I woke up feeling like the sun and started to increase Mindfulness In The Workplace
Mindfulness matters. The ability to be present and mindful — to stay focused intentionally without passing judgment — is a 21st-century skill. Businesses with mindful teams are better equipped to compete in today’s ever-changing environment.
Mindfulness At Work
As most of us have experienced firsthand, stress and anxiety can take a significant toll on the mind and body. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly 40% of Americans feel that the stress of the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health.
On the other hand, research at companies like Google, Aetna and Intel has shown that increasing mindfulness in the workplace can decrease stress levels while improving focus, thoughtfulness, decision-making abilities, and overall well-being. Mindfulness gives employees permission and space to think — to be present — leading to mental agility, resilience, and self-awareness. In addition, mindfulness can reduce emotional exhaustion, increase openness to new ideas and develop compassion and empathy.
In this age, being able to stay calm and rapidly adapt to shifting circumstances with an open mind is and will continue to be a competitive advantage. Moreover, a mindful workplace can be a powerful tool for recruiting purposes. After all, if given a choice between a company that invests in its employees’ well-being and one that doesn’t, which would you choose? Similarly, increasing mindfulness at work may lead to higher levels of commitment at work and increased engagement, ultimately reducing costly turnover.
Yoga And Meditation For Mindfulness
The “Employer-Sponsored Health and Well-Being Survey” of 163 companies by the National Business Group on Health found: 52% of companies offered mindfulness training that year. There are many ways to offer mindfulness training, yoga and meditation are some of the more cost-effective methods. Yoga and meditation are good for your mind and body, with benefits including stress management, concentration and focus, self-confidence and overall fitness.
The past five years have seen an explosion of apps and programs for meditation and yoga: Shine, Meditation Studio, Headspace, Yoga Ed. and Calm are just some of the apps and training programs available for improving wellness and mindfulness.
Moreover, workout apps like Nike Training Club, ClassPass and Peloton also offer on-demand yoga and/or meditation classes. Most of these apps and programs listed above are relatively inexpensive and easy to implement via corporate partnerships.
Brain Breaks And Unscheduled Time For Mindfulness
You probably think that long meditation sessions are necessary to achieve mindfulness. But research out of Wharton has found that even short — seven- or eight-minute — bursts of mindfulness result in more productive, helpful and pleasant employees. Even these short brain breaks have been found to increase rational decision-making skills and may improve attention and focus. Just a few minutes of mindfulness can increase “divergent thinking” to generate new ideas, an extremely valuable skill during times of uncertainty.
I also recommend purposefully scheduling blocks of unscheduled time. These moments of planned solitude provide the silence needed to focus on higher-level thinking and stimulate creativity while increasing mindfulness. With the frenetic pace of our modern lives, it’s become harder to find quiet moments, hence the need to schedule them into our busy calendars.
Create Time For Mindfulness By Leveraging Automation
To make time for mindfulness, I’ve been relying heavily on automation. Technology is rapidly changing the nature of work, especially as artificial intelligence and machine learning become more sophisticated. These technologies are paving the way for the automation of repetitive tasks — a little-known cause of employee burnout.
I really recommend taking advantage of the myriad of companies and services that increase automation, allowing your employees to focus on innovative thinking and other work that cannot be replicated by software. In particular, Zapier makes it possible for anyone to create automated workflows without code. I use this service to help automate marketing “busy work,” but there are thousands of use cases for every role and industry.
Leading With Mindfulness
Similar to emotional intelligence, increasing mindfulness in the workplace starts from the top down. Lead by example by taking brain breaks and blocking out unscheduled time. Invest in automation software or services. Start with yourself and your executive team and the effects will trickle down.
Bringing mindfulness to the workplace is advantageous on several levels. After all, investing in the well-being and resilience of all employees is simply the right thing to do. But mindfulness is also a sound business investment that pays dividends. It allows businesses to decrease stress, reduce turnover, improve productivity, recruit top talent and increase innovation.
The future of work is more than remote work. It is human-centered, where workers thrive and mindfulness, wellness and well-being become more than just buzzwords. The human-centered future of work is a movement and it starts with each of us.