Why we need Mindfulness in the workplace and how to make it stick

Why we need Mindfulness in the workplace and how to make it stick

Mindfulness is the buzz word at the moment in organisations and mindfulness training courses are becoming the norm. Companies are finding its reducing stress, absenteeism, improving peoples sleep, making people more fulfilled in work and life, developing better leaders and generating greater revenue.

Why are companies investing?

[1]In Australia, a report from the Australian Psychological Society indicates that 1 in 4 workers suffered moderate to severe distress in the last year alone.

[2]According to Safe Work Australia, mental illness is now the main reason Australian workers take extended sick leave.

[3]Research has shown for every $1 spent in a wellbeing program, organisations get $2.3 return on investment.

What is mindfulness at work?

For employees its really about being in the moment, without judgment, and being in the flow at work. Its not being caught up in the past, future or reactivity to what a boss or colleague may have said. It’s about focusing your energy on the task at hand and developing coping strategies to not feel so overwhelmed. More than ever, organisations need to train their people to be fully present not just for productivity but for their wellbeing.

So, how do great leaders embrace mindfulness and make the cultural change stick?

Mindfulness is a "must-have": a way to keep our brains healthy, to support self-regulation and effective decision-making, and to protect ourselves from toxic stress.

Harvard Business Review 2015

Here are some ways to encourage mindfulness being adopted in your organisation:

  1. Change happens from the top down. Therefore if the leaders are coached and believe in it - the cultural change will stay.
  2. Offer courses in Mindfulness within executive development courses.
  3. Offer courses in Mindfulness to managers and all levels of employees.
  4. Champion ‘Mindfulness ambassadors’ after the 8 week program to keep up the practice and communication channels.
  5. Introduce Mindfulness refresher programs.
  6. Be sensitive to the workplace culture. If the employees don’t respond to the buzz word ‘Mindfulness’ call it ‘Attention training’.
  7. Encourage a safe environment. The space where the training occurs has to feel safe and calm.
  8.  Create a room where employees can be comfortable meditating or an outside garden area. Pay more than lip service to a ‘Mindfulness at work program’. Design an area where your people can feel comfortable doing mindful breathing or can meditate.
  9. Encourage a culture of gratitude and compassion.

Why 8 weeks?

The Mindfulness program unfolds over an 8 week period to develop and embed the practice. Mindfulness involves a change in habit of mind and body and the 8 weeks allows for new neurological changes to stick. Our experience is that practice is most effectively developed when there is an ongoing personal relationship with a teacher who really knows their stuff. Mindfulness is everywhere these days and there are lots of promises of a quick fix. We encourage you to do your research, to find out what best meets your needs and goals for your organisation.

Chelsea Pottenger is the Director of EQ consulting co

If you or your organisation are interested in an 8 week Mindfulness program and want to invest in your peoples psychological wellbeing contact us at chelsea@eqconsultingco.com

 For mindful habits you can follow us on Instagram @eqconsultingco

[1] Australian Psychology Society

[2] Safe Work Australia Survey 2011

[3] PwC research 2016