Five Ways to Create a Corporate Culture of Mindfulness
Most business owners and HR professionals want to develop a positive corporate culture of mindfulness contributing to interconnected wellness. However, many company leaders find themselves struggling to implement effective mindfulness techniques in ever-changing workplace environments. Leadership disruption, workers stretched too thin, lack of clarity on corporate vision, and unrealistic goals and performance measurements are just a few of the many factors impeding effective mindfulness within a company's culture.
Increasing stress levels on the job can also make it challenging for HR specialists to foster an environment prioritizing mindfulness. Stress in the American workplace is not a new phenomenon. However, an ongoing global pandemic, constant economic uncertainty, and transitioning between onsite and remote work environments have amplified stress and anxiety levels for U.S. workers.
Recent statistics reveal current American stress levels are 20% higher than the global average. Additionally, 63% of workers feel ready to leave their employment to avoid job-related stress.
How HR and Leadership Can Prioritize Mindfulness for Employees
Creating a corporate culture of mindfulness is one of the most effective ways for HR departments to equip employees with the skills needed to positively and constructively navigate workplace stressors and constantly changing professional environments. Once considered a job "perk," mindfulness, or the practice of presence and intentionality, has become a powerful tool for leaders who prioritize their employee's interconnected wellness.
Mindfulness enables individuals to focus and become intensely aware of what they feel and sense in real-time, without the unnecessary pressure of interpretation or judgment. Effectively practicing mindfulness involves many tools, including breathing techniques, intentional imagery, journaling, daily planning, and other strategies to reduce stress levels and ease the mind.
Mindfulness Promotes Increased Employee Productivity, Creativity, and Performance
Organizations prioritizing mindfulness as a core component in their corporate culture recognize a mindset shift does more than affect choices, actions, and outcomes. When effectively implemented and supported, a workplace wellness program including mindfulness can improve staff members' cognitive, physical, emotional, and social health.
Additionally, increased mindfulness in employees can improve problem-solving, make employees more adaptable to change, and increase creativity, benefiting higher productivity levels and workplace wellness.
Practicing mindfulness at work can take many different forms, offering business owners many options and pathways. Some common examples of mindfulness in a professional setting may include:
Permit Short Breaks
Fostering a work environment encouraging short breaks throughout the day can quickly reinforce intentionality on the job. Allowing employees to take 10 minutes for guided breathing or meditation exercises can boost productivity, mood, and overall mental wellness as employees will be more focused and attentive.
Additionally, some HR leaders find when lunch breaks are strongly encouraged and supported, employees feel open to getting away from their desks and recovering mentally, emotionally, and spiritually — and employees agree. Statistics show 90% of North American workers feel taking a lunch break during the workday helps them regroup, refresh, and feel ready to keep going.
Designate Quiet Spaces
Some employees may struggle with breathing or meditation practices. However, giving staff members a designated quiet space in the building can offer them a place to rest and recover without ongoing distractions.
Research suggests quiet rooms may have a significant impact on a company's highest performers. An anonymous survey showed 58% of high-performing employees looked for private, quiet spaces for problem-solving, and 54% of these employees found their office space too distracting.
Multitasking can increase stress levels and derail creativity and output with workers. Research shows multitasking lowers productivity and creativity; and, only very few people can do it marginally well.
Changing workflows to enable staff members to focus on one task at a time can lower anxiety. Single-tasking can also drive productivity, with some data showing that focusing on one task through to completion increases output by up to 500% compared to multitasking. Overall quality rises as employees make fewer mistakes when singularly focused.
Grant Outside Time
Research shows walking increases creative thinking by 81%. Letting workers schedule "moving meetings," where they can get outside and walk, provides them a chance to stretch their legs and their imaginations to find new solutions to problems.
It's common for colleagues to focus on what isn't working or hasn't gone well at work. However, positive outcomes can often get overlooked. A report in the Harvard Business Review showed 37% of managers avoid giving workers positive feedback. However, gratitude in the workplace can make a significant difference in morale and turnover; other research indicates more than half of employees would stay longer at their company if they felt more appreciation from their supervisors and superiors.
Creating a culture focusing on gratitude and celebrating successes can help develop and sustain a more encouraging work environment promoting behavioral health. Stoking these feelings also increases the employee's relatedness with coworkers and the employer, potentially elevating overall motivation and retention with the company.
Pathways Helps Company Leaders Elevate Employee Health and Wellness
Pathways recognizes implementing effective employee health and wellness programs is challenging. We can help. The Pathways at Work program offers customized webinars, on-demand training, tools, and interactive platforms designed to help employees and managers optimize behavioral health benefits. Contact us today to learn more.