Mindfulness in the workplace refers to maintaining a present state of mind, and being aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. In the current fast-paced work environment, mindfulness ensures employees stay focused on the task at hand amidst internal and external stimuli eventually achieving the required productivity and efficiency. Mindfulness plays an important role in reducing stress by promoting a sense of calm, resulting in a positive impact on individual and collective mental health.
Self-care goes hand in hand with mindfulness, it means intentional actions that an individual takes to boost mental, physical, and emotional well-being. It has traditionally been reserved for outside work hours but we can all agree that work is invariably intertwined with our life routines. Self-care in the workplace looks different, it involves having boundaries, catching onto signs of stress, and prioritizing your own mental health.
To have a satisfying and beneficial experience with self-care and mindfulness, employees are encouraged to practice tips including but not limited to;
- Being consciously present while handling a task, for instance, if you’re preparing a report give it your full attention.
- Indulge in short mindful exercises during your work day, this may look something like a minute off work activity to take deep silent breaths.
- Be a ‘single-tasker’ – monotasking is a reminder to focus on one task at a time, multitasking is much more likely to degrade our performance on each of the tasks at hand.
- Slowing down to speed up – the mindful way of working is to decelerate for a short while and reflect, thereafter get back to a project fully rejuvenated which results to more productivity and efficiency.
- Make stress your friend – Sounds ridiculous right? Viewing a problem that causes stress as a positive challenge improves productivity and achievement at work.
- Organizing and setting limits on tasks handled per day.
- Utilizing one’s breaks to engage in an enjoyable activity such as taking a walk.
- Including items on the workstation that evoke joy, could be a small family portrait or motivational quote.
- Set defined boundaries such as turning off emails during the weekend and taking sick leave to prioritize physical health.
- Constantly hydrating and having healthy lunch.
How can employers support self-care and mindfulness in the workplace?
- Offer mindfulness coaching – A coach can help employees develop coping skills to better handle daily challenges and regulate emotions.
- Support employee breaks – Getting some time to recharge is fundamental in preventing burnout, therefore, improving productivity. Employers need to create clear leave policies that truly support clocking out of staff to relax.
- Design an ergonomically friendly workplace – This is a work environment with adequate lighting and offers options for a variety of working postures where employees thrive and are more comfortable.
- Recognize accomplishments – Intrinsic and/or extrinsic rewards not only encourages employees but also make them feel valued. Such small gestures make a difference in employee retention, morale, and motivation.
- Foster good habits – Encourage employees to log off and shut down to promote work-life balance, discourage eating lunch at the computer and practice what you preach. Set an example by living your own self-care rules!
It is important to integrate self-care and mindfulness in both our professional and personal lives to maintain positive mental health.