Five reasons to transform to a ‘mindful’ office culture

Article3min26 June 2018By Amy Cooper

It’s amazing how meditation can lift your mood. Equally amazing is how easy it is for employers to encourage this and other calming practices in the workplace.

 

Pressure from heavy workloads, personal dynamics, constant change and uncertainty: they’ve all taken their toll on Australia’s workers. Statistics point to epidemic levels of stress in our workplaces, and now businesses are working to find ways to combat the problem.

The answer is simple. For creating a calmer workforce, you can’t find better tools than meditation and mindfulness. They’re both proven, powerful stress-busters, and there is good science behind these stress-beating benefits.

"A contented, harmonious team means lower staff turnover, fully engaged employees and – most important of all – an enviable culture will help attract and keep the best talent on the market."

Here are the top five reasons why you should have a program that embraces these practices in your workplace.

1. Your team will keep calm and carry on

Companies have experienced resoundingly positive results through mindfulness and meditation. Studies by neurologists have shown that the amygdala, our brain’s fight or flight centre, reduces in size after meditation, allaying fear and anxiety. The calming effect remains, and becomes more significant with regular practice.

In addition, meditation and mindfulness can improve sleep, reduce anxiety and sharpen memory. They can also help reduce conflict in the workplace, and equip staff with skills that make it easier for employees and managers to resolve issues.

2. Improved emotional intelligence

Meditation and mindfulness brings you in tune with your emotions and those of others. The increased emotional intelligence feels positive and empowering, leading to smoother employee dynamics and even a better connection with customers.

3. Stronger leaders

For managers and leaders, meditation and mindfulness fosters more control of emotions and thoughts and helps build the mental resilience to handle day-to-day issues in the workplace more easily. Equipped with these skills, managers can put their best foot forward and lead from the front.

4. Dazzling decision making

Meditation and mindfulness helps achieve clarity of thought, enabling smart decision making, particularly on those strategic issues that have a far-reaching impact. Research shows that due to the brain’s neuroplasticity (ability to adapt), regular practice of meditation and mindfulness really does make us smarter, by increasing the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain where we consolidate information and learning.

5. An effective, organised team

People who meditate find that their short term memory is improved, due to meditation’s positive effect on activity in the brain’s frontal lobe, the area controlling short term, functional memory and focus. This beneficial effect keeps attention from wavering and focuses your mind on the details of the day. For a workplace team, this means effective implementation of daily tasks and systems, leading to enhanced performance.

 

Transforming to a mindful office culture

 

Get your own blissed-out office

Many businesses, both large and small, are already realising the benefits of meditation and mindfulness programs in the workplace. The best news is that it’s not difficult to implement. An unused office could be allocated as a quiet space, or managers might lead their team members in taking 20 minutes at lunchtime to practise in a park or outdoor area with plenty of fresh air and sunshine.

The research is clear – employees who have time and space to meditate or practise mindfulness are happier. These practices allow people to find clarity, a sense of purpose, meaning and contentment in their lives, as well as helping to deal with inevitable stresses in the workplace.

A contented, harmonious team means lower staff turnover, fully engaged employees and – most important of all – an enviable culture will help attract and keep the best talent on the market.

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