Mindfulness is all the rage in the business world, with corporations bringing in famous teachers and creating regular courses to help their employees learn to let go of distractions and focus on simply being present. While this may seem like a simple fad at first glance, studies show that there may be something to it. For example, Aetna reported a savings of $2,000 in healthcare costs and an increase of $3,000 in productivity per employee since the company instituted mindfulness training. Here are some easy and accessible ways that can help implement mindfulness training in companies of any size.
Create a Conducive Environment
There are a wide variety of exercises available to help you center yourself and enter a more mindful state, but a popular — and easy exercise to do at the office — are meditation, breathing exercises and yoga. Allowing employees to take part in these may require you to relax some office restrictions. Consider clearing furniture out of a corner of the office or setting aside an empty office or break room for meditation and yoga space. Noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones may help your workers meditate more easily without being distracted by unavoidable office noises. You can encourage interested employees to use meditation apps, timers or other tools to remind themselves to take a few minutes to re-center every day.
Offer Formal Mindfulness Training
One of the problems employees have with using mindfulness training is simply not knowing where to start. Creating an office bookshelf with mindfulness-focused books and videos can be a good start, but offering a few formal workshops or classes can often be a great way to jump-start office involvement. Yoga teachers are often willing to travel to your office to teach beginners’ yoga classes or workshops, and many meditation teachers offer classes including mindfulness exercises for groups that you may be able to incorporate into your next team-building day. Try to offer a variety of classes, which can help engage even reluctant or skeptical employees.
Practice What You Preach
All the mindfulness classes in the world don’t help if you continue to encourage your employees to rush and stay busy at all times. Try to make sure you allow them the time to practice their meditation and use the exercise equipment you’re offering. You can let your employees see you practicing these techniques yourself to show your commitment. Even starting regular meetings with mindfulness exercises for groups can help your employees feel more comfortable with the practice. Consider empowering your team leaders to be better managers by making sure their employees have time to relax and de-stress, too.
Take Care of Body and Mind
Meditation and breathing exercises go a long way, but they can be difficult to accomplish if you’re physically uncomfortable. Consider making your workplace more comfortable for your employees. Ergonomic chairs or even simple lumbar cushions can help your employees relax and focus better at their desks. Some workplaces can even install massage chairs in the employee lounge. A selection of healthy snacks and fruit-infused or filtered water can encourage your workers to eat healthy and stay hydrated. Even simply allowing your employees room to get up, stretch, walk around and change work stations can help them refocus and become more focused on their work.
Although allowing your employees to spend time on mindfulness instead of work may seem counterproductive at first, it can allow your employees to work smarter and can help get more done overall. Incorporating a mindfulness program in your office can be as easy as teaching techniques, giving employees room to practice and creating an encouraging environment. If you’re wondering how to be a better boss and reduce employee stress, a simple mindfulness program is a good place to start.
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