Workplace Fundamentals: Rest

Young female secretary makes notes on a laptop while other business people are shaking hands in the background. Daylight, indoor, office.

Dr. Purushothaman
December 5, 2013

Mark Dobson - Workplace Fundamental: RestThere are several wellness fundamentals that need to be considered by leaders, managers and bosses. Companies who take into consideration the wellness of their staff should make work more rewarding.One of the wellness fundamentals is rest. That's right, rest. Some of you reading will just have had a double take. "We can't teach our staff to rest; we pay them to work."Yes you do pay them to work, but do you think they're actually working 9 to 5? There might be some hectic days where people go, go, go, but people don't actually fully work 9 to 5. What they do is they'll often pull themselves away; whether it means to go get a coffee, or a cigarette, walk around the office, or "I've got to take these to somewhere", or "I've got to go to my car for a second to get lunch". People find ways to take a break.What we want them to know how to do is to rest in a way that invigorates them. It's just like when you jump into the ocean. You jump into the ocean; it's chilly, it's fresh. You have a quick swim; you jump out and you are alive and awake. You are invigorated.The workplace doesn't have an ocean but there are things the for everybody can invigorate them. If people have an awareness of what energises them, then they can find ways to put them into their world. Typically, people don't know, so they don't do it. They go home; they turn on the television out of habit. They have some dinner, nothing's on, so you start flicking. As soon as you start flicking, you can blow an hour and a half, you get up, and you feel like you'd did nothing.There are other times though, you come home, you run out into the backyard. You mow the lawn or something, you just move some plants around and you're tired out; but you feel better for doing that.See there's productivity in rest as well. There's a whole lot of things that actually invigorates people. So when we say "Rest," we want people to know how to withdraw from work and refuel themselves. Take a moment to give your focus a break.Now a tangible example of that is a good friend of mine, and somebody who I've advised for a while; his name is Tansel Ali. Tansel has memorised the entire Sidney Yellow Pages. He's Australia's Memory Champion. It's a skill set that he's developed. It's not a genetic thing; he actually has developed the skill.Now when he's in competition, he has to remember huge amounts of volume. He said, "Sometimes your brain gets to a point of fatigue," and he reaches a point he's trying to remember but just can't. So I told Tansel, you need to take a break. He says, "But I'm in competition." What he didn't realise was that it only needs to be three seconds. You're concentrating, take a breath, and back in. It just needs to be a removal, but a deliberate removal.When you move back, it's not sit back, still, and panic, it's actually you think about your family, you think about how good this is, you think about what you're going to do next.There's a whole lot of things that you can do in that three seconds. That three second break is an investment in the next three or four minutes, seven minutes, or hour and a half or whatever it is.We need to develop people's capacity to rest in a way and take a break in a way that liberates their energy so they come back invigorated.

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