5 Strategies for Leaders and Employees to Practice Mindfulness at Work

November 8, 2021

Practicing mindfulness means focusing your attention to stay present in the current moment, which is a big ask in a culture built for multitasking. Spending our days in front of a screen designed to pull our attention in different directions increases our stress levels and eventually causes burnout. In fact, many of us are so busy trying to multitask, we have forgotten how to single-task.

By learning to practice mindfulness at work, we can recenter, refocus, and enjoy happier and more productive days. Here are five easy ways to start:

 

1.   Set yourself up to stay present.

Minimizing distractions is the first step toward mindfulness. Give yourself the gift of uninterrupted periods of focus throughout the workday and be intentional about how you structure your time.

For example, choose one single task to complete, set a timer, and turn off push notifications. If possible, let your colleagues know that you will be unavailable for that period of time. Don’t check your emails or start a new project until the timer goes off, or you finish the task at hand.

 2.   When you’re stressed, just S.T.O.P.  

During those especially frustrating moments, it’s a good idea to S.T.O.P.

Stop. Put work on pause and give yourself a minute

Take a deep breath. Take the deepest breath you have taken all day.

Observe. Look at the situation as objectively as possible and notice how you feel, good or bad.

Proceed. You just successfully practiced mindfulness and hopefully you feel a little better. Return to what you were doing with a restored sense of calm.

3.   Make meetings mindful.

Employers and managers who want to encourage mindfulness in the office can set guidelines to keep everyone present during meetings. When employees are looking at their phones or laptops, they’re not really listening, despite their best intentions.

By instituting a policy to refrain from using phones and computers during meetings, that time becomes more purposeful, productive, and the speaker always feels heard. During virtual collaboration, leaders should keep meetings short and focused while encouraging employees to minimize other distractions

4.   Remember to breathe.

A few minutes of mindful breathing is an excellent reset when you feel stress accumulating or you simply can’t focus. You don’t need an elaborate meditation routine to breathe mindfully, just a quiet place and a little time. Sit up straight and close your eyes. Breathe in slowly but comfortably, counting to five in your mind. When your lungs are full, hold in that breath for a moment before releasing slowly, breathing out for five seconds. Repeat.

5.   Try mindfulness training.

Researchers at Duke University analyzed what happened when 10,000 Aetna employees participated in mindfulness or yoga classes that the company offered. The employees who participated reported experiencing 28% less stress, 19% less pain, and getting 20% better sleep. Managers were thrilled to discover that employees also became more efficient, logging an additional 62 minutes of productivity each week.

Incorporating mindfulness at work shouldn’t be intimidating. Like any habit worth forming, it just takes practice.

© Zeamo 2020