Fuseworks Media

NZ workplaces need to change ‘working smarter, not harder’

Auckland business owner Nat Milne hopes to improve NZ’s woeful productivity performance with a new training programme, developed in Sweden, utilising neuroscience to help Kiwis work smarter, not harder.

New Zealand has one of the worst levels of productivity and growth compared to other countries in the OECD, according to NZ’s Productivity Commission. Per person, our income is only about 70% of that in countries that perform in the top half of the OECD, it says.

However, Milne, a business owner, HR and People specialist, and mother of two wants to help change that. She is introducing a new scientifically-backed productivity training programme, called Beminded, to NZ workplaces. She partnered with the Swedish founder of Beminded, to launch Beminded NZ, and is rolling out the programme around New Zealand. Together they’re teaching the new methodology to Kiwi businesses and organisations, and their staff, with workshops held in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wanaka in March 2024.

Milne experienced “life-changing results” earlier this year when she completed the productivity training, which focuses on the prefrontal cortex and how brains operate in the information-heavy, modern world. It uses tools and methods teaching people to triage information streams, declutter mental space, and maximise cognitive thinking for better performance and results.

Developed by Sweden’s Anna Bojlert, who has a background in behaviour science, the programme has been taught to more than 4000 people, in 50 different businesses, mainly around Europe.

Before completing the Beminded programme, Milne worked hard at her HR and People Consultancy, The People Place. She founded her business while pregnant with her first child. On average, she used to work 20-25 hours a week, employed 13 staff, and juggled family life with her young children, now aged 3 and 6 years old.

“I was busy, stressed, tired, and high-functioning, but I wasn’t really productive, which is similar to a lot of workplaces and businesses in NZ,” she says.

Since completing the Beminded training in April this year, Milne estimates she’s improved her productivity by about 25%. Within two months, she also improved her business turnover to a level not seen since before the global COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, she has reduced her working week to 15 hours in the office and enjoys more quality time with her children.

“Now I never check work emails in the evening, or first thing in the morning. I don’t check them until I start work for the day. I’ve stopped letting lots of information, and electronic alerts, interrupt my focus and attention. I’m a different person now at work and more present at home with my children.”

“To improve productivity in NZ, we need to treat skilled staff as “knowledge workers”, focusing on results, instead of how many hours are spent in the office. The Beminded approach teaches and supports staff, and workplaces, to a smarter way of operating with less stress,” Milne says.

 

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