Our employees and team members at work are often busy and issues such as mindfulness in the workplace get ignored. Providing a positive and mindful work environment though can have multiple benefits both for staff as for managers and business owners! Let’s look at these benefits and then 12 very quick and easy mindfulness exercises and techniques that even the busiest of you can use whilst at work.
Why You Will Benefit From Helping Your Team and Employees Be Mindful
Whilst the idea of simply working harder might at first seem perhaps to be the best way to increase productivity, less, in fact, is sometimes more.
Indeed, to really benefit as a manager, HR department, or business owner, making sure that your staff are happy, relaxed, and focused, WILL create a working environment when they achieve more and become more productive.
In other words, if you provide lessons on basic mindfulness techniques for the workplace, you have a great chance to increase productivity.
Furthermore, for those of you familiar with staff onboarding, you will appreciate that the cost of re-hiring staff and the cost of training them is a significant busy expense that can be greatly reduced by creating a positive workplace.
The good news is that introducing some basic and easy-to-use mindfulness techniques can greatly aid this positive working environment. Below I list 12 simple techniques that you can teach the employees and also use yourself!
By the way, if you are already convinced of the need to provide this type of training to employees, then here are two links to check out the training materials you can download right now and customize for your company.
- Introduction to Mindfulness training course materials (1 Day Course)
- Mindfulness for Busy People & Busy Employees training materials (2 hours)
1. Active Listening in the Workplace
Make a point to really listen to somebody and give them your undivided attention. This means not checking your emails or your phone and focusing on the person.
Make eye contact and maintain open body language.
Also, do not assume you know what they are going to say before they have finished saying it, and do not think about what answer you are going to give them while they are still speaking.
Just focus on what they are saying and try to take it in, in a non-judgmental way.
2. Body Scan Mindfulness Technique
You can do a short version of a full-body scan at any moment.
Just move your attention through your body, from head to toe, and focus on any sensations such as tension, warmth, tingling, or relaxation.
3. Mindful Appreciation
Think about the things in your life that normally go unnoticed and you take for granted but that make your life better.
They can be small things, such as the heater near your desk, your ears that allow you to hear the birds sing, or the postman who delivers your mail. To make it easier, you can decide to list just 5 things every time you do this exercise.
4. Mindful Breathing at Your Desk
This is an exercise you can do anytime lying down, standing up, or sitting down for one minute. Alternatively, instead of timing one minute, you could count ten breaths, if it is easier for you.
All you have to do is to focus on your breath. Inhale slowly through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth or nose. As you do so, focus on the sensations in your body.
These can be the air coming in and out of your nostrils, or the air going through your windpipe, or your chest and belly moving as you breathe. Put your hands on your belly and chest if you cannot feel anything.
As you inhale, feel your body taking in positive energy and, as you exhale, relax through your breath.
5. Mindful Eating Whilst at Work
This involves eating slowly, really savoring your food, and chewing thoroughly. Too often we are in a hurry and end up eating at our desks, hardly noticing what we eat.
Instead, try and take a proper lunch break away from your desk and enjoy your food. Mindful eating can help you avoid overeating and it can improve digestion.
6. Mindful Focus
This entails leaving multitasking behind. Multitasking leads to errors and it is stressful as it reduces your ability to focus. As a result, multitasking leads to actually getting less done rather than more.
So, leave any distractions behind and focus on one task at a time. Concentrate on what you are doing in the moment.
7. Mindful Immersion
This consists of focusing completely on the task at hand in the moment and it is slightly different from mindful focus. Mindful focus means focusing on one thing at a time, while mindful immersion means to really experience what you are doing to the full.
Instead of rushing and trying to get something over with as quickly as possible, concentrate on noticing and possibly enjoying every moment of it.
For example, if you are washing the dishes, focus on how the warm water feels on your hands, on the noise made by the running water, on the smell of the soap, on the consistency of the foam.
Another example of mindful immersion can be looking outside of the window as you are working in front of the computer for a few seconds, and focusing on what you see. This is good to give your eyes and your mind a break and to refocus.
You can be creative with mindful immersion and discover new experiences within a familiar routine task. The idea is to be content in the moment, no matter what you are doing.
8. Mindful Listening
The aim of this practice is to listen to sounds without judgment or preconceptions.
Find a piece of music you have never heard before or something you heard but never really paid attention to. It does not matter if it is to your liking or not, as the aim is not to judge.
It is better if you can listen through headphones and with your eyes closed.
Now, try to listen to every sound. Isolate the different instruments; isolate the vocals if there are any, and any other details in the music.
Remember to ignore the artist or the genre, be completely neutral and just listen to the sounds objectively.
Explore every aspect of the track and just hear the sounds rather than thinking about what you are hearing.
9. Mindful Moving, Walking or Running During Work Breaks
When you move, walk, or run, try to concentrate on the feeling of your body moving. It can be, for example, the air on your skin, the feeling of your feet against the ground and the different textures that the ground can have, the smells around you, or the sounds you can hear.
10. Mindful Observation
Observe a natural object as though you see it for the first time. It can be the moon, an insect, a flower, a stone, or any other natural object.
Notice its details and marvel at its place in the natural order of things. Visually explore every aspect of it.
This exercise is good to reconnect you with nature and helping you relax.
11. Mindful Stretching at Work
Take the time, every now and again, to stretch for a few seconds.
Get up from your chair and stretch, so you can appreciate how your body feels.
Alternatively, you can stretch as you wait for something such as in a queue or for the kettle to boil.
It is better to do this exercise standing up, rather than seated if you are working for a long time at a desk, as it gives you a reason to stand up.
12. Notice and Be Mindful of These 5 Things
This is an exercise that you can easily do at any time during the day, especially if you feel you are getting caught in your thoughts.
Pause for a few seconds and take 5 deep and slow breaths, noticing the air as it goes through your body. Now, look around and notice 5 things you can see.
Then, pay attention to 5 things you can hear and then 5 things you can feel in contact with your body (for example, your back against the chair, the clothes on your skin, the air on your face, your feet against the ground and the watch on your wrist). Finish by taking 5 more slow and deliberate breaths.
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