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“The Future If,” is a global community of business leaders, authors and futurists who explore what our future can look like IF certain technologies, ideas, approaches and trends actually happen. The community looks at everything from AI and automation to leadership and management practices to augmented reality and virtual reality, the 4th industrial revolution and everything in between. Each we explore a new topic and this week we looked at whether we should Fear or Embrace AI, this was the discussion starter we used! Visit TheFutureIf.com to learn more or to request to join the community.

In a world full of opportunity, technology, and distractions, what does it take to reach your true potential at work and be happy with your performance? Our community recently dug deep within themselves as we discussed how individuals can achieve peak performance in the new world of work. As personal satisfaction and a sense of purpose becomes more important for employees, people are on the hunt to know how prepare themselves to be the best employees they can be. A lot of what our community said came down to finding that elusive work balance and being prepared mentally.

Business Manager Jonny Boström, who led the discussion, compared peak work performance to peak physical performance. When you train your body, you don’t actually get stronger while you’re lifting weights; muscle and strength is built during the recovery period as you rest, drink water, and eat healthy food. People who are serious about getting stronger put as much thought into their recovery as they do into their training. The same is true for mental strength and work performance—to be at your peak performance level for the long term, you need to occasionally rest from work. Like Jonny said, it’s during those down moments where creativity can flourish and many people have breakthroughs and big ideas. The challenge in our new world of work is finding and making time to rest and relax.

Multiple community members mentioned the idea of mindfulness, which is a buzzword around the world lately. Jonny’s company has meetings where computers and phones aren’t allowed so that employees stay focused on the task at hand. Manager Vicky Sparey uses a similar technique to foster creativity, which she says is an increasingly important skill as the world of work changes. She reminds herself not to reach for her phone when she has a spare moment and instead to just be idle and think. Her conscious effort to step out of the connected world for just a few moments at a time gives her more opportunities to reflect and generate ideas. Even stepping away and only checking email or social media once during the day can work wonders to make people more intentional about what they are doing.

The community also agreed that having an outlet outside of work is important. People who work non-stop and don’t have other hobbies are likely to burn out more quickly. Senior Data Manager Belinda Williams said that to encourage employees to work at their highest level. Giving employees the best technology to do their jobs can encourage them to excel, as can offering wellness programs. Allowing employees access to gym facilities and giving them time to recharge can be hugely beneficial in getting people to work at their peak individual performance. Junior Training Organizer Gergely Sneé also talked about the importance of creating a workplace environment where employees have the tools to strengthen their mental health and do their best work. Maintaining peak performance requires effort from the individual and the organization because they are both stakeholders in the same system. It’s in an organization’s best interest to encourage strong mental health and peak performance in its employees.

If you want to work at your best level, it starts within you. Mental health and being intentional with your time and actions can help lead to success in your career and in life.

My new book, The Employee Experience Advantage (Wiley) analyzes over 250 global organizations to understand how to create a place where people genuinely want to show up to work. Get my free training series to create powerful Employee Experiences, or become a member of the new Facebook Community The Future If… and join the discussion.

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