Promoting mindfulness in the workplace is a smart way to increase productivity and decrease stress and tension. As an employer, how can you encourage the practice in your office?
The best way to encourage participation is to make the practice an integral part of daily work life. Here are seven ways to increase mindfulness in the workplace and take your team to new heights.
1. Show, Don’t Tell
As any parent can tell you, people tend to follow your example more than your spoken word. It makes sense — often, what people claim they value doesn’t align with their behavior.
Therefore, you influence your employees when they hear you say, “Let me reflect on this matter and get back to you” — and then do so. You need to practice what you preach.
With more people working virtually due to the pandemic, you might lack in-person interaction time for others to see your behavior. However, you can bring mindfulness into Zoom meetings. Take everyone’s “mood temperature” by asking them to describe their emotional state — model ideal responses of “energetic” or “determined” instead of “fine.”
2. Let the Light Shine
Studies suggest that spending time outdoors in the sunlight boosts your mood and regulates your sleep patterns. A well-rested workforce is a more productive one. However, cubicle-dwellers may commute to work in the dark and return home under the same conditions during the winter.
Provide ample lighting in your office — no, this advice doesn’t mean adding more buzzing overhead fluorescents. Remove window coverings and replace them with one-way film to let more natural light stream. If you can, try adding skylights.
Pay attention to the landscaping around your building. Consider putting in an outdoor dining area so employees can enjoy the fresh air on their lunch break. Those in colder locations can invest in patio heaters to make the space inviting even in winter.
3. Offer Seating Alternatives
If you requisition the same chair for every team member, why not give them a choice? Some people are more comfortable with different models. After all, it’s challenging to sit in lotus pose when the armrests dig into your knees.
Part of mindfulness entails awareness of the physical body. A standing desk lets your workers transition from sitting to standing, which increases blood flow and productivity.
If you have a more creative workspace, who says you have to use traditional black leather chairs? Couches and Papasan chairs invite five-to-10-minute meditation sessions while giving chronic pain sufferers room to move into a position that alleviates their agony.
4. Give Breathing Room Between Meetings
Do you schedule meetings back-to-back? If so, how do you expect your crew to reflect on the first session before moving to the next?
Research from the University of California, Irvine, shows that it takes 23 minutes on average to get back on task after an interruption. When you jump from one meeting to another, your body might physically change conference rooms, but your mind may stay in the previous one.
Leave 30 minutes between meetings. This gap helps you maximize mindfulness while allowing for contingencies like questions taking additional time.
5. Start Conferences With Mindfulness
What do you do while waiting for everyone to reach the conference room or log into Zoom? Why not use this opportunity for mindfulness practice?
Get your team centered on the present moment and decrease anxiety with a centering exercise. Ask everyone to list five things they can see, then four things they can touch. Continue through three things they can hear, two they can smell and one they can taste.
6. Devote Professional Development Time
If you work in an industry like education or accounting, you probably provide professional development to help your staff stay on top of continuing education requirements. Why not use that time to teach mindfulness practices?
Instead of lecturing your employees to adopt positive de-stressing techniques, why not host a yoga class and show them how to unwind through breath and movement?
If you work with various vendors in the self-care industry, consider hosting an expo. Your team members will get to know your clients’ products and services while learning ways to incorporate mindful self-love into their daily routines.
7. Require Regular Breaks
Mindfulness works wonders — but it takes time to practice. You don’t need to send your staff to a two-hour Ashtanga workshop, but you should provide break time. Better yet, encourage or require it.
Seventy-one percent of employees say they want stress-relief breaks such as naps and required downtime, but many are afraid to ask. Encourage staff to log the time they spend taking mindfulness breaks for a week and offer a bonus — a $5 coffee gift certificate works — for those who rise to the challenge.
Make Your Workplace More Mindful with These 7 Tips
Increasing mindfulness in the workplace leads to a jump in productivity. Encourage the practice in your office with the above tips.
About the Author:
Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded. He writes about cars, fitness, the outdoors and more. Follow @TModded on Twitter for more articles from the Modded team.