No, we’re not talking about be spontaneous and playing video games for 16 hours straight and eating your body weight in McDonald’s, but instead, how spontaneity can be used in the workplace to boost team member’s productivity on projects and the daily grind.
While spontaneity is usually associated with personal goals and plans (or lack thereof), the same things that make spontaneity valuable in our personal lives can be beneficial in the workplace, as well. Projects and deadlines are obviously important, but can be mentally and physically draining; the ability to pivot and work without looming deadlines can lead to creative solutions to problems and projects.
So, what exactly are the benefits of spontaneity in the workplace? For one, making an active effort to work on your spontaneity will help keep your mind fresh, and a fresh mind is an innovative one. Allowing your team to feel comfortable with “free working” can lead to collaborative, unscheduled brainstorming sessions free of stresses that are typically associated with a packed workday. In that same vein, having employees who are used to free working and spontaneity are equipped to deal with stresses and unplanned changes that seem to occur on almost every project.
It seems like an oxymoron, but even with spontaneity there needs to be some sort of structure. Without it, team members might find themselves straying too far from the goal. The 80/20 rule is a good place to start. 80% of your time is spent on scheduled workflow and tasks, while 20% can be spent freethinking and being spontaneous. While that seems like a large chunk is being dedicated to unscheduled work, when you break it down into a 40 hour work week, that’s only two hours per day, for four days out of the week.
The changes will not happen overnight. Like everything in life, practice makes perfect. While it might seem spontaneity will “just happen” and used to great benefit, it takes time to fine tune those impulsive, unplanned times. Being spontaneous without discipline can actually have the reverse effect, and lead to stagnation. There is a fine line there and the more you practice spontaneity (in the right environment) the better the results.