Why a ‘flow state’ is crucial for your organisation

The team is right, the objectives are clear, so why is the work not flowing? (Rawpixel pic)

The team seems ideal, the motivation is there, the objectives are real and the work space is perfect, but the work somehow does not seem to flow well.

This is quite common and it means the team is not working in the so-called “flow state”.

Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines flow state as “a state in which one feels completely absorbed and immersed in an activity that provides pleasure and enjoyment.”

On average, people spend about a third of their lives working. This makes it important to obtain a work experience that is as pleasant as possible.

To do this, it is important to know what type of organisation one is working in. In general, there are two types – a healthy one and a toxic one.

What is the difference between healthy and toxic?

Healthy organisations, unlike toxic ones, invest in collaborative, systematic and intentional efforts to maximise the well-being of employees and productivity, creating well-designed spaces with equal and accessible opportunities.

This type of organisation takes into account aspects such as stress and the promotion of occupational health.

In the last few years the term “engagement” has been used a lot. It refers to a positive, affective state characterised by high levels of energy and mental activation in the workplace.

However, flow is different from engagement. It is a more punctual process related to concrete characteristics or work duties.

When a person works with flow, they feel motivated and able to perform a concrete activity that is also challenging.

In this context, the worker remains totally concentrated, strives to the fullest, developing all of their potential to perform the task with the best result and, overall, feels in control of the situation.

Creating a flow state in the workplace is about empowering workers’ capabilities. (Rawpixel pic)

What tools would help to reach the flow state?

  • The activity to be carried out must have a clear goal as to what is expected as a final result and the individual must have some ability to perform it.

If a person is not a musician or they do not like music, they will not be able to achieve a state of flow. On the contrary, they would enter into a state of anxiety and possible frustration.

  • The task must be active and attractive. Once the team knows what they are going to do, they have to balance compromise with pleasure so the brain can go into “autopilot mode”, even enjoying possible difficulties.
  • Always pursue partial and final objectives and start from parameters that will help achieve success. They will also indicate progress and the quality of the task.
  • Motivation plays a fundamental role. For example, if an individual works for a company in exchange for a salary, they will enter a state of flow as long as they are doing something they like and that satisfies them.

The brain needs more dopamine and it must be generated. How and why? Pretty much everyone would have heard the word feedback. It is a more than important tool to achieve a good flow state.

Feedback has two key functions. First, it helps people to know immediately if they should continue doing the task in the same way or if they should look for a better alternative.

Second, it catches and hooks people. Positive feedback produces dopamine in the brain and when this is experienced, people will crave more “micro-rewards” and will continue performing actions that will provide more positive feedback.

To summarise, feedback helps people work more efficiently, on their own, with more creativity. But remember, self-motivation is also necessary, do not forget that.

It could be said in conclusion that if an organisation really thought about its workers and internal clients, there would be greater practical effectiveness, more positive feedback and, therefore, greater business success.

These companies are usually examples for others to follow, since many people would like to work for them.

Here is where flow has the most weight and working in this state means moving one step further to create a healthy and positive environment for the workers, allowing them to create a relationship between professional growth, creative breadth and the enjoyment of their tasks.

It is about letting go and empowering a person’s capabilities, which will result in workers who are dedicated to their tasks, who seek to develop their entire potential and who will want more and greater challenges. This will ultimately lead to satisfaction and happiness.

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