The value of achieving flow

Monday-meeting

Everyone anonymously submits a score out of five, based on how well we feel the company is living the value. These are aggregated for an overall score. Recently we’ve developed an app for this, which tracks the scores and tells us what the average was in previous months (we now have about 18 months of data).

Flow_App visual

This week the value was flow.

We value and protect time and space for deep thinking, innovation and creativity, especially applied as prototypes, projects, pet-pilots and new writing, design and experiences. The state of “flow” is a value, an ambition for us, because it is a signal of ambition’s realisation, of our wellness and of brilliant work being done.

The idea of flow as a value is about being able to do our best work. If we get into a flow state, as defined famously by psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, it means that a lot of things are going right – we’re getting the right kind of work, we have the things we need to get the job done, the office environment is pleasant, etc. It also means that we’re doing the best job we can for our clients – they are getting the best of us.

What we talked about this week

The conversation about this value has ranged over all sorts of things – from reducing distractions by working at home and wearing headphones to good briefing methods. This week a common theme emerged of ways of working to allow flow to happen:

  • Stand-ups: Borrowed from the agile method, more and more of our teams have been using daily stand-ups. This works especially well when there are big, cross-disciplined teams working together – for instance, our Heathrow team which has design, content, UX, data and strategy specialists working together. The benefit of connected briefly but frequently as a team is that people have a feeling of being connected to one another, they know what’s going on. This means you’re more certain about your own tasks and spend less time worrying about what others need or are up to.
  • Clear roles: It’s easier to get into a flow state when it’s really clear what you need to be contributing and why – this is helped by the stand-ups, but it’s also a function of clear briefs at the start of a project and reviewing roles when things change.
  • Chunking time (the bigger the better): We focus more and get into flow more often when we have bigger chunks of time to focus on a project. For some people and some tasks two hours is enough to get started – but if they need to switch tasks often it means that they never really get into the deep flow state required to do their best work. The more control you have over your own work the more you can group small tasks together in one day or half day, the more you can chunk up the rest of your week.

To talk about how values can impact your company culture or if you’d like to give our values app a try get in touch.