Listless employees, poor performance, and stressful workplace environment are not new to any manager. We can resolve this if we adopt mindfulness which can work wonders in developing employee well-being, motivation and productivity.
When mindfulness is integrated into an organisation, challenges to boost team motivation enough to achieve business goals becomes history. Issues of leadership, fast paced work environment and low morale which often hinder productivity are tackled without much resistance.
Adopting mindfulness programmes at work has proven beneficial to employees as well as develop a healthy workplace.
What is mindfulness?
When jargons become mainstream, different people tend to have different perception of the same word. Mindfulness is one of them. To clarify, and for the sake of this article, mindfulness according to The Foundation of Mindful Society is defined as:
“Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
To put the definition in perspective, let’s break it down and understand how mindfulness programmes can be beneficial in a workplace environment.
Developing awareness with mindfulness programmes at work
Foremost in any problem solving situation is becoming aware of the problem.
In modern organisations, when team members work in isolation, in cubicles, they are bound to become unaware of their surroundings. That is why, we see social groups form to bind those with similar interest, intentions and motivations. However, those who are disinclined to follow such social groups remain isolated.
What the management can do is adopt mindfulness at the workplace. Integrating mindfulness helps unify all groups and nudge them towards an understanding of their purpose in the organisation– whether they be social interaction, goals, productivity or personal development. When they understand their goals, teams take steps to improve their outlook on life and work.
Decrease stress level
According to The American Institute of Stress 76 percent of Americans money and work, apart from personal problems, as the leading causes of stress. As a result, 77 percent of them experience physical while 73 percent experience psychological effects of stress which may eventually lead to chronic medical problems.
For human resource (HR) managers and executives, stress may seem like a trivial problem, and part of the job, but if not tackled can result in high absenteeism, sick leaves and resignations, thereby undermine productivity. What can HR executives do in such a scenario? Yes, you guessed it – introduce mindfulness programmes.
One of the best things about mindfulness is that it teaches individuals to be less reactive, and cultivate different techniques of mental and physical exercises. Through simple physical activities like walking, moving, standing and sports, they can channel stress. Similarly, taking time out to practice meditation like yoga and Tai Chi can help soothe the nerves.
The main point though, is that we are aware of and are mindful of stress reduction, which inevitably lead to improved performance.
Speaking of performance, for any business venture to survive it needs a productive workforce. When human resource is not performing to its optimal level, then it compromises productivity. That’s when mindfulness becomes the saviour.
Mindfulness when introduced effectively into the workplace not only helps improve performance but also increase productivity. When employees are free of stress, they will be able to absorb new information, understand their positive roles in the organisation and find motivation to perform better to meet their goals.
Since their minds are clearer without stress clogging them, they become better at problem-solving solutions and generate more creative ideas on the job.
Develop emotional intelligence
That leads us to our next benefit-emotional intelligence. Mindfulness helps improve emotional intelligence (EI). While EI is a whole different topic, it’s worth touching upon in the context of mindfulness.
When employees experience clarity and compassion; able to make fair judgment; and respond positively to workplace experiences, they’re emotionally balanced. There are many benefits associated with this status quo, to the organisation, including improved management, leadership, employee relationship, and stronger work culture.
Team members are more confident of their roles and work value. On the other spectrum, organisational leaders who meditate and have EI, like managers, executives and CEOs, are likely to boost team motivation to increase performance and not breathe down their neck with orders.
Enhance mental sharpness
Another benefit of mindfulness related to emotional intelligence is that it enhances creativity, mental sharpness and improves focus. When team members meditate they are able to isolate their productive and positive thoughts from the distractions and chaos which are characteristics of modern office environment.
They become, according to this Spark article, stable, efficient and have control over their work surrounding.
Even if there are loads of work, deadlines to meet, and emails to responds to, employees are likely to remain calm and focus on their end goals. Achieving this status of mental stability also make them effective in their decision making s well as happier on their jobs.
Companies regularly spend millions of dollars on medical allowances for employee healthcare when all they have to do is bring in mindfulness regimen. Mindfulness when treated as an intervention can help boost resilience, energy and lessen stress among employees, according to a study.
Mindfulness is a regimen that encourages employees to take regular breaks in the middle of a stressful day. Whether it is for a physical exercise or for a meditation session, it’s their choice. When management encourages this practice, employees are bound to find a healthy way to elevate their physical and well-being, after all we are all selfish in this regard.
It doesn’t cost much to the company to add a meditation room, or add a gym facility, when the alternative is thousands of dollars of medical care.
When employees are mindful and become more aware of their workplace community, they are likely to show empathy and compassion towards others. This is because when we find value and connection with others, we become more open to their ideas, direction, and most importantly suggestions on how to do things more productively.
What’s more, when management engages with employees, their channels of communication are open wider to include forms of interactions, other than in the official capacity. Discussing problems at home or challenges on the job are no longer taboos. Team members feel comfortable to talk to managers and together find solutions to their problems.
Eventually, what the management needs to aim for is have mindfulness at work to develop a motivated team spirit. There is nothing more satisfying than see a team full of energy, enthusiasm and ready to work towards the same goals as those of the organisation.
After all, when investment in resources work at optimal level, then returns on investment improves too, without much cost. To have a healthy, productive and focussed workforce is the dream of every management. To have a sustainable workforce to back us in our endeavour to achieve more goals, innovation and progress is mission worth pursuing for long term growth.
What’s more, mindfulness doesn’t have a running cost. Instead, it offers management the opportunity to maintain a stronger bond with employees that far outreach the bounds of the workplace. It helps opens channels of communication and understand each other’s needs.
That’s the power of mindfulness at work.
Jeanne Smolt is a freelance writer and digital marketer for Motivation Matter and Yo Fit Mamas. She has a passion for writing on diverse topics including business, technology, fitness, and digital marketing.