“Slow Work” – A Lifestyle Conquers The Working World


by Morgaine Gerlach

Time has become a scarce commodity in our industrialized world. The increasing complexity of the working world through digitalization and the associated globalization are taking their toll. For the individual, this means:

• Constant pressure of time
• Stress
• Increasing error-proneness
• Extra hours

What is “Slow Work”?

The idea of “Slow Work”, a workplace variation on the popular lifestyle movement “Slow Food”. It is about moving through life more consciously, taking the time for the little pleasures of everyday life and dealing with mind and body spiritually.

Health and happiness are the focus of the “Slow Movements”. You are thus expressing a time of reflection, away from materialism and the eternal pursuit of more money, more success or more achievement. Instead, the focus is on the work-life balance, full-time work deviates from part-time agreements, and flexible working-time models become the focus of employer branding.

Younger generations want less work and more leisure, more individual happiness, and more health. Therefore, “Slow Work” seems to be the right solution since it takes the stress out of the workplace and thus leads to long-term mental and physical well being.

When people hear the term “Slow Work”, they immediately think of the lazy colleague who comes late every morning, or the less talented trainee, who needs an eternity for even the simplest tasks. People believe that “Slow Work” is something for losers at the lowest end of the career ladder. The successful man has no time for “Slow Work” let alone to sleep (#powernap) or jog (#powerwalk).

According to Gail Kinman, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology at the University of Bedfordshire, the concept of “Slow Work” is even more productive. By slowing down the work, you give your body the opportunity to regenerate. The general stress level drops as your concentration and creativity rise again. People have more energy resources and performance over the long term.

“Slow Work” does not mean that you simply work slower, but that you make things more mindful and thus also more concentrated – but without time pressure or hassle. “Slow Work” works like this:

1. Create a short daily schedule in the morning and calculate twice as much time for each point on this to-do list than you would estimate.
2. Take breaks and use these short breaks for a little small talk among colleagues or networking via Xing, LinkedIn & Co. Professional success depends on 60 percent of your contacts.
4. Be sure to avoid any multitasking. You only should check your inbox twice a day – not every five minutes.
5. Actively add relaxation periods to your everyday life, for example, a little yoga in the morning.
6. Be patient – because you have already learned: “Slow Work” is a concept based on long-term success.

“Slow Work” can also mean a change in the work/time model

Those who do not want to rise in the hierarchy and strive for a great career, but who want to integrate the minimalism principle of the “slow” movement into their lives, can also think about a change in their personal working-time model. “Slow Work” can also mean simply working less. The opportunities are varying and always dependent on the individual job as well as the company. The possibilities are part-time employment, home office or sabbatical.

In principle, the “Slow Work” movement is to be assessed as an entirely realistic model. It does not always have to be higher, faster, wider. On the contrary, the more peace we bring back to the modern working world, the more healthy and efficient the society will remain.