The Business of Mindfulness: How it Can Benefit You and Your Workplace

Four key ways small businesses can create a happier, more productive working environment

The Business of Mindfulness: How it Can Benefit You and Your Workplace

The subject of employee wellbeing is one that is becoming high on the agenda for businesses and employers across the UK as they consider the impact a focus on wellbeing can have on productivity.

With US companies such as Google and Apple setting the standard by placing great emphasis on ‘mindfulness in the workplace’, many organisations have started to follow suit and introduce sessions in an effort to achieve a greater work-life balance.

Although it is unlikely that we are going to see lunchtime yoga sessions and mid-afternoon meditation coming to an office near you anytime soon, a lot can be said for this level of employee wellbeing. After all, it is said that a happy workforce is a productive one. There are various benefits to supporting mindfulness and relaxation in your business, here are just a few ways you can introduce measures to encourage it and how it can improve your firm:

A relaxed workplace supports problem solving

Creating a relaxed and healthy working environment and staff, be that by introducing a relaxation area, a lunch break policy or mediation class, means that people will take time-out and get perspective on problems. Ultimately, this should make them feel less fearful or stressed, more willing to approach an issue and better able to resolve it.

Encourage mediation to increase your staff’s ability to focus

Concentration is key to meditation – it is the central core of practice. So, a daily practice of meditation is a daily practice in concentration – and the more you practice, the better you get. Increased concentration also leads to increased memory. Concentration and memory are absolutely key to every task in a business’ workplace, and with better concentration and memory, you get a better result, more efficiently performed.

A calming presence means better leadership

A lot of people claim that they work best under pressure, and a lot of managers feel they get the best from their team by being aggressively demanding. However, neuroscience has now shown this to be far from true. Stress, pressure and aggression all produce a reaction in our brains of ‘fight, flight or freeze’ – none of which are productive for a business. And a business owner who induces stress or disapproval is impairing their team’s ability to think or work well. While it is important to have candour with employees, people respond better to praise and encouragement; as a business leader you must find a way to be constructive when changes or criticism are necessary.

Banish negativity in your business

Too often we dwell on negative thoughts which, in turn, stump our progress and result in us giving up. Negative thoughts and feelings can in fact be a major barrier when it comes to business and can stop people achieving their true potential. The decision to focus on the positive and forget the negative is something that can be enabled in a work environment, both by creating a positive working area and culture. This starts with the business owner: ditch the unhelpful thoughts and stay focused on the positives, and make sure your employees take note.

In the modern environment of instant information, reaction, and availability, it is difficult to achieve any kind of balance. Make sure your employees are aware that they have a life outside the business. Be conscious of email hours, plan ahead to keep after-hour work to a minimum and schedule team events, like a charity challenge or lunch time class, as this will help employees relax, encourage teamwork and show a work/life balance is important in your company.

This blog was written by Graham Doke, founder of the Anamaya meditation app

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