Employees often struggle to leave their emotions or mental health at home when they come into work, and they also have issues leaving work stress at the office. This often causes employees to feel overwhelmed – which affects how well they complete work tasks, how they respond to team members, and how productive they are.
However, there is a way to reduce employee stress and encourage them to stay focused and calm. It comes down to employers helping them develop a quality known as mindfulness.
What Is Mindfulness in the Workplace?
Mindfulness in the workplace refers to the simple practice of paying attention to and staying present in the work setting. Mindfulness practices require the individual to acknowledge their feelings regarding internal and external stimuli in an open and accepting way.
For instance, a mindful employee will observe and process what is happening in the workplace without reacting. This allows them to approach their work and dealings with other team members in a non-judgmental way.
Why is Mindfulness Important at Work?
As the workplace transforms into a knowledge-based environment, the mind needs to be treated as a capital asset, the same way the body is treated as an asset in a manufacturing or construction environment.
Organizations of all sizes in all kinds of industries can benefit from encouraging their staff to embrace mindfulness as an active practice, especially small businesses. Employees on smaller teams tend to “wear many hats,” meaning they bear the burden of various responsibilities associated with several roles. Juggling all of these tasks can create an overwhelming, stressful day to day experience.
To put it simply, the mind needs breaks to keep it healthy and functioning properly. Many workplaces fail to protect and transform one of the greatest tools in the workplace – the mind.
Practicing mindfulness at work helps employees process and deal with their negative emotions better by allowing them to let go of thoughts of the past or future and focus on the present.
Negative emotions affect every area of an employee’s work, and it may quickly contribute to a toxic work environment that isn’t productive or successful.
Companies that make mindfulness in the workplace a priority help their employees think with clarity, make decisions with an open mind, and contribute to better workplace relationships.
5 Benefits of Mindfulness in the Workplace
Here are five benefits of mindfulness in the workplace:
It Reduces Work-Related Stress
Practicing mindfulness in the workplace puts space between an employee and their emotions by improving self-compassion. This lessens work-related stress significantly since employees are able to better manage and cope with their negative emotions.
The benefits of mindfulness also extend into the physical manifestations of stress. A recent study found that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) training results in lower blood cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
This suggests that the participants in the study experienced less stress in their minds and bodies as a result of completing MBSR training.
It Helps Improve Concentration
Concentration requires a decluttered mind that is free from external or internal distractions. It is often needed for employees to get their tasks completed at work. Mindfulness frees individuals from these distractions and gives them a new way to process information.
When your employees are in the thick of a difficult task or trying to solve a challenging problem, a moment of mindfulness may provide them with a new angle to reflect on.
It Enhances Creativity
Mindfulness in the workplace encourages divergent thinking that is the key to creativity. Someone with an overwhelmed mind may experience a creative block; practicing mindfulness removes that block by boosting their ability to look at the things around them with a new lens.
It Increases Vitality
Each day, your employees bring a certain amount of energy to the workplace. Some days they are high energy, while other days they may be running on very low energy. This is often referred to as vitality.
Vitality is needed for your employees to complete difficult tasks at work while still maintaining job satisfaction. Mindful practices help your employees maintain vitality by allowing them to remain cognizant of their goals and aspirations.
It Helps People to Absorb New Information
Employees that allow their brains to take a break from problem solving often increase their ability to learn, create, or produce more in the future. Refusing to take mindful breaks leads to stagnant thinking, stress, and exhaustion.
Mindful breaks create space for your employees to absorb more information that will be useful later on.
One of the best ways you can educate your staff about mindfulness and teach them how to develop this sense of calm is through an employee wellness program.
How Wellness Programs Support Employee Mindfulness
Wellness programs support mindfulness in the workplace because many of the techniques, workshops, and classes in these programs promote mindful practices and behavior.
Mindfulness is sometimes as simple as taking a moment to breathe during a stressful day. Some wellness initiatives, like stress management, yoga, meditation, and energy healing, contain practices that support central aspects of mindfulness, such as focusing on one thing at a time.
Employee wellness programs aim to enhance employee wellbeing, and the best way to do that is through wellness practices that encourage people to check in with themselves – how they are feeling, what they are thinking, and how they can manage their thoughts and emotions.
Great wellness programs encourage mindfulness throughout each and every activity to support the connection between mind and body. This allows employees to reap the benefits of a less stressful, more productive, and more positive work week.
Ways to Add Mindfulness to Your Wellbeing Program
Here are five tips that will help you learn how to practice mindfulness at work along with your employees.
Educate Your Employees About Mindfulness
Begin by offering educational resources to your employees about mindfulness and its many benefits. Although mindfulness can be as simple as closing your eyes and taking a few deep breaths, true mindfulness requires instruction and practice.
Your employees must know what mindfulness is and how they can become mindful before they start practicing it.
Provide Various Mindfulness Options
Add various mindfulness options to your wellness program. Some of your employees may be interested in yoga and meditation for mindfulness, while other employees may enjoy a walk outside or engaging in other physical activities.
Make sure to provide a holistic approach to mindfulness by avoiding a one-size-fits-all strategy or program.
Incorporate Mindfulness in Daily Work Activities
Encourage employees to incorporate mindfulness into their everyday activities. Leadership can figure out ways to add mindfulness practices into daily team meetings and find the time to practice daily gratitude.
Encourage a workplace culture where employees take work breaks that don’t involve checking emails or answering questions about work during lunch. This helps give employees the mental rest they need to reduce stress.
Develop a Mindfulness Challenge for the Workplace
Developing a mindfulness challenge for the workplace encourages all levels of the organization to participate. When employees see their supervisors taking time out of their busy days to practice mindfulness at work, they’ll become more committed to practicing it themselves.
If you work with a wellness partner, like Gympass, you may ask them if they have any mindfulness videos or app partners that give your employees easy access to mindfulness resources.
Update Your Wellness Incentives
If you have a wellness incentive program, give points to employees who complete mindfulness challenges, deliver presentations, or conduct various mindfulness activities. The right wellness incentives encourage your employees to get involved in mindfulness practices, such as meditation at work.
Where Gympass Comes In: A Focus on Mind, Body, and Mood
Gympass promotes employee wellbeing and mindfulness in an accessible and simple way. They connect organizations of all sizes to the tools they need to boost the spirits of their employees.
Adding Gympass as a wellness partner gives you access to over 700 activities that provide your employees with ways to get more in tune with their minds, bodies, and emotional wellbeing – all of which impact their mood. With Gympass, your employees can enjoy access to physical fitness and meditation, financial wellness resources, therapy for employees, and nutritional guidance.
It is a complete solution that will help your employees maintain a high level of mindfulness in the workplace so you can be sure to protect the greatest capital asset in the workplace – the mind.