Creating a Mindful Workplace

Mindfulness. Everyone is talking about it from Google to Apple. It’s a critical skill required to navigate the corporate world. But how, exactly, do you create a mindful workplace?

Mindfulness programmes have been embraced by an ever expanding list of companies:

Google

Proctor and Gamble

Aetna

McKinsey and Co

Deutsche Bank

Honda

And for good reason. The practice of mindfulness has been linked to a whole host of health benefits from stress reduction, increased resilience, improved focused and the enhancement of emotional intelligence, to name a few. If you’re wondering how to create a mindful workplace, look no further. Here are our

Top 5 Hacks.

1. Set an intention: Setting an intention to be more mindful sounds obvious, but once you’ve done that, you have a direction. Setting an intention will galvanise your commitment and provide a platform for you to examine your systems, procedures and culture. Your intention could be to reduce stress, to create a mindful workplace or provide your people with the tools to focus. Whatever your goal, setting an intention will help you to reach it.

2. Model mindful behaviour: If you’re heading up an organisation or leading a team recognise that your own behaviours will filter into the rest of the organisation by osmosis. If you’re emailing into the early hours so will your staff. If you’re working late every night, they will too. Don’t make stress a badge of honour, it’s the quickest way to burnout and disillusionment. Happy, healthy people equal high performance workplaces. Miserable, tired and stressed people create, yup, you guessed it, not a great place to work. Instead, send the message to your people that it’s ok to make time for themselves, safeguarding their wellbeing. Take breaks, encourage your team to do the same, listen to others and don’t work late every day of the week with a ‘Y’ in it. Being mindful about what you model will pay dividends.

3. Curb attention deficit culture: Many organisations have unintentionally created an culture of attention deficit. Constant interruptions create distraction, disconnect and the inability to move into flow, or optimum performance. We know from research into the impact of technology on performance that the constant bombardment from devices creates overwhelm and fatigue. There needs to be a balance to prevent technology from decreasing our attention span. In our work with CEOs, professional, leaders and senior executives, introducing the mindful use of technology has produced significant results.

Undertake an cultural attention deficit audit. Where you can, consider switching off notifications, having device free meetings, creating a quiet space where high focus tasks can be worked on without constant interruption or the interfering buzz of an open plan office. Look for opportunities to root out unnecessary distraction, promoting distraction free spaces so that your people are free to focus.

4. Communicate with compassion: When we’re stressed we know that the first thing to go out of the window is self regulation. Put more simply, we have less patience. Compassion isn’t about being ‘nice’ to everyone or taking the soft option. Sometimes it can mean delivering a tough message or having a difficult conversation. It’s the ‘how’ that’s important. When communicating with others, pause and ask yourself;

What is my intention for this conversation?

Is this helpful?

Is this kind?

Is this true?

Is this the best way to get my point across?

Will this help to achieve the best outcome for everyone?

An organisation that communicates mindfully is more cohesive, more collaborative and able to manage the curve balls of corporate life more efectively.

5. Consider how you reward as an organisation: Think about the kinds of behaviours that your organisation rewards. Do you have systems in place for recognising accomplishments? Do you penalise failure or embrace it as a key factor in resilience building and black box thinking? Identify mindful behaviours that you want to establish and consider how you can augment these with public and private praise. When you achieve a mindful win, make sure that you broadcast it.

Gill Crossland-Thackray is a business psychologist, lecturer, trainer and coach. She is Director of Koru Development and Co-Director of Positive Change Guru. She is a contributing writer at Thrive Global and has written about psychology for a number of global publications including The Guardian, HR Zone and Ultra Sport. She is also visiting professor at CHE University, Phnom Penh.

Through Koru and Positive Change Guru she works internationally with CEOs, senior executives, businesses and individuals to optimise leadership, performance and wellbeing. If you’ve enjoyed this post please consider clicking on the heart. You can contact Gill at gill@positivechangeguru.com To find out more follow her at @KoruDevelopment and @PosChangeGuru