3 Tips for a More Mindful Workplace
Ever wished you could wave a magic wand to help your employees to focus, or de-stress? The next best thing might be some simple mindfulness techniques.
Incorporating mindfulness techniques into your employees’ workday can be as easy as trying some slow and focused breathing, and as quick as a five-minute exercise. With practice, mindfulness can help decrease stress, improve focus and memory, and promote flexible thinking and emotional resilience. That makes it a great tool for the workplace, helping reinforce healthy habits and even helping improve job satisfaction.
With lots of upside and little investment, why not encourage your employees to add a few minutes of mindfulness to their day?
1. Promote Mindfulness at Work
There are plenty of ways to introduce mindfulness at work, and it’s great to provide information and tips in various ways in order to appeal to your unique workforce/team. Hold a lunch and learn with a knowledgeable speaker, or share a podcast that provides an introduction to mindfulness techniques. Set out a collection of books and other resources for self-study, or tack a mindfulness tip sheet to your bulletin board.
Providing information is important, but creating a more mindful culture is even more powerful. Pulse employees to find out what specific mindfulness topics and strategies they’d want to try. Start by encouraging employees to take a full stop for coffee breaks or lunch (and meaning it). Try out distraction-free meetings: no laptops, phones, or other devices that aren’t essential to the meeting. Whatever you choose, have managers model mindful behaviors to help the good habits spread.
2. Share Simple Mindfulness Techniques
With a wealth of ways to practice mindfulness, pick a few favorite tools or techniques and pass them on to your team.
A number of apps are helpful for learning and reinforcing mindfulness, like Headspace for the basics of mindfulness and meditation; Calm for meditation and sleep exercises; Aware, a personal trainer for mindfulness; or Stop, Breathe & Think, with a customized approach to mindfulness based on your current mood.
A simple and popular stress-busting technique is called the “4-7-8” Breathing Exercise”: Sit up straight in a comfortable position; slowly inhale through your nose for a count of 4; hold your breath for a count of 7; exhale through your mouth for a count of 8; repeat 4 times.
Or, as a more thoughtful alternative to counting to 10, the “ABC Method” is a calming approach to emotional situations. To start, be aware of your options: you can react to a situation, address a distraction, or let it go. Breathe deeply and consider your alternatives. Choose thoughtfully: act or let it go.
3. Reinforce Mindful Habits
Like any wellness effort, consistency matters for increasing mindfulness. But you can start small and still get meaningful benefits from a couple simple – and surprisingly refreshing – things like:
- Closing your laptop or pocketing your phone when talking with coworkers, or on a break.
- Eating lunch slowly, and focusing fully on enjoying your food.
- Taking a daily walk outside in fresh air and natural light.
- Setting up a phone alarm or a 15-minute calendar invite to cue to for a mindfulness break or exercise.
No Pain, Lots of Gain
With the potential for so much positive gain, it’s a no-brainer. Make resources available in your workplace, keep it light, and encourage employees to choose what works best for them. Of course, it might take time for some employees to adopt the overall concept, but creating an environment to learn about and practice mindfulness can spark team inspiration in new ways.
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