In today’s economy, organisations now rely heavily on the skills, knowledge and experience of the people they employ – also known as ‘human capital.’ High performing teams are essential to the success of any organisation and employees must have the means to support and convey their experiences. People’s ability to increase awareness of their thoughts and feelings, helps them to manage difficult experiences and create space for sensible choices. Therefore, it makes sense to spend time investigating mindfulness approaches that will benefit both employees and employers alike.
On a day-to-day basis, it sometimes feels almost impossible to find time for ourselves. This is supported by the Modern Families Index 2018 report which states that around 72% of people bring work home in the evening or at weekends, with 47% reporting that the demands of work negatively impact on time spent on their own or with their families.
‘Mindfulness’ in its own right can present its own set of challenges. Our schedules are so jam-packed, that finding time for simple relaxation on a regular basis can feel like a struggle. However, the good news is that mindfulness doesn’t need to take up much time. It can be as easy as dancing around your kitchen to a favourite song whilst cooking, devouring an uplifting book on the daily commute or even sitting on the side of the train that ensures you see the sunrise. Fitting mindfulness into your everyday life is much easier than you might think.
Are you able to steal ten minutes to yourself or identify a time when you likely to be completely undisturbed? If you can confidently answer yes to this question, then you are one of the lucky few. Switching off completely can be tricky, especially with constant access to our devices, social media and the demands of a busy life. Attention is a fundamental skill and improving your ability to disengage from distractions will help you to appreciate simple daily tasks and the results they achieve. When this is applied in the workplace, it enables people to regulate stress levels and other behaviours impacting professional performance.
If meditation isn’t your thing and colouring-in brings you out in hives, you might also think that mindfulness just isn’t your cup of tea. But it’s important to find the right solution for you, even if it’s just ten minutes to yourself, listening to the news in the morning or taking the scenic route into work for a change. There really is something for everyone, it’s just about finding it and fitting it into your daily life.
Be aware that there is no quick fix for mindfulness, and it takes time and patience to cultivate. Being present and mindful enables people to be more focused and productive, it is worth it in the end. It’s also easy to start, simply establish more opportunities for colleagues to check in with one another and share techniques that work for them.
Of course, the first stage to implementing anything new is to lead by example. Leaders that inspire their teams set the tone by getting out from under the work pile and encouraging their people to take regular breaks and schedule time between meetings. This allows time for people to collect their thoughts, re-focus and be more productive. Stopping micromanagement is the biggest change that needs to take place to become more mindful, this not only improves morale and well-being, but it also increases empowerment and reduces stress in the workplace.
Breathe HR recently published The Culture Economy Report, which states that: “work-related stress is the second greatest cause of occupational ill-health, representing 37% of all cases and 45% of working days lost. Recent data from the Office of National Statistics highlights that chronic work-related stress affects over half a million UK workers and leads to 12.5 million lost working days.”
In conclusion, the first step towards making any change is to be mindful of the people and environment your choices will impact. Mindfulness is a science-proven process for brain training that delivers positive and sustainable benefits.