How to Encourage Mindfulness in Employees
Mindfulness is more than just a buzzword. Staying present in the moment has the power to transform your workplace into a powerhouse of productivity while improving your employees’ quality of life.
However, the term “mindfulness” still denotes new-age mysticism in some people’s minds, turning them off and depriving them of the considerable benefits.
So, how can you encourage mindfulness in your employees without completely turning them off from the idea? Here are eight tips for getting started.
1. Provide Breathing Room
Does your crew go from one meeting to another back-to-back, with barely enough time to enjoy a bite of the free doughnuts in between? Mindfulness, like any activity worth doing, takes time. Give your employees some breathing space between get-togethers to reflect on what was said and mull over upcoming changes.
Productivity experts advise scheduling no more than two to three meetings daily, preferably in the afternoon. Leave the mornings for productive work time. You’ll have fewer employees tapping their toes and wondering if they can finish their workload before the day ends.
2. Get Them in Touch With Nature
Mindfulness sounds new age-y, but it merely refers to focusing on your feelings and sensations in the present moment without interpretation or judgment. Many times, humans tend to dwell in their heads — your mouth might be eating a sandwich, but your mind is on the errands you still need to complete and your pesky rent bill.
Why not host your next team-building activity in nature? If you want to enjoy the outdoors and still maintain social distancing, kayaking can be a fun activity. Just make sure that everyone knows the basics of kayaking before you board and set off.
3. Invest in Comfort
Mindfulness entails focusing on what you feel in the present, and it won’t boost your productivity effectively if your only sensation is your aching back from an uncomfortable chair. Invest in workplace ergonomics and let your staff decide what they want their workstation to feel like.
For example, some employees might prefer a variable-height desk, as some users report reduced lower back pain from movement during the workday. Another alternative to the traditional chair is an inflatable exercise ball that lets those with degenerative disk disease lay back and stretch out space between their vertebrae as needed.
Comfort is more than just physical, however. Employees will be more comfortable when their station is secure and they don’t have to worry about the more administrative aspects of their job. Having a competent IT team is a significant benefit.
4. Start Meetings With Mindfulness
Do all your meetings begin with you taking the helm and pressing full steam ahead? Why not start your gathering with a mini-mindfulness activity instead?
Begin with a mindful listening exercise that gets everyone in the right mindset for paying attention. You could also take a traveling meeting that begins with a mindful walk and keeps you moving while discussing budget numbers.
5. Teach the Skill in Professional Development
Telling your employees to be more mindful rarely works. If they aren’t familiar with the practice, you may as well hand a 2-year-old a few 4x4s and say, “build me a birdhouse.”
Instead, why not use some of your professional development time to teach mindfulness techniques? Even your resident yogis will benefit, as there is always room for growth and improvement in any endeavor.
6. Go Easy on the Overtime
Practicing mindfulness takes time. It isn’t something that many can readily achieve when deadlines loom and supervisors demand you burn the midnight oil.
Overtime is sometimes unavoidable, but for the most part, strive to get your workforce done and home within eight hours or less. Some companies find that demanding less clock-time works best. Microsoft recently saw a 40% jump in productivity after reducing the workweek to four days from five. Also, many of your employees would appreciate more time to tend to family responsibilities.
7. Share Information About the Benefits
If you take a low-pressure approach to management, you might want to introduce mindfulness in gentler ways than all-staff meetings. Why not let your employees discover the benefits for themselves?
If your business has a waiting room, stock it with magazines that teach the practice and its perks. Create meditation spaces or pods where workers can unplug from everything for 10 minutes and focus on the present. Keep your office blinds open when you perform a focused 12 at your desk.
8. Offer On-Site Yoga and Meditation
If you want to earn bonus points for your mindful workforce, why not try offering on-site yoga and meditation classes? Many of your employees would welcome the chance to take a break and stretch, and doing so could considerably boost productivity and morale.
You’ll have to decide the best time to run your class offerings. A lunchtime yoga session provides a needed interruption in the workday, but it could encourage your workers to eat at their desks. Hosting a class after-hours can work but can seem unfair to those who must leave to pick up their children from practice or school. Why not survey your employees and see what times work best for them?
Encourage Mindfulness in Your Employees With These Tips
Encouraging mindfulness in your employees improves their decision-making skills and boosts productivity. Try these eight tips to get your staff in tune with the present moment.