Why Be Mindful at Work?

More often than not, do you go through the work day running from one meeting to the next, spend hours fielding constant email, your phone dings or rings nonstop, you barely stop to eat, and at the end of the day feel like you’ve gotten nothing accomplished? Do you feel like you are on autopilot most of the day?

A hectic pace is the norm for many people, so finding methods to stay focused is essential. Enter mindfulness.

So what exactly is mindfulness? In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Practicing mindfulness offers a way to pay attention to the present moment, without thinking about the future or what happened in the past. It is a moment-to-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. It’s a state of being attuned to what’s going on in your body and in the surrounding environment.

Learning to be more mindful in the workplace can help reduce your overall stress levels, increase resilience and emotional intelligence, increase your present moment awareness, and even improve the quality of the interactions you have with coworkers. In practice, mindfulness can do wonders to enhance your productivity and happiness in the workplace. A recent article included in ADP’s SPARK newsletter lists the three major benefits of mindfulness in the workplace as: 1. Better Emotional Intelligence, 2. Improved Focus and Productivity and, 3. Enhanced Creativity.

Today, employees are being asked to do more with less, working long hours with increasingly heavy workloads. Leading mindfulness academic, Mark Williams, professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oxford, says working in a culture where stress is a badge of honor is counterproductive. “We can spend so much time rushing from one task to another. We may think we’re working more efficiently, but as far as the brain is concerned, we are working against the grain. No wonder we get exhausted.”

Although many of the benefits of mindfulness affect individuals in all areas of their lives, including work, mindfulness’ impact on job performance, as noted in this article from Positive Psychology Program, are definitely worth talking about. They include:

  • Reduced Work-Related Stress and Psychological Distress – employees who took part in a brief mindfulness intervention reported decreased stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue, and negative affect, while also experiencing greater satisfaction at work.
  • Decreased Turnover and Burnout

Other research and studies completed over the years show the benefits of being mindful at work also include:

  • Enhanced decision making
  • Effective communication
  • Stronger teams and leaders
  • Superior creativity
  • Improved engagement
  • Confidence around change
  • Greater resilience
  • Positive well-being

Happy, motivated people can create immense value for the companies they work for. And people can be more successful and fulfilled in the workplace if they can feel more resilient, remain objective, be responsive rather than reactive, show compassion to themselves and others as well as build trust with their colleagues and other stakeholders. Mindfulness can be such a helpful tool to enable people to build these resources.

In this age of constant distractions and long hours, it’s difficult to find even a few minutes of time to reflect. Yet finding that time and space can help ease the stresses of your demanding working life.

Mindfulness is a very effective tool to help you thrive in all areas of your life. It can help give you the power to live your life to its full potential. When you look back over the last few weeks and months, what defining moments can you actually remember? Mindfulness allows for a small shift in your thinking that can have a major effect on your life … to enable you to focus, to choose where you place your attention, and to realize you have the option to make wiser choices in every moment.