While mindfulness was once seen as a purely personal practice, many employers have begun to recognise the benefits of incorporating mindfulness-based solutions in the workplace. By promoting mindful ways of working, organisations can create environments where their people can flourish. This in turn drives business results and better customer service, so everybody wins.
In fact, both the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) have published guidelines which recommend mindfulness as a way to support mental wellbeing at work. The benefits are no longer theoretical. Mindfulness-based approaches are now backed by scientific evidence and hard data.
Benefits of mindfulness at work
1. Manage stress levels
In the workplace, employees may face a range of stressors, from excessive workload to inter-personal conflicts. But in this environment it’s not beneficial to be in a constant state of fight-or-flight, because our lives are generally not in danger. Mindfulness can help individuals to manage their stress levels, so that they can reach the best possible outcomes.
2. Improve focus
Our minds wander approximately 50% of the time. Add to that the number of emails, instant messages and other notifications we receive throughout the day, and you can see why achieving a state of focus can be a challenge. Mindfulness is a tool which can train and develop our ability to focus for longer periods of time. This can enable us to resist distractions and more effectively achieve our goals and objectives.
3. Enhance emotional intelligence
Mindfulness can help us to become more aware of our emotional reactions, and respond to others in a more empathetic and compassionate way. This can lead to better communication, collaboration, and team dynamics.
4. Create a positive workplace culture
A mindful approach can help to create a sense of trust, safety and belonging, which are some of our basic human needs. By bringing humanity to the workplace, we can create a culture and environment where employees can flourish. This in turn can only be good for business, so everybody wins.
How to promote mindfulness in the workplace
1. Offer mindfulness training and resources
Employers can offer mindfulness training sessions and other related resources. These can teach employees about the benefits of mindfulness, the science behind it and how to put it into practice.
2. Encourage employees to form positive habits
One mindfulness session is not enough to change years of ingrained behaviours and beliefs. Forming new habits requires encouragement and repetition. Employers can encourage their people to gradually adopt a more mindful approach, through emails, newsletters and other relevant comms channels.
3. Lead by example
Leaders and managers can set an example for their employees by role modelling mindful behaviours and attitudes. In this way, mindful working filters down from the top and becomes part of the company culture.
4. Integrate mindfulness into work processes
Everyone is busy at work, and many people won’t be comfortable taking time out to look after their stress or energy levels. However employers can integrate mindfulness into work processes, so it just becomes the way of doing things. How about making it part of the induction process for new joiners, or the end of year review process if you have one. You could use guided practices to kick off meetings. And you could even encourage a mindful approach to common activities, such as problem-solving, decision-making, people management and public speaking to name just a few.
If you would like support in embedding mindful ways of working in your organisation, you’ve come to the right place! Here at My Trained Mind we are passionate about creating future-fit organisations where people can thrive. Please contact us if you’d like to find out more about how we can support you.