Does Your Office Need a Thinking Day?

Bonnie Bassler TED
Bonnie Bassler talks about bacterial communication. (CC) Steve Jurvetson/Flickr

Barry Glassman of Glassman Wealth Services pays for every employee to spend one day each quarter out of the office thinking up ideas to benefit the company in what’s called a Thinking Day. Could such a practice benefit your office?

At GWS, Thinking Days had a restorative effect on team members and, curiously, were largely spent watching speeches at Ted.com. To crank things up even further, Glassman devoted a half-day each quarter for an all-staff meeting in which each employee presents a Ted.com video that resounded with them personally. It’s this last strategy that’s been most effective for the business, as Glassman writes in Forbes:

So what are some of the overall positive returns we’ve seen at GWS since we’ve implemented Thinking Day? Here are a few examples:

1. Improved Team integration: What better way for a team to become more connected than by seeing what others care about and share from their Thinking Day?
2. Greater Exposure: We’ve all seen and shared more keynote speeches than we ever could have been exposed to at any one conference.
3. Happy Employees: Giving people the time and permission to express their creativity and curiosity can yield an incredible payoff in terms of improved morale.

Taking employees out of the office for a day and a half each quarter might feel counterproductive to boosting efficiency, but it may provide just the right balance of downtime needed to preserve productivity and useful ideas to benefit the business.