5 Ways to Practice Mindfulness at Work
Do you practice mindfulness at work? Do you focus on the present task or does your mind often wander to other work duties, personal thoughts, or outside stimuli? If remaining focused is difficult, you’re not alone and there’s a good chance many of your employees are struggling as well. Practicing mindfulness at work on a regular basis can reduce stress, boost job performance, and lower the risk for burnout. If you notice your employees acting more frazzled than functional, it may be time to promote these simple yet effective ways to practice mindfulness at work.
Focus on Productivity, Not Busyness
Employees can confuse busyness with productiveness. Just because they’re plowing through a list of tasks at a feverish pace doesn’t mean your business is benefiting.
Go over the differences between being busy and remaining productive with employees. Are they truly focused or are they ineffectively multitasking? Are they foolishly proud of being busy or do their results alone speak for their productivity? Have employees set hourly reminders or send out memos to encourage productivity over-busyness.
One common distraction in today’s technology-driven world is email. Remind employees not to let the constant barrage of emails distract them from focusing on the task at hand. Turn off notifications when you are focusing on a project or look at your emails during specific scheduled times.
Encouraging employees to take a few breaks at work for mindfulness exercises might be met with skepticism but should be warmly received once they experience the difference it can make. Here are a couple suggestions.
Learning how to actively listen is a simple way to boost mindfulness. Have two employees spend a 15-minute break simply talking. However, they should avoid assumptions or planning responses before saying them.
They should take the time to absorb information and calculate a response without feeling rushed. This can feel awkward at first but does encourage employees to pay more attention to their coworkers and remain respectful.
This activity can be completed several times a day without throwing productivity out the window. Employees should block everything out and focus solely on their breathing. Breaths should be slow and deliberate, taken in through the nose and exhaled through the mouth. When thoughts try to push their way in, employees should acknowledge them but then focus solely on their breathing again. Each session should continue for about five minutes. These simple breaks can immediately boost productivity and clarity so encourage employees to schedule a breathing session accordingly.
Increased gratitude and developed mindfulness go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Encourage employees to put gratitude first.
The next time they feel overwhelmed, underappreciated, or overstretched, suggest that they take a few moments to come up with five things they’re grateful for. By shifting their energy to positivity instead of negativity, mindfulness becomes easier to achieve.
Take More Breaks
Taking more breaks to increase mindfulness may seem counterintuitive. How can you remain in the moment if you’re taking a break from it?
But studies show that working more hours can result in less productivity. Make sure to lead by example. Take a short break to stretch your legs, rest your eyes, and decompress. A five to 10-minute break every hour can boost productivity and mindfulness while decreasing stress.
Start Strong, Finish Smart
The first 10 minutes of an employee’s day sets the tone for its remainder. Encourage employees to spend the first few minutes at their desk mapping out their day. Which tasks must be completed? What should be focused on next? Which can wait until the next day or week?
When employees have a strong game plan to follow for the day, they’ll work smarter instead of harder. They’ll also feel more accomplished at the end of the day, leading to motivation for similar success the next business day.
Mindfulness at the office can be achieved by all employees. While some team members may be more resistant to the idea than others, keeping mindfulness at the forefront of meetings and memos is the first step.
Remember to lead by example, promote mindfulness in a positive manner, and remind employees of its benefits. You should notice a drastic improvement in your company’s atmosphere.
A healthy HR presence can help you promote these activities. If you need help strengthening your business through HR practices, we’d love to talk to you.