“A relief to be able to immerse yourself in your work”
From experiment to what we do: Lotte Bork Ferraro and the employees in Marketing & Customer Experience in Velliv have weekly immersion lessons that they each plan.
More energy. More job satisfaction. More efficiency. It’s a relief to be able to immerse yourself in work tasks that require calm – instead of pushing ahead.
It was a winning streak for the employees in two departments in Velliv when they participated in Future Work Lab’s experiment with five working hours a week for immersion - plus a daily reflection on what is important and realistic to achieve.
“The employees had very different experiences with it, but everyone felt that it added value. That is why we have chosen to continue working with it”, says Lotte Bork Ferraro, Head of Marketing & Customer Experience at Velliv.
Lotte Bork Ferraro, Head of Marketing & Customer experience in Velliv. Photo: Casper Jarlberg
When it says “immersion time” on the calendar, you can work without being disturbed. Email, chat and phone are shut down and colleagues don’t come and interrupt the work.
Lotte Bork Ferraro is a morning person and likes to immerse herself at home before she goes to work. Others book consecutive hours for larger tasks that require calm. Still others prefer an hour of immersion at the end of the working day.
“The important thing is that the employees themselves can plan their immersion time”, explains Lotte Bork Ferraro.
The short daily reflections are also recorded in different ways. Some prefer to use a physical notebook, while others have found suitable software for the purpose.
Follow-up helps to get it done
While the experiment was going on, the project strictly followed up on whether all the rules were complied with, as a researcher from DTU had to be able to have comparable data.
“Now I don’t go into depth on how the immersion and reflections take place. But I follow up on it on an ongoing basis when I hold status meetings with the employees”, she says.
“Some employees use their immersion time in a very structured way, while others have initially felt more resistant to the concept. For them, the follow-up helps to get it done, because everyone agrees that there is value in doing it”, she summarises.
“We are all prepared to be helpful and ready to work. But that doesn't mean we have to always be available. For some, it’s a big relief to be told that they have to take care of their own work and immerse themselves in it!”.
It should be clear to everyone
If you are to succeed with immersion time, you need organisation and clear communication”, Lotte Bork Ferraro emphasises:
“It needs to be clear to everyone that you are working with it. Then it will be respected”.
She and the employees in Marketing & Customer Experience also have three pieces of good advice for others who want to test the concept:
1. Try it! Just get started
It may sound like an extensive intervention, but it can be implemented in a few hours and mostly requires getting used to it.
2. Tools are important – and they don't have to be complicated
For example, use a technical set up that turns off notifications from email messages when your calendar says it’s immersion time.
In large rooms, it’s important to have a physical element that signals that you have time to concentrate. For example, it could be a flag or a red light on the computer screen.
Consider using noise-cancelling headphones if you are distracted by chatter and other sounds.
3. Talk it over occasionally
Have a common approach to it and talk about how it is going.
A tool for more job satisfaction
Lotte Bork Ferraro is happy to make herself available in relation to spreading knowledge about immersion time – both internally in Velliv and externally, such as for customers who also work with job satisfaction and mental health.
There is a lot of interest in it – and sometimes also a few myths that need to be dispelled:
“Immersion time is not about breaks, and it doesn’t have to be related to stress, but it has a documented and significant effect on job satisfaction. It’s a free and simple tool that provides more efficiency, well-being, job satisfaction and peace of mind”, she says.
Try the experiment yourself
- 5 x 1 hour of immersion per week
- Three reflection questions to be answered in a notebook
- Optional: pulse + recording of immersion time in calendar.
Mental health and well-being
How do we protect our mental health and well-being when our work life is under constant change? And what learnings and initiatives should we make use of to ensure both fellowship and flexibility? Learn and get inspired here.Read more
What is Future Work Lab?
- The financial sector has been characterised by increasing stress, and decreasing job satisfaction.
- Working life is changing radically for many employees along with digital development.
- Recognising that there are no clear immediate answers to the challenges, Future Work Lab was created on the initiative of Finansforbundet, which together with Forsikringsforbundet and Finanssektorens Arbejdsgiverforening, sought support for the project at Velliv Foreningen.
- Through concrete experiments with companies in the financial sector, the project has developed knowledge about challenges, opportunities and potential solutions that can strengthen mental health in digital working life.
- Source: futureworklab.dk (the site is exclusively in Danish as of yet).