Mindfulness at Work

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A popular topic amongst employers at the moment is not only their employees’ health and wellbeing but also mindfulness at work as an increasing number of workforce’s are under strain with demanding jobs. Depression now affects one in five people at some time in their life.

Mindfulness is a hot topic that is quickly becoming a must-have in the office. In simple terms it means having awareness. Mindfulness can help employees to cope with stress and anxiety whilst improving their communication and resilience in the workplace.

The development and building of areas like empathy, emotional intelligence and self-regulation using mindfulness contributes greatly to a person’s ability to manage conflict and communicate more effectively. Mindfulness helps your employees to rationally take a step back from situations to look at the wider picture and consider their response rather than simply reacting. Over a longer period of time, successful mindfulness sessions can allow employees to be much more confident in dealing with stress allowing them to do so more comfortably and with ease.

The pressures of work are thought to be largely responsible for more than 30% of people suffering with back pain, 13% of headaches and 28% of stress in some form.

What is mindfulness?

Effective mindfulness allows for five minutes whenever required, or at least once a day, to sit quietly and focus on simply breathing, allowing the mind to clear and remain calm. It allows an individual to pay attention to the world around them, the situation and their reactions, and helps them choose the right path of response to deal with any challenges and complications facing them.

Many would compare it to meditation, and it has a long list of benefits for employers and employees alike. To begin with, without mindfulness, many organisations find they have more occasions of destructive behaviour when the stress employees are under has gotten too much and they find themselves losing control. That is not to mean that they lash out aggressively, instead they lose mental control and cannot complete tasks, or emotionally break down through frustration. Mindfulness helps them to rethink and feel healthier and less stressed.

As a short introduction, regular mindfulness can affect the mind and body in the following ways:

  • Improves memory processes, regulates emotions, improves learning
  • Improves attention, compassion and empathy
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Improves the immune system
  • Can see improvements in certain medical conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Sees an improvement in physiological decisions like anxiety, insomnia and eating disorders which will improve your employees’ health and wellbeing and improve your absenteeism levels

It is common knowledge that stress and mental health are on the rise, particularly in the workplace, forcing an employee’s work–life balance to suffer and ultimately costing employers more. Mindfulness is one way of turning this into greater productivity and lower absenteeism levels. Using regular mindfulness sessions can help employees feel more engaged with their work as their stress levels decrease. You might also find that you see increased job satisfaction and better working relationships.

Mindfulness provides people with the ability to cope with change and uncertainty, a problem commonly associated with stress and anxiety.

How to establish if your employees need mindfulness

  • Do they regularly fail to remember conversations?
  • Do they seem dazed and pay more attention to their mobile phone than real life around them?
  • Do they seem fearful of the future and dwell on past events?

How to introduce mindfulness into your workplace

  • Offer mindfulness as part of a training programme to all employees, or target it specifically at managers or those in a position of higher responsibility
  • Placing mindfulness into your corporate social responsibility plans
  • Offering mindfulness-based programmes with specific individual models around emotional intelligence, wellbeing and strategic thinking
  • Encourage participation as many employees view mindfulness as doing nothing rather than seeing the long-term benefits
  • Offer a quiet space in which employees can conduct their mindfulness sessions

Before implementing a mindfulness policy you must be aware that it is not a quick fix solution, you will need to allow your employees time and empathy to see the full affects. After all, when mindfulness can improve your employees’ motivation and engagement, as well as their health and wellbeing, it is a great solution to any absence management issues you might have.

Health Shield Health Cash Plans offer many great benefits for improving your employees’ health and wellbeing and with our specific mywellness section, we can offer your employees access to counselling and support helplines and many more tools to actively support them in their work and home life.