15 Tips for Being Mindful in the Workplace
From taking breaks to walk and get fresh air to being an active listener, here are 15 answers to the question, “What are your best tips for leaders on practicing mindfulness in the workplace?”
- Take a Meditative Walk Alone
- Stay Stress-free
- Lead by Example
- Champion Self-care
- Make It a Part of Your Schedule
- Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance and Show Empathy
- Be Open to Input from Others
- Normalize Mindfulness
- Live in the Moment
- Remind Your Team They’re Not Machines
- Pause Two Minutes Every Two Hours
- Prioritize Quiet Time
- Try the Headspace App
- Start Small and Be Consistent
- Practice Active Listening With Respect
Take a Meditative Walk Alone
Staying inside an office all day is stultifying to the mind and soul, but stepping outside for a walk—even a short one—can reconnect you with the real world; it grounds and resets you.
On your walk, pay attention to the air, temperature, and sunlight on your face. You’ll find that any issues you’re dealing with inside the office matter much less outside. In fact, once you remove yourself from your workspace, solutions may present themselves that wouldn’t have occurred to you if you had stayed attached to your desk, obsessing over finding an answer.
There’s nothing quite like stress to make a person less mindful. The workplace, in particular, can be stressful for teams and their leaders. Keeping stress levels low will help team leaders remain mindful at work. They shouldn’t just do this for themselves, either. A stressed leader can pass the stress on to their team, and vice versa.
Keep lines of communication open and discuss any issue that may detract from the working environment. Leaders will have to take it upon themselves to take the steps to keep stress down and mindfulness up for themselves and their teams. While it may take an effort, this will put leaders in a position to help manage mindfulness not just for themselves but for the entire office.
Lead by Example
By setting an example of mindfulness in your own behavior, you can inspire your team members to adopt and practice mindfulness in their own work.
This could involve taking regular breaks throughout the day for mindful breathing or meditation, encouraging team members to disconnect and recharge during off-hours, or engaging in active listening and other mindful communication practices during meetings and interactions with colleagues.
Additionally, leaders can create a supportive work culture that prioritizes employee well-being, offers resources for stress management and healthcare, and fosters a sense of community and connection in the workplace. Overall, leading by example and creating a culture of mindfulness are key strategies for promoting mindfulness in the workplace and supporting the overall well-being and productivity of your team.
As a leader, your mentality can easily trickle down the ladder and affect the performance of your entire office. Be mindful of your own mental state.
When a leader lacks focus, they may struggle with decisive decision-making and problem-solving, among other necessary skills. Your team relies on these abilities in order to stay efficient and productive.
If you struggle to stay focused and mindful, then it’s in your best interest to help get back in the right headspace. Remember, a leader’s performance directly affects those they work with. Prioritizing your well-being will have a positive effect on everyone you work with.
Make It a Part of Your Schedule
My advice is to set aside time for it because I believe it comes with discipline—you need to make every day for mindfulness practice, otherwise, it’s impossible to reap the benefits.
Even just sparing 10 minutes from your busy routine and focusing on mindfulness meditation can help reduce stress and increase focus. When you do it regularly, it will become a habit and a consistent part of your daily routine.
Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance and Show Empathy
During my career, I have found it very important and inspiring when business leaders actively promote work-life balance for their employees.
As the parent of a child with special needs, I appreciate the people around me at work who are mindful of my situation. Their empathy goes a long way in helping me remain productive while also allowing me to take care of my son. The best thing any leader can do is show that they care about their employees and back it up with actual policies that promote a healthy work-life balance.
Be Open to Input from Others
Be open-minded about implementing others’ ideas. Under a mindful approach to business, leaders consider what others in their workplace have to say. This exposes them to more trains of thought, which can help them make better, more informed decisions.
If you lead from a closed-off mindset, you may miss out on creative solutions to problems or other crucial insights from your team. Creating an environment where there is a regular line of communication between management and their employees will help establish a more mindful leadership style.
When leaders create a culture of mindfulness, it becomes “normal” practice. Team members don’t feel weird or guilty taking time for themselves because their superiors do the same thing.
If mindfulness is widely recognized in your company to become better people and employees, people will follow suit.
Live in the Moment
Mindfulness is inward and outward awareness of yourself. When you practice mindfulness, you can be a better version of yourself. But how do you practice mindfulness effectively for better productivity? You should live in the moment. If you are working, just focus on work and don’t indulge in gossip. If you can’t escape from gossip or other talks in the office, listen to them because now you can’t focus on work.
The concept is simple. Whatever you are doing, be honest with it. Whether it is talking or working, your productivity gets reduced when you think about work while gossiping and think about gossiping while working. Take one work in hand at a time, because this improves efficiency.
Single-tasking improves performance. Although you have many tasks to complete, if you are living in the moment, you can focus on one task at a time and finish it fast. By living in the moment, you can easily practice mindfulness. You will also not regret not being present mentally and physically.
Remind Your Team They’re Not Machines
Leaders should avoid viewing the workplace as a machine. While the analogy often seems apt, with each worker being a cog in the wheel of the business, this sort of thinking can work against mindfulness.
Your workplace is an active environment, different every day even when it looks the same, as are the people who work there. Stay sharp and keep your thinking dynamic so that you’ll be ready if or when something outside the norm happens. Human responses are needed in a human-centric workplace. Don’t forget the humanity of your workplace.
Pause Two Minutes Every Two Hours
My best tip for practicing mindfulness in the workplace is to take a 2-minute break every two hours to ask if I’m focusing on what matters now or if I’m anxious about the future or past.
This practice has helped me prioritize and engage in work that helps move my company forward rather than speculate on unknowns. Moreover, it has also helped me improve my engagement with my team members and be more collaborative, hence creating a tight-knit, family-like workplace.
Prioritize Quiet Time
It’s crucial to prioritize quiet time for mindfulness in the workplace. By taking brief breaks throughout the day to disconnect from technology and noise, leaders can better focus their thoughts and emotions. This can result in increased creativity and problem-solving abilities.
Encouraging employees to take these quiet breaks can also reduce stress and help to create a more positive and productive work environment. Additionally, scheduling structured mindfulness activities, such as meditation sessions or yoga classes, can provide additional benefits for both leaders and team members.
Try the Headspace App
Headspace for Work is a SaaS tool we’ve implemented at my company. It provides science-based mental health support as guided meditations, mindfulness exercises, and a sleep app.
Over 2,000 top organizations are using Headspace to help care for their workforce’s mental health. I think employers today should remember that mental and emotional needs are just as important as taking care of our physical bodies.
Start Small and Be Consistent
My best tip for leaders on practicing mindfulness in the workplace is to start small and be consistent. Mindfulness is a practice that requires ongoing effort and commitment, and it is important to approach it in a way that is sustainable and manageable.
Setting lofty goals in a short period might bring confusion and make things even worse.
Practice Active Listening With Respect
One way leaders can foster a mindful culture is through “mindful listening,” which involves actively engaging with employees when communicating. Just as important as speaking clearly and concisely is being receptive to other people’s thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Leaders should dedicate time to listen without judgment or immediate response.
When an employee speaks, pause for a few seconds between their sentence and your response—this will not only show respect but also give your brain time to process what was said so you can respond thoughtfully. Mindful listening will create space for understanding and help employees feel heard in the workplace.
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