Treat Time: The interview with Dr Richard MacKinnon

It’s treat time again, and once more we’re spoiling you with some new inspiration. We’re also linking up with Work from Home Wisdom who have a fresh feature on their site for your reading pleasure.

WorkLifePsych interview Treat Thursday

Today we’re delighted to welcome the lovely Mr WorkLifePsych himself for some treat-based workplace motivation, stress reduction and general happiness. Dr. Richard MacKinnon is a coach and occupational psychologist who blogs at and tweets at @WorkLifePsych. Richard supports clients on a range of topics including stress management, work-life balance and personal productivity.

And now over to Richard:

1. From a business psychology perspective, are work-related treats important? Do they have an effect upon general or individual morale, productivity or performance?

I advise managers to think about the employees’ perspective when treating them. For example, not everyone likes to go to the pub after work – not everyone drinks! Managers can demonstrate they know and appreciate their employees’ contributions by giving them small but thoughtful gifts for exceptional performance or for going the extra mile. Given too regularly, they’ll lose their impact.

2. Iris Murdoch once wrote: ‘One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats, and if some of these can be inexpensive and quickly procured so much the better’. Do treats make your own life better, and how often do you treat yourself?

I’m definitely someone who gets a lot of pleasure from small treats. If I think about it, small treats are normally ebooks for my Kindle. They’re impulse purchases as soon as a book I’ve been considering goes on sale. My Kindle keeps me entertained when I’m travelling for business, so it represents a good investment. I’m also passionate about music, jazz in particular. So an occasional new album from the iTunes store will keep me happy and productive for quite some time.

3. Do you have a favourite no-cost treat? What is it, and how does it improve your day?

My very favourite no cost treat is to walk by the Thames. I’m lucky enough to live about 10 seconds walk from the river, so I can easily hop down and stretch my legs. My favourite time to do this is summer evenings, when the light on the river is amazing. Walking is a great stress-buster and has proven health benefits. Regular light exercise like this is really important for those of us whose jobs are quite sedentary. Keep moving!

4. If you had £10 or less to purchase a little treat just for yourself, what would it be? Where would you buy it, and why?

Within that budget, I’d either buy myself a new book for my Kindle or I’d treat myself to a couple of plates at Yo! Sushi.

5. What would your ultimate treat be if you had unlimited resources, time or funds?

If time and money weren’t an issue, I’d definitely treat myself with travel. I have a long list of places I’d like to visit and I’m gradually ticking these off. But as with most people, these visits need to be spaced out for when I can take a break from work. If work wasn’t an issue, I’d simply travel from place to place – first stop would be Argentina and I’d work my way up South America from there.

So travel. And a baby grand piano.

Do you find that the occasional treat helps you to motivate yourself? Have treats increased your own productivity? Tell us about it!

[box type=”alert” style=”rounded” border=”full” icon=”none”]Don’t forget to visit Work from Home Wisdom too, where Judy Heminsley is getting creative and treating her home office to a seriously clever new mindmapping and organisational tool that you apply with…a brush. Yes, really – go have a look.

*Come back and join both of us next week for another Thursday Treat Time!*[/box]

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