Peo­ple fun­ction best when they drop the hy­per-pro­duc­ti­vity mind­set and ta­ke work breaks to eat to­get­her

La Jornada (Canada) - - ENGLISH SECTION -

hour of pre­cious work ti­me down the drain.

But this hy­per-ra­tio­na­li­zing pers­pec­ti­ve fails to ac­count for the jo­yously com­plex, irra­tio­nal na­tu­re of hu­mans: We are an in­ten­sely so­cial peo­ple for­med out of the food-sha­ring cul­tu­ral prac­ti­ces of old. ti­me hu­mans be­ca­me hu­mans. It was then that we evol­ved the brain ca­pa­city for spo­ken lan­gua­ge. This crea­ted a peer-to-peer sys­tem to sha­re know­led­ge about sur­vi­val, about food: how to get it, how to pre­pa­re it, whe­re to find it, etc. Fin­ding (and ea­ting) food be­ca­me in­ten­sely so­cial be­cau­se of lan­gua­ge.

Then ca­me the agri­cul­tu­ral re­vo­lu­tion about 12,000 years ago. We stop­ped our erstw­hi­le no­ma­dic ways and settled down on the farm. We lear­ned (to­get­her) how to mo­re ef­fi­ciently get our food th­rough the plan­ting and har­ves­ting of crops. The co­llec­ti­ve food prac­ti­ces of agri­cul­tu­re crea­ted the first com­plex sys­tems of hu­man so­ciety.

Then the in­dus­trial re­vo­lu­tion ca­me. Food was ta­ken out of the equa­tion. Hy­dro­car­bon and steam-po­we­red tech­no­lo­gies crea­ted the com­bus­ti­ble en­gi­ne. Smo­kes­tacks and fiery chim­neys soon dot­ted city sky­li­nes. Raw ma­te­rials li­ke coal we­re com­mer­cia­li­zed, gi­ving way to ca­pi­ta­lism. It was the be­gin­ning of mo­dern work. The pur­po­se of the wor­ker was to be kept busy. And for a little over 100 years, we’ve do­ne just that: re­mai­ned in a per­pe­tual sta­te of busy­ness (or bu­si­ness, as it was on­ce spe­lled).

But as we’ve lear­ned from the ear­lier re­vo­lu­tions, food-sha­ring is our his­tory. We’re ge­ne­ti­cally and cul­tu­rally pro­gram­med to eat to­get­her. No amount of di­gi­tal bells and whistles will chan­ge this. The mo­re we de­sign our mo­dern work­pla­ce to align with our his­tory of food-sha­ring, the bet­ter off we are.

Shifts in mar­ket­pla­ces and em­plo­yee men­ta­lity sug­gest a gro­wing re­cog­ni­tion that or­ga­ni­za­tions fun­ction best when peo­ple drop the hy­per-pro­duc­ti­vity mind­set and ta­ke breaks to eat to­get­her.

“As a com­pany, we are in­te­gra­ting new tech­no­logy on a daily ba­sis, but we still be­lie­ve in the ri­tual of gat­he­ring for lunch and din­ner at the ta­ble,” says Sa­rah Da­vis, pre­si­dent of Lo­blaw Co. Ltd. “Our re­search shows that we build bet­ter re­la­tions­hips with our co­wor­kers when we ta­ke ti­me to dis­con­nect from tech­no­logy and en­joy lunch to­get­her. What a sim­ple so­lu­tion to fos­te­ri­ng bet­ter re­la­tions­hips and crea­ting a hap­pier work­pla­ce ... ea­ting to­get­her just ma­kes sen­se.”

Even Goo­gle, the te­chiest of big tech com­pa­nies, be­lie­ves in the be­ne­fits of ea­ting to­get­her. Goo­gle’s AR/VR team is known for their quirky com­pany ri­tuals in­vol­ving food. They don’t just break bread as a team. They ba­ke it them­sel­ves - from scratch. “Ea­ting to­get­her is an in­grai­ned part of daily li­fe at Goo­gle, whet­her that’s cat­ching up over a cof­fee or sit­ting down to lunch as a group,” ex­plains Sa­bri­na Ge­re­mia, country ma­na­ger, Goo­gle Ca­na­da. “Our food cul­tu­re at Goo­gle is built around crea­ting mo­ments of con­nec­tion that you just can’t get in a boar­droom.”

Com­pa­nies see­king com­pe­ti­ti­ve ad­van­ta­ge would do well to heed the ad­vi­ce of Pre­si­dent’s Choi­ce to #Ea­tTo­get­her.

All em­plo­yees, ma­na­gers, exe­cu­ti­ves and bu­si­ness ow­ners with their eye on the la­test in­no­va­tions should think of this: So­me­ti­mes the best thing you can do for the com­pany is to put down the tech and pick up a sand­wich. Just re­mem­ber to sha­re the ot­her half with a co­llea­gue.

-TROYMEDIA

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