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Shaping Success: How to Create an Inspiring Workspace and Find Your Rhythm to Thrive

Rich Johnson
Rich Johnson

Posted Sep 28, 2021

We are all navigating professional lives filled with increased challenges, distractions and the opportunity for positive change. The way we approach our schedule, our space and our rhythm of life can make the difference between just surviving or thriving in our new reality. 

In this week’s Ignite by sr4 Partners training experience on “Rituals, Rhythm and a Kick-ass Workspace”, we brought together a trio of incredible experts:

  • Nancy Harris, Founder of Restart Consulting and Co-Founder of DisruptHR Chicago

  • Kate North, VP for Workplace Advisory for Colliers International and the co-founder and global chair of Workplace Evolutionaries

  • Kim Ferrer, Principal at sr4 Partners

We’re excited to share some simple ideas and takeaways from our conversation (if you’d like to watch the video of the experience, you can do that here):

Find Your Rhythm

Whatever your set-up or situation is at home, finding your personal rhythm will significantly help your productivity and well being. Here are three tips to get it right: 

  • Stick to a schedule. It’s difficult to operate at your best when work blends in with life. Develop a day by day or weekly schedule, set start and stop times, take breaks and find ways to move your body.

  • Develop a plan. Create a process to review upcoming meetings/deliverables, prioritize your calendar, schedule calendar time to actually do work - not just meetings, and visualize what completion of your goals will look and feel like. 

  • Make time for connections. Before COVID-19, over 40% of adults reported being lonely. Today, we’re missing out on even more of those organic connections in the workplace that supported our emotional health. Be intentional about creating more touch points with colleagues, and treat your conversations as if you were working side-by-side with someone. Give attention to your body language, making a point to ask questions and listen with empathy.

Establish Rituals

Rituals are fixed actions or words performed regularly throughout the day, like a mini-ceremony. They help cope with stress and anxiety, restore a sense of control and create a sense of togetherness. 

Maybe it’s preparing and enjoying the same cup of tea every morning, or taking 10 minutes to write down what you are grateful for at the end of each day. Perhaps it’s engaging in morning yoga or meditation, or walking your dog at lunchtime  To make rituals effective, be sure to create them with intention (why you are doing it), context (how is this act part of your bigger picture), and give them a set beginning, middle and end.

Create Your Best Workplace

Research shows how your physical environment makes an incredible impact on your cognition and well being. In short, when we feel good, we perform well. To create a powerful and effective work space , consider:

  1. Ergonomics and comfortability. Does the space allow you to think and move around freely? Does your furniture and equipment support healthy posture?  

  2. Make the space yours. Lighting, windows, acoustics, and technology can all help you focus and stay motivated. 

  3. Be inspired. From artwork or plants to music or photos that make you smile – is your space appealing to all senses?

We encourage you to commit to one new idea or change in each of these three areas, and then see how it affects your overall work experience. Small steps can create big change!


Ignite is a diverse and dynamic leadership community from sr4 Partners. We develop early to mid-level leaders through weekly training experiences that cultivate the character and competence to lead in a changing world. See upcoming experiences here.

Rich Johnson

Rich Johnson is a leadership coach and consultant with nearly two decades of experience starting, leading and advising organizations. Rich works at the intersection of people /culture and strategy /operations to create thriving places to work. As a Principal at sr4 Partners, he works with clients ranging from high growth startups to F100 companies, training their leaders, consulting on strategy, and designing programs that facilitate inclusive and thriving cultures. Rich’s work with diversity, equity and inclusion began in 2003 as a member of his company’s diversity council, and today includes leading executive-level consulting engagements for clients as they navigate these critical and uncharted waters. Rich founded Spark Ventures in 2007, a nonprofit funding jobs, education and healthcare in marginalized communities in Africa, Latin America and the U.S. In 2017, he cofounded Ignite, a leadership development company that was acquired by sr4 Partners in 2020. He speaks, writes and in his free time loves to read, run and hang with his two dogs.

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