In the fast-paced world of modern workplaces, it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of our own needs. As Human Resources professionals, it’s our responsibility to ensure that our employees are not just productive but also happy and healthy. One way to achieve this is by encouraging our employees to indulge in fantasies.
Now, before you dismiss the idea as frivolous or unprofessional, hear us out. Fantasizing, or daydreaming, can have numerous benefits for employee well-being. Here are some reasons why:
4 Reasons Why Fantasizing is Important
1: Reduces stress and anxiety
Research shows that fantasizing can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. It’s a natural escape mechanism that allows our minds to wander away from the source of stress and into a more pleasant space. By taking a break from work and letting the mind wander, employees can return to their tasks feeling more refreshed and energized.
2: Sparking creativity
Whether you work in a creative marketing agency, or spend 9-5 in Microsoft Excel, fantasizing can also be a powerful tool for sparking creativity. When our minds are allowed to wander, they can make connections that might not have been obvious before. This can lead to new ideas, perspectives, and solutions that can benefit the company.
3: Increases motivation
Fantasizing about our goals and aspirations can be a powerful motivator. It helps us visualize what we want to achieve and keeps us focused on the big picture. When employees are motivated, they are more likely to be engaged and productive at work.
4: Improves overall well-being
Finally, indulging in fantasies can simply make us feel good. It’s a way to escape the daily grind and experience a moment of pure pleasure. This can lead to increased overall well-being, which can translate into better job performance and job satisfaction.
5: Retention & memory
Fantasizing can be a powerful tool for enhancing eLearning experiences. The rise of eLearning in business has become increasingly more popular since COVID. When we imagine ourselves in different scenarios, we activate our brain’s cognitive and emotional processes, which can lead to a more immersive and memorable learning experience. This is especially true for eLearning, where learners may not have the same level of sensory input as they would in a traditional classroom setting. By encouraging learners to imagine themselves in different situations and apply new knowledge or skills to those scenarios, eLearning can become more engaging and effective.
Professional Insight into Fantasizing
Here’s a brief story from Arnie Skelton, CEO of professional development company Effective Learning. Have a read, then consider what you make of it.
“I was between tasks, and taking a mental break. One way I do that (a lot) is to daydream, and in particular, to fantasise. So here’s the fantasy I invested in.
I was a successful novelist. As a result of continued success, I was invited to go on a talking tour of America. 40 guest slots in various auditoria in the major cities. I was travelling in a Winnebago – one with the expanding sides, partly to lower the carbon footprint, and partly, well – it’s a dream of mine to tour the States in a Winnebago.
So now I’m in tonight’s venue, 200 in the audience, all ready to ask their questions. All clearly readers, and fans. And it’s part of my ID, my trademark, not to offer a critique of what I’ve written: I write; readers read; critics critique. So once my book’s published, then that’s it (and just in case you’re wondering, I’ve written 6 novels and two sets of short stories, and I know the titles of the 6 books, and their main plot lines). So what I am prepared to talk about with my audience is the mechanics of writing, the process….
And now I’m actually engaging in Q&As, as if it was really taking place. So I’ll ask a question, as if from the audience, and answer it, as if the novelist. And all the time, of course, I’m actually me.
So far, so whacky, right?
And yet, here’s the thing. Through that fantasy, and the live (in my head) Q&A assumed reality – something magical, mysterious and utterly wonderful happens.
I get an insight. A light bulb goes on. Something in the fantasy seems to activate a connection to actual reality.
My insights from this story happened as follows:
I was making the point, as a novelist, that the novelist simply puts down words in a structure – a sentence, a paragraph, and so on. But once those words are committed to print, it is then up to each reader to interpret those words as they wish. So the ‘same’ story – words on the page – will never mean the same to every reader. (The same is true, of course, for music and paintings). The reader brings their own meaning to the words, and the story.
And at that point, the image jumped into my head of the scene from Monty Python’s ‘Life Of Brian’ where Brian, fleeing those who see him as the Messiah, loses a shoe. And the leader of the followers – John Cleese – picks up the shoe, and says, something like ‘A shoe! He has given us a sign. He has given us a shoe.’ And then they discuss the meaning of the shoe – and someone else thinks it’s the gourd Brian touched that is holy. Now I know of that film. And for years I have collected movie clips to illustrate key messages I’ve wanted to get across. But I’d never thought of this scene – until now.
And then I thought of a black block of wood, on a table, with a random set of pins nailed into it. Then someone is given a piece of string, and asked to connect 6 of the pins with the string – which they do. The pattern is photographed, and the string removed, and another person asked to carry out the same task. This is then photo-ed, and the string removed, and so on, and so on. What’s the chance of anyone making the same connection as anyone else?
So I’m going to use this as a prop, when next I cover experience and meaning.
And that’s not all.
Someone, in the same fantasy Q&A, asked me (as the author, remember), what my motive was for writing generally – not just a particular novel, but generally – why did I write? So I did my best to answer it. Then the very next question was about the difference in writing between being spontaneous and deliberately constructing a particular passage (in my fantasy, as a novelist, I do both). So I answered the question by saying that I used both approaches; I was happy to be led at times by a spontaneity that was being driven by the unconscious mind, and was often truly creative; and that I also invested in consciously crafted content. And, as if to prove the point, as I uttered the word ‘consciously’ I knew I was going to say ‘crafted content’ to create alliteration. So somewhere between ‘consciously’ and ‘content’ I moved from a fantasy novelist to a keen-to-learn trainer, and by trying to explain, in fantasy, the craft of a novelist, I was actually exposing myself to the craft of a trainer. I made the leap. I bridged the gap.
And that’s not all.
I then realised that the two questions – why did I write, and how did I write – gave the real me an insight into two different perspectives that people often take: big picture people often ask ‘why’. And detail people often ask ‘how?’.
So it’s possible all of that learning, and connection, lay deep and embedded in me somewhere, waiting to come out. And for me, tripping into fantasy seems to be a door to greater awareness and connection, and as Steve Jobs said: ‘to joining up the dots’.”
As HR professionals, it’s our job to create a workplace culture that promotes well-being. Encouraging employees to take breaks and indulge in fantasies can be one way to achieve this. By allowing our minds to wander, we can reduce stress, spark creativity, increase motivation, and improve overall well-being. So the next time you catch an employee daydreaming, don’t scold them – encourage them to keep on dreaming.
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