10 Simple Ways to Encourage Mindfulness at Workplace

10 Simple Ways to Encourage Mindfulness at Workplace
Employees who practice being mindful are therefore more likely to show greater acceptance of colleagues without reactivity. Optimal functioning of organizations is, in many ways, dependent upon positive interpersonal relationships

The Role of Mindfulness in HR Practices: Enhancing Employee Focus and Well-being

Mindfulness is defined as receptive attention to and awareness of present moment events and experiences” (Brown et al., 2007: 212).

It can be described as a ‘present-focused consciousness’ (Hyland, Lee & Mills, 2015). In other words, a mindful individual is not ruminating about the past or worrying about the future; they are simply “being” in the here and now.

Secondly, mindfulness includes paying close attention to both internal and external stimuli (Hyland et al., 2015).

Why Mindfulness at the workplace?

1- Improved social relationships

Mindfulness results in improved social relationships (Glomb et al., 2012). Positive workplace relationships can have a significant impact. They buffer the effects of workplace stressors, promote thriving in employees, and foster communication, creativity, and citizenship behaviors.

It promotes positive social connections in the workplace through a number of integral mindfulness processes, but most especially empathy and response flexibility.

Employees who practice being mindful are therefore more likely to show greater acceptance of colleagues without reactivity. Optimal functioning of organizations is, in many ways, dependent upon positive interpersonal relationships.

2- Resilience

Glomb and colleagues (2012) nominate two processes associated with mindfulness as being likely to foster resilience: affective regulation and persistence.

Mindfulness helps individuals to approach others positively and, in addition, it protects them from the negative emotions and agitation of another person by regulating affect appropriately and decreasing reactivity.

3- Enhanced task performance

The way that mindfulness is implicated in workplace performance is dependent on the nature of the task, and the contextual factors of the work… some mindfulness processes will beneficially affect a variety of types of jobs, whereas others are more specific (for example, for jobs with a lot of emotional content, decreased rumination and improved affective regulation may hold the key to performance)

It has also been found that mindfulness is associated with fewer cognitive failures (such as forgetting, distraction and blunders) – which suggests that it may therefore lead to improved workplace performance and fewer accidents.

4- Improved intuition

Mindfulness also promotes an awareness of ‘gut feelings’ and it has been suggested that tapping into these intuitions may facilitate improved task performance when the level of expertise is high.

Furthermore, it is also thought to promote better decision-making, with decision biases being less likely due to attention to internal and external stimuli, and reduced heuristic processing.

5- Enhanced employee engagement

Mindfulness is also important in the workplace because it can enhance engagement and decrease burnout. It is shown that employees’ investment in their jobs is associated with greater employee satisfaction, lower intention of turnover and increased organizational citizenship behaviors (Hyland et al., 2015).

It has been shown to relate both to increased performance and decreased intention of turnover. Mindfulness programs may enable organizations to foster employee engagement and commitment – especially in the case of high-stress and high-burnout jobs (Hyland et al., 2015).

6- Coping with change

These days, change is a predominant feature of the workplace. Research shows that a large reason why efforts for workplace change often fail is employee resistance. It can help employees cope with change – it may reduce the stress that is associated with loss of job control that often occurs with organizational change.

Increased mindfulness is also associated with lower levels of ego-defensive reactivity under threat, and it promotes objectivity, both of which help an individual cope with change in the workplace.

Employee Wellbeing: Stress & Mindfulness

Allen and Kiburz (2012) looked at mindfulness as a trait. Their study showed that greater trait mindfulness was associated with greater work-family balance (Allen & Kiburz, 2012). It also found that trait mindfulness predicted improved sleep quality, and increased vitality.

Galantino and colleagues (2005) were interested in stress and mindfulness. They looked at subject-reported stress symptoms, as well as salivary cortisol (a known indicator of stress levels) in health-care professionals.

An 8-week-long mindfulness meditation program was implemented. Its meditation was found to be related to significant decreases in employees’ emotional exhaustion.

It was discovered, however, that changes in salivary cortisol and subject-reported stress symptoms from baseline to 8 weeks post-program completion were weak and not statistically significant.

Mindfulness & Workplace Design

In developing a mindful organization, the workspace is also important. For example, the CEO and founder of Provenir Healthcare, Brigitta Glick, began the business with mindfulness as a key consideration.

She ensured that every employee would be exposed to natural light, and whilst every employee wouldn’t necessarily get a private office, many of the offices are unassigned and could be used on a first-come, first-served basis (Razzetti, 2018).

5 Examples of Mindfulness at Work

1. Be consciously present: Being mindful at work involves being consciously present in the task you are doing – for example, if writing a report, being mindful means that you give that task your full attention.

2. Slow down to speed up: Slowing down, or even stopping, can help workers become more efficient, productive, happier, resilient, and healthy at work. In other words, the mindful way of working is to slow down and reflect. It is somewhat counter-intuitive, but slowing right down makes us more productive and efficient.

3. Feel gratitude: An example of mindfulness is to be grateful. Being mindful of the things that are going well at work can also help develop resilience too.

4. Cultivate humility: Mindfulness involves self-acceptance and being open to listening and learning from others. This necessarily leads to humility.

5. Accept what you can’t change: Mindfulness in the workplace is characterized by acceptance. To be mindful is to accept the present moment for what it is.

10 Simple Ways to Encourage Mindfulness at Work

  1. Lead by example – In other words, be what you are asking others to become. Take the time to practice mindfulness yourself at work, and you will encourage others to do so.
  2. Give people time to dream – Cultivating mindfulness and a sense of peace, even through daydreaming, can lead to ideas that are beneficial and potentially revenue-raising.
  3. Look at your response from another’s point of view – This involves making sure you are clear, calm and confident when sending an email, making a phone call, or beginning a meeting. Take the perspective of others in workplace interactions into consideration.
  4. Get up and take a break – Step away from the desk.
  5. Remember to breathe.
  6. Notice the little things around you – Appreciating seemingly minor events or stimuli is one way to encourage mindfulness.
  7. Lead with emotional connection – Be emotionally present and address emotional blocks to fully understand the reality of others and develop an emotional alliance in order to help people overcome challenged.
  8. Allow ‘gap time’ between meetings – To encourage it, put a short break in between scheduled meetings. It only needs to be 5 – 10 minutes.
  9. Don’t be a ‘micro-manager’ – Be aware of the fact that stress is a major block to mindfulness
  10. Start a conversation about mindfulness.

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