With so many things competing for our attention in the workplace many of us are feeling stressed and overwhelmed. The ‘always on’ culture and the speed and uncertainty of life today affects our ability to stay focused. We end up being pulled from one thing to another. This not only affects how we perform at work it also has a huge knock-on effect on our personal lives. When people are stressed it also impacts the things that are important for organisational success such as collaboration, creative thinking, productivity and effective decision making. So no one wins.
The pace of life is unlikely to change, so how do we cultivate the ability to remain calm and focused? Could mindfulness be the answer? Large corporations such as Apple, Google, IKEA and Transport for London are introducing mindfulness to help their employees cope with the demands of work today. Mindfulness is the ability to train our minds to be more present and in the moment. It not only helps us to focus more and feel less stressed, it also allows us to be more aware of how we are feeling. This can help us to make better decisions about how we respond to situations and the people around us. We all know how easy it is to react in the wrong way to an email and then regret it later.
So, what are the benefits of introducing mindfulness to the workplace? It helps people to achieve more, feel calmer, and recognise and manage their emotions. This can lead to an improvement in wellbeing and work-life balance. From the organisation’s perspective, there is potentially less stress-related absence, higher productivity, greater collaboration and innovation and happier more engaged employees. So a win-win for everyone.
However, mindfulness is not a cure-all and introducing it into an organisation needs to be carefully thought through. It needs to be tailored to fit the organisation and more importantly, it should never be used as a ‘sticking plaster’ to cover up toxic cultures, poor working practices, and ineffective leadership. As with any intervention the full benefits are only achieved if mindfulness becomes part of the culture and working practices.
Mindfulness at work can range from introductory sessions to full programmes and it can be integrated into existing training courses. To find out more about how mindfulness might support you or your organisation please get in touch