Workplace: Pacing

Pacing means “to walk steadily and consistently back and forth” and has come to also mean “manage your time so that you are not overdoing it; not wearing yourself out; and not moving so quickly that accidents happen.”

A pace-car in racing is the lead car behind which all others must stay until the pace-car leaves the track. Look around your office. Is there a person who is a pacer – who sets the pace of all work happening in your organization? Is it a helpful or hindering pace? Consider whether someone else could better serve the team and company as the pacesetter.

Effective pacesetters create a speed of action and decision-making that is safe, reflective, and fitting for the team and its current skills. Effective pacing inspires others to accomplish more with more creativity, while staying safe throughout the process. Pacing varies culture by culture and workplace by workplace. Not all situations require or can withstand the same pacing. Diamond-cutting is a slow-paced activity. Barrel-racing is a fast-paced activity. A switch up in or trade of pacing would cause danger and unmet goals. What is the most effective pacing for your workplace? For your team projects?

Pacing in its original meaning of walking back and forth can signal a person is thinking, or nervous, or anxiously waiting for important news. Pacing is a part of body language that is communicating to the observer that pausing and asking a check-in question may be helpful to the pacing person. For example: “Are you waiting for a big piece of news?” or “Anything I can do to help?” or simply “Is everything okay? Do you need anything?”

Pausing to show that you’ve noticed the pacing and are willing to help, if help is needed, can be an act of kindness. We are in a season that calls for kindness and understanding. Pausing is a kind of pacing too – you are slowing down long enough to notice another person’s actions.

Pacing ourselves as the year winds down is important for workplace and life-at-home wellbeing too. Time to enjoy each other and gatherings is here. Whether at work, or at home, slow down long enough to really see the people around you, to enjoy a conversation, a board game, a meal together, or a night out. Reconnecting moments feed our own souls and our collective humanity.

Ready to reconnect your workplace for better paced work? Contact: Jana Kemp 208-367-1701 or

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