What is mindfulness in the workplace?

Mindfulness in the workplace is an awareness of thoughts, emotions, and actions that enables an objective, collected approach to accomplishing tasks. People tend to distractedly multi-task to cope with their numerous obligations. Mindfulness offers employees a way to prioritize tasks, concentrate on performing them well, and maintain calm through it all. 

Why should HR leaders care about mindfulness in the workplace?

Mindfulness is a free tool that every employee can utilize, helping to: 

Mindfulness empowers employees to cope with stress. Retraining the mind through practicing mindfulness can develop employees’ self-awareness in each present moment, assisting them in controlling their behavior and moderating their responses. 

What can HR leaders do to encourage mindfulness in the workplace?

To make mindfulness more impactful, employees must make it a habit. With the assistance of a professional, HR leaders can guide employees in implementing these mindfulness methods:

  • Focus on the breath. Proper breathing is the bedrock of mindfulness. Sondra Schrock, CEO of Levelhead, recommends a simple practice called 4-7-8: inhale for four seconds, hold the breath for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds. 
  • Try the Pomodoro technique. Coined by Francesco Cirillo, this time-management method divides working hours into 25-minute spurts to sharpen focus and boost efficiency. 
  • Stick to the to-do list. Listing items by priority and checking them off after completion helps people stay on track and avoid feeling overwhelmed. This simple method clarifies which actions employees should focus on first, so they aren’t doing one thing and worrying about another simultaneously. Whether using Trello or writing by hand in a planner, employees should use a system that works specifically for them.  
  • Encourage mindful breaks. HR leaders can integrate mindfulness sessions such as group walking, stretching, and meditation into the daily routine to help employees restore perspective and keep stress and anxiety at bay. Taking short, intermittent breaks from work can refresh the body and calm the mind so employees can return to work with renewed motivation.
  • Practice active listening. It’s easy for the mind to wander to other pressing issues during meetings or conversations. Giving the speaker full attention, noticing non-verbal communication, and pausing before responding can help employees communicate intentionally, effectively, and maintain focus.  
  • Create a calming physical workspace. Setting up a well-designed, clutterless working environment can promote better focus, mindfulness, and productivity. HR can collaborate with a designer to establish a workplace that mirrors the company culture and accommodates employees’ needs.

How can mindfulness in the workplace improve company culture?

A mindful approach to work can nurture an inner sense of calm and balance, empowering employees to improve their work performance, increase productivity, and enrich work relationships. Over time, practicing mindful work habits can promote employee wellbeing and happiness, and in turn, enhance the company culture.