Do you think your business could survive without the health and wellbeing of your people?
I am a strong believer that healthy people are productive people. I can talk about this personally and I know a lot of people agree, that without your health you are very limited. I know what it is like to work in a busy senior role being pulled in all directions, not only does this wear you down, it drains your energy and leads to exhaustion. Add family and personal commitments to this equation and it is clear to see that we are stretching ourselves too much. Life is stressful, so how do we manage this at both the individual and commercial level? And how do you ensure that 'stress' does't damage your business.
In today’s society, health and wellbeing includes; physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. We are all working harder than ever and stress is common in the workplace. The focus on increased productivity, higher performance, longer working hours and expectations around personal availability, means we are placing ourselves and our businesses at risk if we are not managing wellbeing in its entirety.
Could mindfulness at work be the answer? If so, how do you embrace it in your business?
Increased mindfulness can help in the fight against stress at work. Mindfulness has helped me manage stress better, it has increased my awareness, made me more productive, more resilient, have greater clarity and focus and decision making ability. It has also empowered me to look after myself and my needs which assists my own stress management. Basically it has given me the tools to support my own wellbeing. Yes, I still get stressed, I still get angry and I still get upset, but I manage it better and I get over it faster so I move on rather than staying stressed.
The potential of mindfulness at work is vast, it means that you can have a team of individuals who can manage themselves and be resilient to stress. Mindfulness is a practice of the ‘self’ and therefore, having employees helping themselves, will in turn help your business be healthy and sustainable.
Below are a few practical ways that you can introduce mindfulness into your business or team:
- Bring mindfulness to the forefront in your health and wellbeing strategy. Create a mindfulness program in your business, this could be; regular meditation and yoga classes or create a quiet space at work. In my corporate classes, I attract 20-30 people for yoga classes and 10-20 people per meditation classes.
- Set up an information session on mindfulness so that your people can be educated on the benefits of mindfulness and meditation. Earlier this year I was working with another yoga teacher and ran a ‘mindfulness and meditation’ information session within financial services, over 80 people attended (out of an office of 800), so people are genuinely interested.
- Introduce mindfulness through wellbeing forums, blogs or company newsletters to keep the communication channel to employees open on this topic. Start a online wellbeing portal so employees can access information or see class schedules.
- Run pilot classes (yoga and meditation) in your business to see the appetite for mindfulness practices. You will get different people attending meditation to yoga, so if you offer both you are meeting the wellbeing of a range of people. The great thing about running meditation classes is they are short (30 minutes), people don’t need to get changed and the feedback from people is that it makes them more productive in the afternoons.
- Utilise internal programs to promote wellbeing such as; graduate programs, leadership development programs, induction and team building workshops. These are all good places to educate your team on mindful tools and techniques that they can use everyday to minimise stress and enhance their wellbeing.
How to get results from mindfulness programs at work?
- Make your program inclusive, make it open and invite everyone. However also make it optional and not compulsory, not everyone is interested, but as an business you can make it available to your people. People are curious about mindfulness and the impact that it will have on their wellbeing.
- Set up a structured communications and marketing plan to run the information sessions and class schedule. Include emails, flyers, promote through corporate newsletters and regular communication channels.
- Run your programs in 4-6 week blocks. I like to run meditation and yoga classes in 4-6 week cycles, which also allows for you to monitor your program and keep improving your program and adjust according to other business priorities / activities.
- Facilitate mindfulness through your Workplace Health and Safety Team, communications team and if you have yoga teachers working in your business leverage their skills to support the organisations wellbeing. Utilise internal capability as much as possible.
- Make mindfulness programs a benefit to your people. Make it part of your employer brand and how you assist your people in looking after themselves as well as giving them the support to deliver superior performance.
You are managing humans at work and humans needs to look after their wellbeing. The intensity of work is causing health concerns physically, emotionally, mentally and psychologically and is a big risk to individuals and businesses going forward. It’s a good time to ask yourself, are you equipped to manage the wellbeing of your people?
For further information or to speak to me about mindfulness at work contact firstname.lastname@example.org.