Mindfulness is steadily gaining popularity as a stress reducing technique among employees and employers alike. It has been shown to significantly reduce workplace stress, frustration and burnout, so you can see why huge corporations such as Apple, Google and Aetna have implemented mindfulness as part of their staff wellbeing programmes. Even some primary schools have started to incorporate it into the syllabus.
What Exactly is Mindfulness?
Originating from Buddhist meditation traditions, mindfulness relates to modern psychology and therapeutic techniques. It refers to the human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are, what we’re doing, and not being overly reactive or overwhelmed about what’s occurring around us. Instead, you practise how to relate your experiences in a non-judgmental manner, and with a sense of curiosity.
Why Introduce Mindfulness in the Workplace?
During your working day, your mind can often “take flight”, leaving you obsessing about something negative that has happened, or fretting about future implications – thus resulting in feelings of stress and / or anxiety. Many business owners have began to notice the benefits of implementing mindfulness in the workplace; when employees are able to reduce or eliminate stress, employers have noticed a direct correlation with increased performance and productivity. As a result, they benefit from fewer cases of presenteeism and absenteeism, reduced employee turnover, and an overall increase in morale.
What’s more, when it comes to financial matters, stress-related illnesses can cost firms a huge amount of money in sick days; the most recent statistics have revealed that the average cost of absences per employee per year for UK business owners is £522. What’s more, work-related stress and anxiety costs the NHS over £6.5bn a year.
Benefits of Workplace Mindfulness
The average amount of time spent at work for a full time employee is 35 hours per week, equating to around 75 days a year. That’s a long time to be spending in one place. By taking a mindful approach to a day to day routine helps employees’ concentration and quality of work, as well as allowing them to isolate any issues they may be facing, and become more proactive in resolving them.
Mindfulness can empower employees by allowing them to see that they are in control of their responses to situations that may feel out of their control and can also reduce stress, both in and outside of the workplace. Taking a moment to be mindful and making it part of your daily routine can create a positive domino effect in a workplace full of mindful people.
How To Implement Workplace Mindfulness
Employers or HR leaders have key roles to play when it comes implementing mindfulness into the workplace. Here are a few of our top tips for you to circulate to your team, which will help a gradual transformation to a more mindful workforce:
Instead of rushing about trying to get multiple jobs done at once, focus on “single-tasking”. When you’re sipping your morning coffee or having a quick snack, take your eyes away from your screen – that email can wait. Simply focus on what you’re doing, and savour the moment. Don’t try and attempt several tasks at once in order to save time – it’s likely to be counterproductive.
Try and take out at least 5 minutes each day to do nothing, and focus on simply being. Sit comfortably in silence, be aware of your thoughts and take note of your senses and your breathing. Listen to how your body feels and take in what’s happening around you.
Be In The Present
If you’re constantly thinking ahead or worrying about the future, learn to recognise when you’re doing so. Practice bringing yourself back into the present and focus on what you’re doing now. The same applies when you’re having a conversation with someone else; how often is it you’re speaking to someone, but you’re not really listening and find your thoughts drifting elsewhere? Try and listen properly, enjoy the moment with that person, and be “in the present”.
Think About How You Feel On The Inside
Focus on how you feel within yourself. Think about what state of mind you’re in, and what emotions you’re feeling – in a non-judgemental way. Observe your feelings and take mental notes, but don’t categorise any of your thoughts or feelings as “good” or “bad”.
Think About How You Feel On The Outside
Be aware of the physical sensations around you. Focus on how your feet feel on the ground, on the sensation of the chair you’re sitting on, or the movement of your hand on a keyboard or mouse. Acknowledging exactly what you’re doing in the present moment is an effective way of grounding yourself to the here and now.
If you’re not already practising mindfulness in your workplace, start addressing employee wellbeing now before it’s too late. Plus, there are so many other options available out there to help reduce workplace stress and burnout – from wellbeing audits, stress management programmes, coaching, team constellations and training.
Contact us today to find out how can help you manage a healthier, mindful and ultimately more prosperous workforce.