Originally published in BSA Society Matters magazine.
By Benenden Health
The practice of mindfulness is becoming more and more popular, with many famous athletes, actors and CEOs endorsing it. But what exactly is it, and how can it help your business?
Put simply, mindfulness means being aware, paying attention to what you’re doing and why and avoiding being too reactive.
These acts of mindfulness aren’t just useful in our personal lives, but they are also incredibly beneficial in the workplace too, both for the employee and the wider business.
Mindfulness can help your employees to:
- manage unhelpful thoughts
- develop more useful responses to difficult events
- be kinder to oneself
- feel calmer
- better manage stress
- work better in a team
- improve leadership skills
Encouraging employees to look after their wellbeing also shows that your company cares about them, which in turn can make them feel happier and more engaged at work.
And, people who are happy at work tend to enjoy life more, have stronger relationships and enjoy a greater sense of purpose.
If you’re interested in helping your employees be more mindful, here are a few ways you can promote the practice in your workplace:
1. Make a business case
For mindfulness to be adopted, it needs senior management buy-in. This typically involves building a business case and addressing concerns specific to your industry and company.
Use the business case to highlight how bringing mindfulness into your health and wellbeing strategy will solve or improve issues such as high stress levels or high rates of mental health related absence.
2. Educate employees
Many employees remain in the dark about the advantages of mindfulness. To help them reap the benefits, you’ll need to educate them.
Bringing them along on the journey to show how mindfulness can help them cope and perform in the workplace will benefit the rest of their life as well. You may like to facilitate this through a meeting where you can introduce employees to the relevant research and proven benefits and outline the ways in which you could help them approach mindfulness.
3. Provide formal mindfulness training
There are several mindfulness training sessions available, ranging from half-day courses to sessions over an eight-week period.
Many training companies will work with organisation to develop a course that fits its individual needs and budget.
Benenden Health provided 30-minute lunch-and-learn sessions to introduce the practice to our employees. These were also useful for the HR & OD team to gauge initial interest and feedback.
4. Promote mindfulness within the workplace
Reinforce formal training with complementary workplace practices. These can be tailored to fit the specific needs of your business, but some ideas include:
- banning phones from meetings
- offering free meditation apps
- encouraging taking regular breaks away from computer screens
- offering a safe, quiet space for people to go and be mindful
- weekly or monthly meditation sessions
However, you approach it, encouraging mindfulness at work is a step in the right direction for the wellbeing of your workplace.
By helping employees gain the tools to manage their wellbeing you’ll help them to perform better in their role.
To learn more about to support employee wellbeing download Benenden’s mental health report.