Everybody's talking about mindfulness. Whether it's your over-achieving colleague who meditates every day, or your hippy aunt who's been doing it since her first visit to India in the 1960's, it seems as though practising mindfulness is the next big trend.
The reason you've been hearing so much about mindfulness lately, is that it makes people feel good. Not feel good like buying a new pair of shoes, but genuinely feel good in the short and long term. That includes both physical and mental wellbeing.
As a busy HR person, your goal is to keep your employees as happy and as productive as possible, with as little effort as possible. And like we all know, the modern workplace demands a lot from your staff - and from you! Mindfulness is a great way to help your people with their stress, but it's not the only benefit they can reap from it.
Mindfulness has been linked to reduced exhaustion and increased productivity - both great for you as well as your employees. More interestingly, employees who practise mindfulness were found to have better job satisfaction than their peers!
So how do you actually implement it in the office? One of our wellbeing ambassadors, best-selling author and co-founder of the Museum of Happiness, Shamash Alidina, is here to give you some tips that will make your employees as chill as can be.
1. Introduce your team to short mindful exercises
Finding time for a 30-minute meditation session can be tricky, especially when you want your employees to be hitting those deadlines. So you'd be happy to hear that mindful exercises can be as short as you want them to be - you just need to give your people the tools and knowledge. Focus on one colour, one thought or one item and just think about it for 10 seconds - that's a good way to start.
2. Encourage your people to focus on one task at a time
We all think we're brilliant multitaskers. Writing up that report, while listening to the news, while texting your child about what they want to eat for dinner - we can do it! Well, it's true that in most cases we can do it, but we won't be doing any of these tasks as well as we should be. The same goes for your employees. It may seem like they're doing things faster when they multitask, but in fact, single-tasking will create better, more efficient results. Mindfulness is all about being in the here and now, focusing all of your attention on one single thing - the same applies for work tasks.
3. Teach your staff about mindful reminders
Being aware of the benefits of mindfulness isn't enough - we also need to remember to do it. And when your team's work-life is so busy, who can blame them for not remembering to take a moment to relax their brains?
Using mindful reminders is a great way to put mindfulness back on the agenda in the office. You can encourage your employees to set alarms on their phones (or even set remind them yourself!), or point out that they can use everyday sounds to remind them to be mindful. Every time they get a text, an email or a phone call, they can just take a deep, mindful breath. That's enough.
4. Advocate the art of slowing down
We know, it seems counter-productive. But the fact is that being in a panic doesn't increase efficiency - it decreases it. When your people rush things, they make more mistakes, they make bad decisions, and they just aren't in their best form. By slowing down, your people will actually be their best - which will save them (and you) time in the long run.
5. Foster acceptance
Working hard to achieve our goals is a really good trait. But sometimes it becomes a hindrance to our efforts. We all make mistakes, and sometimes these mistakes are irreversible. Mindfulness is about accepting the mistake, and moving on so that you can actually deal with the situation rather than get stuck trying to change the things you can't change.
By not placing the blame on your employees, but rather helping them accept the mistakes they've made so that they can deal with the consequences, you'll save your business much time and energy.
6. Focus on development
According to Carol Dweck and her team at Stanford University researcher, people essentially adhere to one of two mindsets - a growth or a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset think that they are naturally born with their traits (such as intelligence or talent) and that these natural traits will lead them to success. People with a growth mindset see their traits as things they should nurture and develop, so they put in the work to do so. Mindfulness is about developing a growth mindset, one that will put the emphasis on effort and being open to new possibilities. In the context of work, it's promoting the idea that even if something doesn't come naturally to your employees, it doesn't mean they're bad at it. It means that they need to develop that skill.