Holistic Services Group is Commonwealth Bank’s provider of choice for Mindfulness workshops (as of 2018).
Did you know that about one-third of working Australians identify work as a source of stress in their lives? While this is certainly unfortunate, it also shouldn’t come as much surprise, considering today’s ever-evolving, extremely competitive economy.
As a solution, many business are adopting meditation and mindfulness training and programs. This encourages employees to take a timeout from their day, refocus their thoughts, and increase their overall well being and productivity in the workplace.
But can mindfulness really improve work performance and productivity?
According to a lot of people — yes, it can. Many people believe that practicing mindfulness can benefit not just you as an employee, but your entire work culture as well.
If you’re sold on the idea of mindfulness already and want to bring the benefits to your office, check out our corporate mindfulness training services. Otherwise, learn about how mindfulness helps your company below.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a quick look at what mindfulness is…
What is mindfulness?
In essence, mindfulness is being completely aware of one’s thoughts, emotions, environment, and surroundings in the present moment. It is a type of mind-body training that uses meditation, breathing, yoga, and other techniques to help focus thoughts and feelings as they arise. By engaging in mindfulness training and exercises, people are better able to manage their negative thoughts and experiences in a more constructive way, rather than letting themselves become overwhelmed or crippled by them.
According to a Forbes article, “When you are mindful…You become keenly aware of yourself and your surroundings, but you simply observe these things as they are. You are aware of your own thoughts and feelings, but you do not react to them in the way that you would if you were on ‘autopilot.’ By not labeling or judging the events and circumstances taking place around you, you are freed from your normal tendency to react to them.”
Benefits of mindfulness
When practiced regularly, mindfulness can have a great number of benefits on the mind, body, and soul. Here are some of the most commonly reported benefits:
- Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
- Increased resilience
- Peace of mind
- Improved attention, focus, concentration, and memory
- Higher staff morale
- Reduced absenteeism and turnover rates
- Better decision-making abilities
- Increased creativity
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased emotional intelligence
- Increased capacity to manage emotions
- More empathy and compassion
- Healthier relationships with others
- Better listening skills
- Better leadership skills
- Mental clarity
- Better decision-making skills
Let’s take a look at just one of these benefits – increased attention – and how it can benefit not only the employee, but the entire work culture:
If an employee can learn to harness and improve the quality of his or her own attention, obviously his or her work performance will improve.
But consider this: Attention is one of the most essential resources of any organization’s foundation.
So if one person improves the quality of his or her attention, it is sure to have a ripple effect on other co-workers and employers. Pretty soon, the entire workforce is benefiting from one person’s increased attention levels.
Source: About Meditation
Mindfulness training techniques
Mindfulness meditation is one of the most commonly utilized ways to encourage mindfulness and wellbeing in the workplace. Mostly because it’s such a simple, inexpensive method that can be done anywhere at anytime.
By concentrating on your breathing, you are able to train your mind. Rather than resisting your mind’s natural urge to wander to other places (errands, relationship issues, etc.), simply focus on bringing your attention back to your breath — train it to return to the present. By becoming aware of how your body feels, you are able to center yourself in the present moment.
Just like lifting weights builds the muscles of your body, meditation builds the muscles of your mind.
Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is another commonly used mindfulness technique. Established by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s to help patients suffering from chronic pain, this method is somewhat different and more detailed than basic mindfulness meditation. Currently, MBSR involves practicing meditation, yoga, and mindfulness during various stressful situations and social interactions.
When practiced as a mindfulness class, MBSR is performed in a group setting with 10-40 participants. Typically, the class lasts for about 8-10 weeks, with 2.5-hour weekly sessions. In addition to weekly sessions, the program includes one full-day session, as well as daily 45-minute homework assignments.
Other Mindfulness Exercises
Mindfulness meditation and MBSR are not the only ways to practice mindfulness. There is actually a wide array of more informal activities you can take advantage of as well. Here are some simple techniques to start incorporating into your work day:
- Take at least five minutes every day to do absolutely nothing
- Get in touch with your senses – take note of the temperature of your skin and really listen to the sounds around you
- Pay attention to your walking – slow your pace and feel the ground against your feet with each step
- Refrain from opening your email until about 30 minutes into your work day.
Article: A Guide To Mindfulness At Work
Mindfulness in the workplace
Now that you know what mindfulness is, the benefits of it, and the different ways to practice it, let’s take a look at how some of the world’s largest companies, including American Express and Google, are incorporating it into their workplaces.
Google is introducing its workers to stress reduction and mindfulness through meditation, yoga, and the like. Google’s Sydney office opened a meditation room in August of 2015 in response to many workers who had previously been using the library for meditation. The company holds yoga classes in its conference room as well!
Many other well-known companies have implemented mindfulness programs for their employees into the workplace, including:
- Rolls Royce
- General Mills
- Procter & Gamble
Hubspot, for example, is big on meditation at their Cambridge, MA office. One of the senior consultants there, Steve, is a seasoned meditator and now offers a volunteer meditation group for other HubSpot employees. His reason for doing this volunteer work? — So that everybody else can feel what it’s like to be carefree!
“When you start your day with 20 minutes of stillness, focus, and relaxation, you realize that whatever you may have been worried about that day is small potatoes. In business, we’re often dealing with problems of one kind or another; meditation helps reset the way we look at them and spot new solutions,” explains Steve.
How can HSG help?
HSG provides mindfulness training to teach your staff new skills, tools, and techniques for stress management, resiliency, and wellbeing. We run trainings in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Canberra, Hobart, Newcastle, Geelong, Wollongong and other regional areas, that can all be delivered as a series of mindfulness classes, or as a one-off workshop.
Sessions can include:
- How to effectively manage stress with relaxation techniques
- How to deal with negative thoughts and emotions
- Yoga Nidra – one of the deepest states of relaxation, powerful in its rejuvenation qualities
- Optimal posture and light stretches
- Discussion about attitude/positivity/awareness and the connection between body and mind
- Discussion about obstacles to meditation
- Recent research findings
- Different ways to relax
- Simple, practical breathing exercises
- How to integrate meditation and relaxation into your daily life