You may have noticed an increase in offerings around bringing mindfulness to the workplace. Maybe your office has introduced a yoga class? Or, perhaps you are the one tasked with bringing some wellness experiences to your company and don’t know where to begin?
Well, this article should help make clear why this has become more prevalent, how it could add value and where to begin. Continue reading for important information to help you: decide if bringing mindfulness to your workplace would add value, and if so, how to choose a program that’s right for your community while avoiding costly and time consuming mistakes.
So why are you hearing terms like “health & wellness”, “mindfulness”, “work/life balance” more than ever? Have you been on a work zoom or an in-person meeting and wondered why it seems like more alternative (or hippie dippy) ideas are being floated?
The benefits of adding a mindfulness into your life are numerous. Specifically, having it be a part of the workday has been shown to improve:
According to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 40% of Americans feel that the stress of the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health. Not only is stress taxing, but it also increases inflammation and can lead to chronic diseases of the brain and heart.
The benefits of incorporating mindfulness in the workplace are evident.
For example, in Jan 16, 2019, more than one-quarter of Aetna’s work force of 50,000 had participated in at least one mindfulness class, and those who had participated reported, on average:
Another noteworthy point, according to research published in the journal Mindfulness, was that the more mindful the supervisor, the lower their employees’ emotional exhaustion and the higher their job satisfaction.
Moreover, in their recent article in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, Jerry Slutsky, Brian Chin, Julianna Raye and J. David Creswell examined the effectiveness of mindfulness training in the workplace.
The examination found that compared to the participants on a waiting list, the participants of a six-week mindfulness training showed reduced work-life conflict, increased job satisfaction, and an increased ability to focus their attention. Notably, this was the first study to research the effects of mindfulness training on attentional focus during the workday.
Overall, these findings suggest that while small doses of mindfulness training (such as the half-day training) may be enough to increase perceptions of job productivity, longer-term mindfulness training programs (such as the half-day training combined with daily practice for six weeks) are needed to improve work focus, job satisfaction, and a positive relationship to work.
Another study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, asked 30,000 people the following question: “Does the perception that stress affects health matter?”
The study showed that people experiencing high levels of stress but who believed that stress was good for them had among the lowest mortality rates. Whereas highly stressed people who believed that stress was bad for their health had the highest chance of dying.
Your beliefs about stress clearly affect how they impact on your health and well-being.
Another study even found that the blood vessels constricted (as is seen in those with heart disease) in people who believed that stress was bad for them, but stayed open and healthy in those who believed that stress was good for them.
The current climate in workplaces can be quite stressful. With the addition of technology, we live in a hyper-connected yet distracted environment, and this can have a negative impact on employees. Offering regular mindfulness practices may be a way to mitigate this stress.
Apps for Bringing Mindfulness to the Workplace
There are small steps that can be taken to today to creating a more mindful workplace. These include beginning the day with a brief meditation or morning affirmation, implementing mandatory mental health breaks throughout the day, creating a “quiet space” area or even starting meetings or emails with a note of gratitude. In such an environment, team members are more likely to be engaged, present and pro-active.
When using Calm, participants reported:
When using Headspace, participants reported:
Or, for maximum results and longer lasting benefits, you may want to focus on a more structured offer with an actual coaching program.
So how do you know that it’s worth the time, attention and resources?
Perhaps you’ve already tried implementing mindfulness practices in the past and enrollment was low. Or, if there was initial interest, it lacked engagement. Sometimes employees seeing taking advantage of these programs as taking time off of work. Other times, if the behavior isn’t modeled by leadership, they may feel it less professional to personally participate. So here I say, it may not be easy but it is worth it and its starts with you!
A robust roll out of practices that will help create a culture of connection, communication, enthusiasm and engagement begins with leadership showing that that is an added value and important point of focus to and for the business.
It is continued with consistent and exciting marketing of the programs such as adding to team calendars, having signage and mentioning in department-wide and company-wide communications. Without adequate communication of the program and celebration of those who choose to participate, you spend time and money to little result.
If you are looking for a more customized and tailored solution, you may want to partner with a Mindfulness Coach who can work with you to find the solution to your unique situation.
If you are still reading, you may be feeling like this is the missing piece for your community, team or business. And to that I would answer… “WELL DONE!”. You are really grasping the added value that mindfulness in the workplace could bring.
So… now what?
Perhaps you can add something to what you are already doing to create the space for people to make create their own mindful rituals like an office yoga class or a morning meditation. Or you can use a self-led option such as the apps previously mentioned.
But, if like many, you welcome the opportunity to help your community to not only survive in the modern workplace but to actually thrive in it and are looking for more guidance, we are here to help!
Just as there are many types of workplaces, our team has created three initiatives to best serve your specific needs for your unique community:
These initiatives have been designed to teach mindfulness methods, enhance productivity and results and foster community; benefits that last long after the course ends. In a recent example, the faculty of a prominent college was feeling burnt out from the sudden and complete pivot from live teaching to online classes.
While their workload increased and their computer time tripled, they felt the human connection with their fellow professors dwindle and their attention to their own health and wellness routines suffer.
After a 1-day workshop with a small team of professors, the response was incredible.
We have such a commitment to our students and so much responsibility that it felt so great to take the time to take care of our team. It was incredible to see how big of a shift we experienced in just one hour. The group was guided through a few simple breath exercises and a visualization. We learned how to change the flow of our breathing, the nature of our thinking and the way we were feeling in such a short span of time. We were given tools that we will keep and use. We felt more connected than we had in a year; to our students, to our community and to ourselves. I can’t wait to have Joanna back for the full 12-week training. This was, by far, the most well received wellness event we’ve ever offered!” – Dr. R.
As a speaker, breathing and meditation expert, author, and mindset mastery coach, mindfulness is kind of my thang. For decades, I studied with, learned from and was trained by the world’s oldest yoga teacher. I am passionate about helping people live their best lives ever on and off the mat and have created something that helps many do just that.
Want to see if a Mindfulness Program could benefit you and your team? Book a time on our calendar for free consultation.
Joanna Rajendran is a Keynote Speaker, Mindset Master, Meditation Expert, Coach, and Author. Joanna spent 26 years studying with, learning from and assisting Master Teacher Tao Porchon-Lynch. She shares the lessons she learned in the must-read book My Guru Wears Heels and spends her time inspiring as many people as possible to live their BEST LIVES EVER through her coaching, retreats and speaking engagements.
If you’re interested in learning more about Joanna please visit her website.