As we celebrate International Happiness at Work Week 2021, Real Business are encouraging you and your workforce to be happy. Spiritual leader and mindfulness expert, Arika Trimnell gives her take on what you should be doing to be more mindful in the workplace, and how you should encourage your team to be doing them same.
In today’s world filled with uncertainty and chaos, some of our only escapes and places of refuge are our homes and workplace. While we often have complete control over our home environment, having this same type of control at work is not usually the case. Since most of us have very limited control at work, it’s essential that leaders advocate for the types of changes employees need to be successful, happy, and productive.
As a leader, part of our responsibility is to leverage our power and highlight issues or potential issues that others might not be privy to. It’s safe to say we’re all in agreement that health and wellbeing are at the forefront of our priorities both at work and at home. Our immune system plays a vital role in keeping us well, as its primary purpose is to prevent or limit infection. Things that weaken our natural defence system are stress, lack of sleep, anxiety, low levels of Vitamin D, a poor diet, and lack of exercise. All of which can be attributed to our work environments. As leaders, we are aware of the countless hours our teams spend at work, so why not make it part of the solution and no longer a contributor to their state of health.
Mindfulness is more than just another fad; it has growing scientific evidence in its ability to not only boost the immune system but combat a lot of factors that weaken our immune system. Mindfulness isn’t something we should just expect our team members to do when they wake up at the crack of dawn or at the end of a long workday. Mindfulness can and should be integrated into our work lives. All it takes is intention and time to get there. By encouraging wellness practices at work like mindfulness activities, it will help improve the company and team culture, increase productivity, and improve employee wellness. If you’re wondering, what can you do at work as a leader to encourage mindfulness, see below my top tips on how this can be achieved.
How Mindful Leaders Can Encourage Mindfulness at Work:
- The best way to encourage and support mindfulness at work is through embodiment. Don’t be afraid to show or talk about what mindfulness practices you engage in. This will promote an open dialogue and create a space and culture more accepting of mindfulness in the workplace.
- Outside meetings. Hosting a meeting outside or encouragement your team to take a meeting walking outside helps them be more attuned to their bodies while getting sufficient vitamin D for their immune system.
- Encourage team members to schedule in time between meetings or appointments to ground down, taking time to slow down, silence their minds and adequately prepare for the next activity. This will help alleviate any stress or anxiety so they can shine in their next activity.
- Wellness Breaks. Taking a wellness break to meditate, ground, attune with nature is another excellent way to combat the impact of work stress and promote wellness. Encourage your team to take a break away from their desk so they can completely shut off to recharge.
- Time Blocking. Create hours dedicated to specific activities to eliminate the stress of doing too many tasks at once. For example, dedicate certain times to answering emails, admin tasks, or conducting meetings. This creates structure and allows the mind to focus on one thing at a time. Encourage your team to plan as much of their day as possible to help create boundaries and improve productivity.
- Wellness Team Meeting. A great way to encourage mindfulness at work is to conduct mindfulness activities like breathing or body scan exercises at the beginning or end of each team meeting. Participating in mindfulness together creates a stronger sense of community and bond amongst the team. This is also a great way to prepare people for an intense meeting or help them decompress afterward.
- Gratitude Greeting. As a leader, you can greet your team with one thing that makes you grateful for them or ask what they are grateful for. Expressing gratitude consistently helps us feel more positive emotions, improves our health, and makes us better equipped to deal with adversity.
Mindfulness, as defined in the Oxford dictionary, is the mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Mindfulness is a natural process that can be more present in our lives with dedicated practice. We all know the workplace can be a fast-paced, hectic, and stressful environment, but it doesn’t have to be. As a mindful leader, there are countless ways to incorporate and encourage mindfulness with your teams. I implore you to have fun in exploring the many ways of implementing mindfulness at work.