How to build mindfulness at work and why you should

How to build mindfulness at work and why you should

It is estimated we spend 90,000 hours of your lifetime at work. I shudder to think what this number will be in our new WFH normal as the COVID pandemic has turned “work life” balance entirely on its head.  

Where many of us use to drive or commute to the office, and once there we had a range of different social connections – this has all gone. Sure, we got zoom – but let’s face it, Zoom can never replace those ‘water cooler moments’ that are so vital for building friendships and relationships, sharing information and knowledge, and catching up on juicy work gossip. 

This new WFH mode has completely shifted the way we interact – and that’s affecting us – and not in a healthy way. HR UK reported that stress has skyrocketed by 200% since COVID. In our digital-age, we already had a big problem of never really switching off anyway, but Covid has blurred the lines of home and work life, 

like never before.     

This seismic shift in working life brings some significant issues, including : 

Isolation and less social connection 

Humans are essentially social creatures – how social we are of course, will depend on the individual. Some of us need more connections than others, but this lack of physical connection comes at a cost – people are feeling lonely, sad, and alone, and these emotions over time can lead to anxiety and depression.

More Work, Less Boundaries

When COVID hit, I have never been busier. From ‘pivoting’ absolutely everything whilst homeschooling – I was non-stop busy. The blur of work and home boundaries means we are potentially working even longer hours. Work mode could be at the kitchen table, the lounge room, the bedroom – and at any time of the workday or weekend. How do we switch off?

Because if we don’t switch off – what’s at risk is BURNOUT. 

We all agree it’s been a year of unbelievable change and upheaval – it’s been traumatic.  

But let’s not only focus on the negative, changing times also means an opportunity to create new, more positive behaviours for ourselves. And this also applies at a corporate and business level. Workplaces have an opportunity to do something. To put a stake in the ground and say – our staff and people matter.    

As this new normal continues, I sense that building into your workplace culture, mindfulness and a proactive mental wellness charter as part of your company’s values will become a duty of care. Not a nice to have, but a duty of care. 

And the rewards are there. Helping your staff switch off their minds means they recharge and refuel; no one can work relentlessly without falling over at some point. Putting into place a wellness charter that supports, educates, and helps your staff is a business safety measurement. It ensures your staff look after their mental wellness, which means they will have better cognitive performance.

It creates loyalty from your employees; and it means staff are happier, more engaged, and connected, and you are more likely to retain the right talent. 

So how do you build mindfulness into your workplace? Here are three tips to get your organisation (whatever the size) started – 

Start somewhere

The first step is to start – you may not have all the answers and strategy nutted out, but start somewhere. Not taking action is going to cost you, be proactive.

Ask your staff

Ask your staff what they want. Each organisation is unique; asking some simple questions, get feedback from your employees on what they would like. Involving your staff, you get buy-in and drive what they want, which means more engagement.

Make a Wellness Mission statement

Every business is based on its people. Make a statement to your employees that they matter. You might not have all the answers right away, but you are working on it.

To quote Jerry Maguire and his famous mission statement – “the key to business is personal relationships.” 

Bringing mindfulness and mental wellness programs into organisations sends the message that your people are valued.

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