation will improve. When recruiting for new staff, we can let them know of our employee – friendly policies in place, which can sometimes act as a selling point.

The vision portrayed by Carl Honoré highlights the supreme importance of taking a step back and slowing down at the workplace. Make a conscious effort to find a pace that suits you, your personal life, and your work life. Aim to achieve better results, and a more resilient and positive workforce. This approach not only prepares us to meet the challenges of a demanding work environment, but also makes the personal moments in life that bit more special.

We have a whole podcast dedicated to this topic with Carl himself – you can listen to that here. Thank you to Carl for coming on our podcast, it really was an insightful listen and we’d recommend it!

Click here to find out more about Carl Honoré.

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