How Mindfulness is Changing Workspaces
High-responsibility activities, conflicts with colleagues, or a fast pace of work are some examples of what can cause stress in the workplace. For this reason, some companies have begun to think about what solutions can be introduced without reducing the productivity and well-being of workers.
Reducing anxiety, worries, and distractions at work is essential. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a healthy work environment as follows: “one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety, and well-being of workers and the sustainability of the workplace”.
Several studies have analyzed the way in which the practice of mindfulness can achieve significant changes in the workspace. However, how can it be implemented? Furthermore, what are the advantages it might have for a company?
Practicing mindfulness reduces sick leave
The main benefit of mindfulness is that it reduces sick leave. This is indicated by an article in La Vanguardia. It claims that well-known brands such as Google, Apple, Repsol, and LinkedIn have begun to introduce this practice in their workspaces. Furthermore, it’s reduced sick leave due to stress, anxiety, or depression by 78 percent.
In addition, there are many more benefits. For instance, mindfulness increases the self-confidence of workers. This means they’re more proactive. It also improves their levels of concentration and reduces distractions. In fact, workers become more agile and possess more mental clarity when carrying out creative work.
Clearly, these renowned companies are relying on mindfulness to improve the well-being of their workers. Therefore, perhaps it isn’t such a far-fetched idea that all organizations should start to implement it.
Workspaces that integrate mindfulness not only reduce downtime but also manage to both attract and retain talent.
Increasing productivity in workspaces
When mindfulness is introduced into workspaces, sick leave is reduced, and energy and productivity increase. However, for this to happen, the practice needs to be carried out frequently. Some strategies for its implementation would be:
- Practicing mindfulness before work. During the commute between home and work, workers should focus on their breathing and movements. They shouldn’t think about the work they have to do but focus on the present moment instead. Thus, they’ll avoid starting the day feeling stressed. This makes them more prepared to face their tasks.
- Taking advantage of breaks. At breaktimes, whether they go for coffee, for a walk in the fresh air, or stay sitting in their office chair, they should practice mindfulness. Focusing on the taste of the coffee or food (if it’s a lunch break) or going for a short walk will help release stress. Consequently, they’ll get through the workday with greater mental clarity.
- Attending group meetings. Companies can create group meetings in breaks or after work. In this way, workers can learn about mindfulness, share their experiences, and the kinds of changes they’re experiencing.
- Mindfulness after work. To avoid taking their worries home, workers can practice mindfulness just after their workday is over. In fact, they should carry out a kind of ritual in which, by concentrating on the present moment for three minutes, they then feel able to leave their post and not think about work again until they return the next day.
These are just some of the ways mindfulness can be integrated into workspaces. As we mentioned earlier, there are already several companies that have included it and have become prime examples of its success. In these workplaces, there are rest areas, soft music, and furniture that promotes relaxation. Even zafús (meditation cushions) are placed for those who wish to meditate.
Does your workplace practice mindfulness? Do you usually take advantage of work breaks to focus on the present moment? Today, there are many people who have made this practice a lifestyle. They use it wherever they go. In fact, they see it as an essential that reduces stress and improves their well-being, not only at work but in all areas of their life.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Álvarez Blesa, M. (2016). Mindfulness en las empresas: un estudio de caso en Google.
- Chacate, D., Elena, J., Linares Sabrera, Y. A., Ruiz López, K., & Suárez de Freitas Chávez, G. (2017). Beneficios en la aplicación de la técnica Mindfulness en un grupo de empresas privadas de la ciudad de Lima.
- Glomb, T. M., Duffy, M. K., Bono, J. E., & Yang, T. (2011). Mindfulness at work. Research in personnel and human resources management, 30(1), 115-157.
- Hilton, L. G., Marshall, N. J., Motala, A., Taylor, S. L., Miake-Lye, I. M., Baxi, S., … & Hempel, S. (2019). Mindfulness meditation for workplace wellness: An evidence map. Work, (Preprint), 1-14.