Ever noticed how when you get back to work after a few weeks away you seem to have so much more energy, patience and drive? Our ability to tackle new projects and face tasks head on is greatly improved when we’re relaxed, happy and organised. This state of mind is something newly termed mindfulness in business circles and mindfulness in the office is a phrase hot on everyone’s lips right now.
Everyone from Google to the NHS are taking an interest in this popular subject and according to ad agency JWT, mindfulness in the office is this year’s biggest workplace trend. Why? Because business owners and managers finally realise that happy staff equals a more productive workplace and in turn more profitable business. Is it time you changed the culture of your enterprise?
What’s the real cost of stress at work?
At a recent Mindfulness Summit in London, several guest speakers talked about ways to adopt the principles of mindfulness in the office. They claim the average cost to the UK economy is around £6.5 bn due to staff with stress related illness with up to 2.5 hrs lost to distraction every single day. That’s an incredible figure given the simplicity of mindfulness and how businesses can easily put it into practice.
We’ve had a session on mindfulness and the feedback’s been really encouraging. Somewhat counter-intuitively I would say that it really energises the team. We also bring in a hypnotherapist regularly and I think that also helps the team to get a sense of perspective and peace which again allows them to be more productive’
Simon La Fosse, CEO @ La Fosse Associates
So what are the basics of Mindfulness?
Well it might all sound a bit happy clappy but the principles are really quite simple. Loosely based on Buddhist ideas to encourage us to be more aware, mindfulness encourages us to live in the moment. The idea is that in being more aware about what we are doing at work we can manage ourselves, our relationships and workload to become much more productive. In turn, the experts say we become more compassionate leaders, make more progress in our careers and achieve a general sense of happiness and job satisfaction which flows into our private lives as well.
Mindfulness is a very confusing word for many people, including me at first. I related it to spirituality and immediately turned off. What got me over my initial skepticism was the neuroscience supporting its benefits and the idea that we as humans are at the top of the evolutionary pyramid in almost every way, except when it comes to stress. It’s like our brains have a software bug in them — called anxiety. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Mindfulness is a proven way of fixing that bug through training our awareness and attention through a daily practice of meditation and trying to be present in our work, conversations and all the little moments of life.
– Malcolm Scovil, Co-Founder of Calmworks
Find yourself communicating less and less efficiently at work? An interesting article written by Fleur Britten Business on my Mind explores the idea that in being more mindful you work better with other people too. Here’s an excerpt,
When the fashion retailer Lyst launched a weekly mindfulness programme for its 75 techie employees in Hoxton Square, the aim was to reduce stress and boost productivity — ultimately, to gain a competitive edge. The surprise result however was team bonding.
Dr Tamara Russell was one of the guest speakers on mindfulness at the recent London conference above and through her therapy to help individuals and businesses maximise on their performance to improve mental and physical wellbeing. The physical strain can be equally as challenging as that on the brain when we are under stress with many debilitating effects. Symptoms of stress can be varied including palpitations, headaches as well as anxiety and depression. Combine these with the inability to focus properly, finish a task or communicate effectively with others at work and you have serious knock on effects to the running of a business. This is why converted business leaders are encouraging more of us think differently about the way we work.
Adapting well to fast-changing conditions is key for entrepreneurs, and increasingly for everyone as change happens faster and faster…“Mindfulness should no longer be considered a “nice-to-have” for executives. It’s a “must-have”: a way to keep our brains healthy”.
–Nic Brisbourne, Managing Partner at Forward Partners
Am I mindful enough?
The Guardian wrote a great article on mindfulness, which suggested that if you relate to any of the following 5 things then you could possibly benefit from mindfulness:
• Are you unable to remember what others have said during conversations?
• Do you have no recollection of your daily commute?
• Do you eat at your desk without tasting your food?
• Are you paying more attention to your iPhone than to your nearest and dearest?
• Are you dwelling on past events or dreading what the future holds?
If you’d like to learn more about how you can implement mindfulness into your life, here’s a few ways to begin being more mindful in five steps.