Mindfulness in the Workplace – It Starts With YOU.
“Mastering others is strength. Mastering Yourself is true power” -Lao Tzu
The American Institute of Stress reports that approximately 80% of workers feel stressed out on the job. In high stress work environments, a reported 29 percent of employees have yelled at a coworker, and two percent have actually hit a coworker. These unhealthy symptoms of stressful workplace situations across the nation in addition to associated high medical premiums, health related sick days, turnover, and attrition, show the real cost of stress in the workplace.
Mindfulness seems to be a buzzword today in the world of wellness. But what exactly is it, and why is it gaining so much attention?
The core issue is that we are stimulated by many things throughout the day, many of which feel like they need our immediate attention. Between our list of to-do’s, incessant emails, projects, and personal needs, life and work can often feel overwhelming. We all want to be productive and feel in control, but can easily become stressed and overwhelmed if we do not have to tools to be able to manage and cope with both internal and external stressors. This is where mindfulness can help.
While mindfulness has its roots in Buddhism and can sound intimidating or “woo-woo”, it is actually a tangible skill that can be developed for the benefit of anyone who practices it. Put simply, mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in any given moment, calmly acknowledging one’s own thoughts and feelings without judging them.
In other words, being mindful means being present, moment to moment. Paying attention. Focusing your mind on the task at hand and nothing else. It involves noticing when your mind begins to wander, then bringing it back to the object of focus. You learn to become a witness as well as a participant. This skill is incredibly powerful when cultivated, and like with any skill, it takes practice.
Still Not Sold?
United Healthcare recently reported that nearly 90 percent of employees experienced reduced levels of stress and overall positive effects on their health and wellness after learning meditation or mindfulness skills. In general, employees who incorporate mindfulness into their work-day and lives report experiencing reduced levels of stress and an increase in their overall sense of well-being. Because the practice of mindfulness is a “use-anywhere tool” that can be used to cope with both personal and professional challenges, employees are able to better process and manage their emotions in a healthy way.
But more than basic stress management, mindfulness is also proven to improve quality of sleep as well as impact the way work is done. Not only does it help increase focus, concentration, creativity, and productivity, but it can also improve the level of enjoyment workers get out of, well, doing work.
When individual employees experience these benefits, the overall company benefits. Companies who deploy and support mindfulness within a wellness program are reaping tangible ROI with significant insurance discounts resulting from employees’ improved health risk assessments. Aetna reports that wellness programs who implement some sort of mindfulness component see a savings of approximately $2,000 per employee in healthcare costs and gain nearly $3,000 in productivity per employee.
But wellness and mindfulness programming doesn’t just happen. In addition to company sponsored wellness and mindfulness components, company’s need to have a top down approach to including these methods and solutions into the workplace culture.
At NAKOAWELL, we believe that leading an organization begins with leading the self. In order to be a good leader, you have to live it. Because when leaders understand themselves, they can better understand others. And when leaders know how to take better care of themselves, they can lead those around them in taking better care of themselves, as well. Our tools, solutions, and dedicated service teams empower you to implement mindfulness both on and off the job.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of wisdom.” ~ Aristotle
Success in work and in life are often deterred because we get in our own way. We default to behaviors that lead to stress, avoidance, anxiety, fear, distraction, etc. Mindfulness is, quite possibly, the single greatest tools you can have to assist you in witnessing your thoughts, emotions and actions, and empowering you to have the freedom to make choices that set up both individual and business success
The greatest investment a business can make is in the empowerment of employees with the tools they need to better succeed in work, life, and wellness.
Here are a few things companies can do to help employees manage their stress and integrate mindfulness:
Assess Business Culture Factors
Perhaps the best way to reduce stress at the workplace is to take a long hard look at the factors that might be causing stress in the workplace such as pressure to always be connected, unreasonable expectations, or lack of opportunities for advancement.
Don’t assume that no feedback is good feedback. Often, all employees need is to feel like their concerns are being heard. But because employees are often uncomfortable voicing their frustrations for fear of jeopardizing their job security, wellness coordinators and HR leadership need to make a point of keenly observing workplace culture, liaising with management to advocate for the emotional and physical well-being of employees.
Provide Mindfulness Training
One to three one-hour training sessions per year can be all it takes to deliver valuable mindfulness tools to your employees. NAKOAWELL offers a suite of mindfulness, mediation, and cognitive behavior change training.
Watch our Mindfulness Training Overview Webinar, presented by Trey McCalla (CMPC®)
Besides the obvious health benefits, some doctors refer to it as a “wonder drug.” Exercise cultivates awareness and mindfulness of both the body and mind, so employees build emotional intelligence, focus, and stamina. Employees don’t need to run a four-minute mile to benefit from exercise. A regular brisk walk will do.
Any form of exercise is better than none, but outdoor exercise can be especially effective at reducing stress. Try organizing company picnics, coordinating a weekend hike, or taking a wellness “field trip” to a zoo or parks. Whether not permitting? Host a local conservationists, trail guide, or zoo staff for a noon seminar on the importance of getting outdoors and enjoying nature.
Get Management On Board
Wellness has to start at the top. Wellness teams must work with management to communicate the benefits of supporting and encouraging management activities. When managers lead by example and promote workers taking “mini-breaks” to breathe deep every so often, employees are more productive, focused, and energized when they return to the task at hand. Some offices even outfit certain areas in the workplace as “meditation zones,” complete with floor cushions, calming music, and relaxing décor.
Offer Wellness Coaching
Creating lasting changes and developing healthy habits can be difficult on our own. A Wellness Coach can help your employees set goals for stress-reducing habits like exercise and meditation and stick to them. NAKOAWELL offers your employees and their family members free unlimited coaching. After all, life is always less stressful when you know someone is in your corner.
While stress is an unavoidable part of most people’s lives, having the tools employees need in order to manage their stress the more productive, resilient, and happy your workplace can become.
Our experts at NAKOAWELL can work with your company’s unique needs and build a behavioral and mindfulness program that opens the floodgates to your company’s and human capital’s full potential.
Our cognitive behavioral program and mindfulness techniques can help organizations build a culture of collaboration, cohesion, innovation, and productivity. In addition to general mindfulness, meditation, and stress relief trainings, we can also target business soft skill areas such as (but not limited to):
- Emotional Regulation
- Assessing Biases
- Energy Management
- Focus and Concentration
- Pre-performance Routines
- Team Cohesion
- Statement of Purpose/Vision
- Character/Personal Strengths
- Thinking Process and Patterns
- Misinterpretations in Thinking
- Effective Communication
- Connection & Relationship Building
- Optimism and Gratitude
- Problem Solving
- Receptivity and Feedback
Learn more about how NAKOAWELL’s custom wellness programming solutions can bring more mindfulness, productivity, and joy to your workplace. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author