The benefits of a mindful workplace…
By Kim Ahern, HR Partner
Do leaders within your business operate mindlessly or mindfully? When they’re frustrated or under pressure, do they react based on their emotions, or do they step back, pause and take a minute to respond appropriately? Do your leaders push to be heard when others disagree with them, or are they open to other perspectives?
Mindfulness is a hot topic right now, with more and more individuals and workplaces, such as Google and Twitter, jumping on the mindfulness train and reaping the benefits. Yet, even with comprehensive research supporting mindfulness programmes, many workplaces are yet to embrace the practice. Is it because it’s seen as ‘nice-have’ for companies who can afford it, or that some believe it’s linked to religion and is too spiritual? Are they nervous they will need to sit cross-legged and learn to levitate? So, what exactly is mindfulness and how can it benefit your workplace?
WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?
Mindfulness is about simply about being present – having present-centred attention and awareness – which means the individual is not dwelling on the past, or worrying about the future, they are simply fully concentrating on the here and now. It is a psychological process, not a religious one. Practicing mindfulness makes us more self-aware (a core skill in effective leadership), encouraging us to effectively self-manage and self-regulate our behaviour. With modern society constantly having us running around in ‘go’ mode, pressuring us to do more with less, self-regulation and self-management are often forgotten about which negatively impacts our decision-making, problem-solving, leadership skills and our ability to innovate. Using mindfulness, we are provided with the tools we need to operate in a manner more consistent with our values, and at a pace more appropriate to a healthy, successful outcome.
Workplace mindfulness is when an employee is being mindful in their work, taking in what is happening in the workplace but not reacting to it. The mindful employee approaches both their work and workplace relationships in a non-judgemental manner. This allows for greater empathy, well-being and enjoyment, which ultimately impacts employee performance. It also permits individuals to respond more appropriately to given situations, rather than acting on emotions.
THE BENEFITS OF PRACTISING MINDFULNESS
There are numerous studies supporting the benefits of mindfulness. Incorporating mindfulness into your company culture can provide you with numerous benefits, which include:
- Greater employee engagement
- Improved ability to focus
- Enhanced ability to manage stress and cope with change
- Improved productivity
- Decreased absenteeism and turnover
- Increased innovation and creativity
- Increased self-aware and enhance emotional intelligence
- Boosts to working memory
Mindfulness increases self-awareness, empathy, compassion, courage and resilience, all of which are essential leadership qualities. Leaders who have these qualities are better able to support a company through the changes and challenges businesses experience.
We all know leaders create and largely impact the company culture. Great leaders do their jobs well by inspiring others to perform their best and take responsibility, modelling the company values, and displaying empathy and compassion towards others. Using mindfulness, you can not only develop yourself as a leader, but those around you, having a greater consciousness of what is going on in the present which is vital for a good leader.
WANT TO INTRODUCE MINDFULNESS OR LEARN MORE?
As we’ve mentioned, introducing mindfulness at your workplace can provide you with numerous benefits, including decreasing stress, promoting productivity and positively impacting your company culture.
As well as our own Mindful Leader programme, we also offer a range of Ovio Mindfulness programmes as part of our offering at POD Consulting. You can read more about the programmes here.
THE MINDFUL LEADER WORKSHOP
Time: 9:00 am – 12:30 pm
POD Consulting, 24/2 Bishop Dunn Place, Botany South, Auckland 2013, Botany South Auckland