19th Sep 2019
6 Ideas for HR Professionals to Bring Mindfulness into the Workplace
Yes, mindfulness has become a bit of a ‘buzzword’ in recent years, but no we’re not surprised. With job-related stress, anxiety and depression at worryingly high levels, businesses are turning to mindfulness to help their people tackle these increasingly common workplace issues.
Today we’re bringing you 6 simple ideas to help introduce mindfulness into your workplace, integrate them into your employee wellbeing strategy, and help your people to feel the benefits.
So what is mindfulness?
When you think of mindfulness, the first thing that pops into your head is probably yoga or meditation, and this isn’t wrong, but it’s definitely not the only way to think of it, especially in the context of the workplace.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, mindfulness is “the practice of being aware of your body, mind, and feelings in the present moment, thought to create a feeling of calm.”
When you take this definition in the cold light of day, it becomes a little easier to see how mindfulness can be applied in a work context, or in any situation for that matter!
Benefits of mindfulness at work
The reason that mindfulness is popping up all over the place is that it’s become a lot more ‘legitimate’ in recent years, with studies showing many benefits for those that practice it.
Getting your staff on board with practicing mindfulness in the workplace can be tough, but once you’ve cracked it there are incredible benefits to be had, including:
- A reduction in job stress
- Decreased feelings of anxiety and depression
- Increased focus and ability to drown out distractions
- Increased self-awareness and regulation of emotions
- Improved body satisfaction
So mindfulness really does promote physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, allowing for increased productivity. And who doesn’t want that for themselves and their colleagues?
Tips for bringing mindfulness into your workplace
No, it’s not always about gathering everyone in the office for an hour of meditation once a week, although that would be a pretty amazing achievement!
Mindfulness is simply about focusing the mind on one thing and being present. This can be done in any number of ways, so here are a few to try passing onto your colleagues.
1. Fill breaks with mindful activity
Just a couple of minutes of practicing mindfulness is all it takes to muster that feeling of calm. Spend a few minutes of your break noticing your thoughts and feelings, whether they’re bad or good, and acknowledging that you will not feel this way forever – because that’s just the way things are.
2. Walk mindfully
Walking around the office is something of a necessity, but doing it mindfully can add another level of goodness that you didn’t even know was there. Walking mindfully involves noticing the feeling of your feet on the ground, the wind on your face if you’re outside, whatever you’re feeling, just noticing it. This can make you feel a greater sense of purpose in these day-to-day activities, and brighten up your day.
3. Eat mindfully
We all know the feeling of the ‘after-lunch slump’. Maybe you were starving by the time you got to your lunch hour and ate too much or chose something unhealthier than you’d anticipated. Eating mindfully can help to combat this. When you’re eating, don’t sit and scroll through your phone, taste the food and notice how full you are. It really does make the shop-bought meal deal or reheated dinner a much more enjoyable experience!
4. Notice what you’re doing at your desk
It’s all too easy to get engrossed in your work. Have you ever zoned out for what you thought was only a couple of minutes and wondered how you managed to have 100 tabs open in your browser? Just being more aware of the work you’re actually doing in each moment, can lessen the feeling of stress that sometimes comes with trying to do too many things at once. For one, you’ll be more likely to focus on one task at a time, and secondly, you’ll be more self-aware, recognising the fact that you’re doing all you can to decrease that to-do list.
5. Practice mindfulness with colleagues
And no, we promise we’re not going back on our word about group meditation. Mindfulness can be practiced in just about any group situation. For example, creating a networking event where you talk about the drinks or food on offer, how you’re feeling in the moment, or what you think of the background music is a really easy way to get people acting and talking mindfully. You can even get beer or cake involved!
6. Show your employees that you care
Ultimately, encouraging mindfulness in the workplace is all about showing your people that you care. Investing in wellbeing activities, or giving them tips on how to manage their mental and physical wellbeing in a way that shows you genuinely care for them will speak more volumes than giving them a free gym membership will. Empower your employees to be the best they can be and support them in their quest to do so, and you can’t go far wrong.
Create a mindful working culture
Creating a mindful working culture is about more than practicing mindfulness. And of course, it doesn’t work for everyone. Building a working environment that fully supports staff wellbeing is essential too.
We help our clients to create inspiring and engaging workplaces that help their people to achieve their best. So if you’re thinking about positively transforming your company’s working environment, our free workplace assessment service gives you advice on design, furniture, tech, budgets and more – so you can create a space that fosters wellbeing, happiness and productivity.
Fill in the form below to book your free assessment with one of our office design specialists.