Despite the progress that the corporate world has made in the past few decades, disruptive toxic emotions and habits are still a thing in certain workplaces. One of the most important tasks that management has to tackle is recognizing these destructive patterns and nipping them in the bud before they cause long-term damages in the office. To counteract these unhealthy elements, many companies have started promoting the practice of mindfulness. This is an ancient technique that helps people to cope with stress.
Mindfulness is an ancient self-awareness technique originating from Buddhist tradition. At its core, it involves being keenly aware of your own feelings and surroundings and observing other people’s feelings and reacting accordingly. Many of us tend to function on autopilot. We have a strict way of reacting to a subset of specific situations.
Mindfulness can ‘’reprogram’’ your mind to break out of this vicious circle and judge each situation and event as they are, without adding any unnecessary layers of complexity. As a result, it has been adapted to the realities of the modern world to treat depression, assist with mood regulation and create a healthy working environment in the office. Therefore, without further ado, here are four benefits of workplace mindfulness.
Mindfulness Lowers Stress Levels
It is common knowledge that stress is an addiction. As soon as we let it overwhelm us, it becomes sort of a coping mechanism. It becomes the standard method to react to our surroundings. Adding to its vicious nature is the fact that it is highly contagious. Managers who are overrun by stress, spread it to the employees like wildfire and diminish performance and productivity over time.
While some people are naturally equipped with the necessary inner tools to get around stress, mindfulness can help those who were not so lucky. By practicing a few simple techniques like closing the eyes and counting to 100 and making a habit out of it, people can easily overcome the negative effects of stress.
Stress is slowly transforming into an epidemic, as 35 % of Americans admit that their jobs are affecting their emotional and physical well-being, as a report published by the American Institute of Stress states.
That is why, according to a CBC news report, an increasing number of businesses are implementing mindfulness to help employees cope with stress. Some famous examples are General Mills, Monsanto, Comcast, Procter, Google, Apple, McKinsey & Company, Aetna and Deutsche Bank.
Another company that successfully implemented this program is Labor Ready, one of the largest providers of temporary workers in the United States. As the temp worker field is gaining attention recently for its occasional unfair or abusive treatment, Labor Ready, for example, has promised to commit to its employees’ wellbeing. People who are interested in this company’s mindfulness programs and corporate culture can always read more about labor ready application.
It Makes Employees More Open to Constructive Criticism
Giving and receiving feedback is the cornerstone of the modern corporate world. Even though employees are trained in this respect, there are some who are not capable of accepting criticism without taking it personally.
And that is completely understandable since negative feedback is one of the worst experiences we can have at work. Moreover, if the criticism itself is poorly delivered, research shows that productivity can go down the drain.
Regardless of how well the criticism is formulated and transmitted, mindfulness helps people deal with it in a mature and healthy fashion. It helps control the fight or flight hormones that are triggered for this occasion. Leaders need to cultivate this skill. They need to be mindful and aware of the team’s current general mood before dropping truth bombs or negative feedback.
Boosts Team Focus
The technique of mindfulness is beneficial because it works both on an individual and collective level. One of the biggest factors that impede performance and productivity is team focus. There are many influencing elements here. This ranges from tight deadlines, high amounts of tasks to the general vibe in the office. In times of stress and tension, employees have a harder time concentrating.
Mindfulness meditation has the potential to solve these issues. Focus, productivity as well as creativity can receive a huge boost in offices where the technique of mindfulness is part of the company policy. Moreover, employees stay longer on tasks, task memory improves and the psychological burden associated with underperforming diminishes.
Leaders Become Better at their Jobs
Being in a leadership position is hard enough without having to monitor work social dynamics and performance. The increased responsibility alone can be reason enough for some people to crack under pressure. Sometimes, it is a thankless job. Every facet of every single decision can affect the workplaces in one way or another.
But often, leadership can provide the person in that position with a great deal of satisfaction, happiness and job fulfillment. Mindfulness is no longer a niche concept applied only in a low number of workplaces. Today, it is a requirement, especially for leaders. Multinational companies such as Google and Aetna are two of the biggest proponents of leadership mindfulness, and they have applied this tactic with great results.
Thousands of employees have gone through the large-scale mindfulness programs implemented by these companies. They have reported that there are clear benefits of practicing this technique—increased focus and productivity spreading throughout the companies. Moreover, people in leadership positions admitted that mindfulness helped them increase their emotional intelligence, empathy, and self-awareness.
Mindfulness is no longer a practice reserved for novel companies. As stress levels and job dissatisfaction were on a constant rise, companies started implementing large-scale mindfulness programs. These programs helped employees cope with workplace difficulties and their long-term effects on the mind and body. The results were better than expected. Research shows that this ancient technique can boost focus and productivity. It also contributes to a healthier, more efficient and more balanced work environment.
About the Author
Alex Moore is a West Virginia psychology undergraduate who likes everything about mindfulness, workplace organization, and work-life balance. He writes for Job Application Cente. Alex is very active on Twitter @alex_moore01r.