How To Encourage Mindfulness In The Workplace
The modern-day work environment, with its ever-extending to-do lists and distractions like texts, emails, phone calls, social media notifications and ads, makes finding as little as 10 minutes for mindfulness exercises difficult. However, regularly practising mindfulness is important because it results in:
- Higher brain functioning
- Increased awareness
- Increased attention and focus
- Lower blood pressure
- Stress relief
- Reduced chronic pain
- Lower anxiety levels
If you want to decrease stress and anxiety among your employees and boost productivity and efficiency, here’s how:
1. Educate employees on mindfulness
Organise training courses that teach your employees what mindfulness is and shows them mindfulness exercises they can do regularly. According to the Mayo Clinic, effective mindfulness exercises include:
- Pay attention: Try to take the time to experience your environment with all of your senses – touch, sight, smell and taste.
- Live in the moment: Try to intentionally bring an open, accepting and discerning attention to everything you do.
- Accept yourself: Treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.
- Focus on your breathing: When you have negative thoughts, try to sit down, take a deep breath and close your eyes. Focus on your breath as it movies in and out of your body.
- Sitting meditation: Sit comfortably with your back straight, feet flat on the floor and hands in your lap. Breathing through your nose, focus on your breath moving in an out of your body.
- Walking meditation: Find a quiet place 10 to 20 feet in length and begin to walk slowly. Focus on the experience of walking, being aware of the sensations of standing and the subtle movements that keep your balance. When you reach the end of your path, turn and continue walking, maintaining awareness of your sensations.
2. Introduce a quiet space
Introducing a quiet space in the workplace is great for allowing employees the opportunity to escape from phones, emails, and office chatter. This room could be a place where employees go to meditate – which is an important part of mindfulness in the workplace – or simply just sit so they can refocus without distractions. To further promote calmness, the space can be decorated with images of nature and positive affirmations.
3. Encourage regular employee breaks
Between increased workloads and demanding deadlines, many employees work straight through their lunch break in order to shorten their to-do list. But taking regular breaks is important to keep the energy levels up. One study found that a 15-second break every 10 minutes reduces fatigue by 50% and ‘microbreaks’ of 30-seconds to 5 minutes were found improve mental acuity by an average of 13%. Encourage your employees to take regular breaks, including a relaxing lunch break. Being mentally and physically refreshed boosts productivity.
4. Allow gap time between meetings
We’ve all had those work days where it’s just back-to-back meetings – employees and teams racing from one meeting to the next without a moment to breathe or think. Employees are either late to the next meeting or check out – mentally and physically – early. Allow 5 to 10 minutes between meetings so employees can refocus and recharge.