The Role of Mindfulness in the Workplace
Why we should be Present and Mindful
“Mindfulness is awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally.” Jon Kabat-Zinn
If you are present and mindful you can listen actively, not be distracted by other thoughts or worries, focus more easily and be more productive, practice acceptance and non-judgement so you can work well in a team. If you practice mindfulness and can see the bigger picture, goals, aims and how to achieve them, have improved problem solving and create efficient, effective and respectful business relationships, then you can do well in a management style role or self-employment. Regardless of the type of business, mindfulness can benefit employers and employees alike.
A person who is present and mindful will portray confidence, calmness, an ability to listen but also to clearly communicate what they want to say, engage their conversation partner in a positive way, hold firm to their business roles, beliefs or business values without aggression, judgement or insecurity, be organised, unflappable and clear headed. These are positive attributes whether it is a manager, director, sales role, customer service or administrative role.
The Benefits of Mindfulness in the Workplace
As humans, we naturally tend to constantly judge and criticise ourselves and others. This can lead to self-doubt, a feeling of not being good enough, anger and frustration and can produce a negative or burdened feeling. These emotions and self-doubt thoughts, easily leak into our work lives and can affect our performance and ability in the workplace.
In a sales role, a person who is present, calm, quietly assertive, communicates clearly and warmly, engages and listens to the customer so they can respond appropriately and positively and stays focused on their task, is more likely to make a sale in comparison to a sales person who has a moment of doubt or insecurity. This can lead to inattention or aggression in their sales pitch, a lack of enthusiasm or conviction in the product or service and if they are worried about issues not connected to the current task, the client can feel the lack of interest or distraction. It can be highly offensive and frustrating when you are talking to someone about making a purchase from them, and they seem bored, distracted, unenthusiastic or join in other people’s conversations. If they are not giving you their full attention and making you feel valued as a customer it does not encourage you to buy from them or reflect well on the company itself.
A manager or team worker practicing mindfulness will be able to ‘see’ their staff or colleagues clearly and know how to bring out the best in each individual, reduce conflict and negative emotion within the team, not get caught up in ‘office politics’ or get caught in their own story or drama but remain calm and positive. They can inspire, innovate, create and encourage problem-solving skills and ideas in themselves and others. They can also bring a team together by helping to reduce judgement by team members of other team members, create a calm, confident, efficient feeling within the team and workplace through their own practice of mindfulness and encouraging others to join in with it.
A study by Maurice Lorr Ph.D., Douglas McNair Ph.D., J.W Heuchett from the University of Pennsylvania’s Centre for Mindfulness showed that after an eight-week mindfulness course there was a marked reduction in anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue and an increase in vigour¹.
According to the Centre of Excellence Online, the benefits of mindfulness in the workplace have been recorded to include:
- Stress reduction (can also contribute to immune system enhancement)
- Increased clarity of mind, balance, energy, zest for life
- Improved complex problem-solving abilities
- Enhanced leadership
- More emotional intelligence, less reactive energy and thoughts
- Mood regulation and balance
- Increased self-awareness and awareness of others
- Attentive listening
- Clear communication
- Improved focus
This is why mindfulness training is gaining popularity in the workplace to help provide a more harmonious, peaceful, powerful, cohesive environment for employers and employees.
¹Maurice Lorr Ph.D., Douglas McNair Ph.D., J.W Heuchett from the University of Pennsylvania’s Centre for Mindfulness cited by Centre of Excellence Online Mindfulness Course.