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Mindfulness in the workplace

How to incorporate mindfulness into your workplace culture

Small steps can make a great difference.

Work-life balance can be a frequently discussed topic, but one that is rarely practiced. Busy schedules full of meetings and international travel can make it difficult to continue bringing your best self to work every day.

To keep up with the current pace of work, you need to incorporate work-life balance into your daily routine. 

Incorporating more work-life balance doesn’t require a major change. Take the small step towards it and watch how it unfolds. Don’t be intimidated by the concept itself; it is something you can embark upon very successfully.

A more mindful-culture in the workforce supports your employees who are trying to find more work-life balance in their lives. 

What is a mindfulness culture?

Workplace mindfulness is the level of which employees are mindful in their work.

The high level of mindfulness can be characterised by the ability to put aside the past and the future and be fully present in the here and now. Mindfulness means being centered and grounded. Observing what happens within you before you react to external stimulus. It is the ability to experience life events through thoughts, emotions and physical sensations as they happen in a non-judgmental manner.

Workplace culture on the other hand is a set of values that the company stands by and the way that employees work and behave.

Mindfulness culture is the type of corporate culture that sets mindful approach to work as one of the main company values. 

How does it look in practice?

The change usually happens from the top down, which means that it is up to the leaders to incorporate more mindfulness into their lives. This will naturally encourage employees to follow. 

Here is a list of things that mindful leaders do and encourage others to practice:

  1. Take a few moments each day to reflect over your “to-do” list. Set your priorities for each day in an intentional way by asking yourself which tasks or meetings are necessary and what can be rescheduled or delegated.
  2. Avoid multitasking and focus at one task at the time. 
  3. Take mindfulness breaks during your working day, especially if faced with stressful situations. You can use tools such as Headspace or Calm apps to guide you through 3 min breathing exercises, mindful walks or other stress-relieving practices. It certainly worked for me!
  4. Include a short meditation into your morning routine. Sitting down for a few minutes each day to simply watch your breath can make a significant difference to your leadership. In fact, a study conducted by the Information School of Washington found that regular meditation practice increases the ability to concentrate and improves memory. Additionally, it leads to reduction in the experienced levels of stress as regular practitioner gain the peace of mind. 
  5. Check yourself emotionally before you enter the meeting or a conference call. Take 3 deep breaths into your belly, scan your body for any signs of physical tension and notice any sensations or emotions you might be experiencing. You don’t have to change anything, just be mindful of what you’re bringing in to the meeting with yourself.  
  6. Always be listening. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said: “Every person you meet in this world has something to teach you”. One of the mistakes leaders can make is assuming that their experience and knowledge means that they always know the right answer. Allow yourself to listen even if you believe that you already have the answer. You never know what you might learn and from whom.
  7. Bring meditation or yoga classes into your office! There are plenty of corporate wellness providers out there offering different packages tailored for the type, size of the business and goals that you want to achieve. Incorporating on-site classes will directly benefit your EVP and indirectly - your productivity and performance.

A couple of stats

Research by PepTalk showed that: 

  • 70% of employees wish they were more active 
  • 80% wish they ate healthier 
  • 40% wish they took better care of their mental health

If nothing else, embracing mindfulness is a way to give your employees what they are already asking for. The fact that it could benefit your business and create a healthy and supportive work culture is just an added bonus.

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