Taking time out of your workday to meditate may seem to contradict your performance goals. After all, any minute you spend clearing your mind is one you could have spent working, right? The desire to toil away is understandable, especially when you have objectives and key results outlining your steps to success. However, a growing body of research shows that taking time out of your day to focus and encouraging your staff to do the same helps your company work more efficiently and effectively.
In one massive study, researchers from nine different colleges, including Harvard Medical School, Case Western Reserve University and Virginia Commonwealth University, surveyed over 4,000 published papers detailing the benefits of mindfulness. They found the concept improved almost every area of an employee's work life, including behavior, safety, teamwork, leadership, conflict management and quality of work.
"When you are mindful, you can have a greater consciousness in the present," said Christopher Lyddy, one of the study's authors, according to a press release. "That's vital for any executive or manager, who, at any given moment, may be barraged with various problems that call for decisions under stress."
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Promoting Mindfulness at Work
A mindful workforce doesn't spring forth, fully formed. The University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School detailed several ways you can promote mindfulness in the office:
- Set time for morning meditation: You don't have to implement a strict policy, but you should encourage your staff to take 15 to 20 minutes every morning to sit and notice the sensations in their body. This forces them to focus on the present moment rather than what happened that morning or what will happen that night.
- Provide guidance: Don't just tell employees to be mindful and leave it at that. Many of your staff will have no idea what you mean and continue working in the same manner as before. Schedule optional mindfulness workshops or lead a guided session once a week.
- Recognize their work: Have your staff reflect on the accomplishments of their day before they leave the office, whether they had a major success or work was business as usual. You can reinforce this exercise by acknowledging such accomplishments yourself.
- Review mindfulness during your check ins: This forces your staff to reflect on their practice and consider whether mindfulness works for them.