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Sep

7

2011

Rituals at work

We typically associate ritual with religious services, mystical practices or organizations like the Masons. A ritual, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is 1) the established form for a ceremony or 2) a ritual observance, ceremonial act or an act (or series of acts) regularly repeated in a set precise manner.

Lindsay Mannering wrote in the Huffington Post about rituals, saying, “I like to think that rituals are our way of telling the future: we know what to expect when, and we know what to do how.” In addition to helping us anticipate the future, are there other useful aspects of workplace rituals?

Rituals reduce stress and increase focus. I have loved my summer work schedule, which includes arriving early in the morning, before anyone else is in the office. In addition to checking voicemail and email, I open the front door and take a moment to appreciate the day’s weather. I breathe deeply and get ready to start the day. This daily ritual has allowed me to be more productive, because I begin the day more calm and relaxed.

Rituals bind people together. When Humanergists bring in new work, we ring a bell dedicated to that purpose. Bell ringing has become a joyful act, even if it is a little corny. It forms a shared memory that unites us, signifying that something wonderful has happened as a result of our work together.

Rituals make best practices stick. Some people have a daily practice of walking around and touching base with people in the workplace. Because it’s a routine (or ritual), they don’t make a conscious choice each day. It’s just what they do. The benefits of this discipline are many – increased connection, better communication flow and an accurate understanding of the “pulse” of the organization.

Rituals allow us to free our minds and focus deeper, increasing our presence on the task at hand. Adam Kayce blogs about the intention that is required:

“What makes the difference? Intention. Have the intention to carry your focus and presence deeper as you do your daily rituals, and see what happens. If you’ve never thought of your work as potential for ritual before, take a moment and reflect on your day… where does this idea of ritual make perfect sense?”

Do you want to use ritual to build best practice and make work more meaningful? Or, do you want to chat about another topic that’s on your mind? Contact Humanergy.

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng.

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