We may not like to dwell on it, but we spend more time at work than anywhere else. From delivering on deadlines to dealing with tricky clients, the pressures of employment are ever present and it’s no surprise that stress is commonplace in many offices.
According to government regulator The Healthy and Safety Executive (HSE), it is estimated that 15.4 million working days are lost in the UK every year due to stress, depression or anxiety. So, it’s vital we consider mental health as part of our work environment.
Here are my suggestions of how mindfulness can help you and your team create a happier and healthier workplace:
Take Your Time
Multitasking is seen as the super-productive way of working, but it’s actually the opposite. Juggling tasks means you are never giving any one item on your To Do list your full attention or ability. Overloading your brain also creates more stress and leads to mistakes. Being mindful is to be consciously present in what you are doing at that moment. Slow down, take a breath and complete your jobs one at a time, focussing your energy on each one. You will be more efficient and your communication with colleagues will be less frazzled.
Deter the Distractions
The technological world is relentless. Digital social networking demand our attention, 24/7, and urgent phone calls and emails can make us feel overwhelmed. Have a break and silence your phone for 10 minutes. If that’s not possible, take a mindful breath every time your phone rings and resist feeling that you must answer texts and voicemails immediately. Your responses are likely to be more reasoned and your decisions more considered.
Keep Your Cool
While we are responsible for our own mental health, we could all benefit from making a shared effort with co-workers to minimise stressful situations. Yet being a team inevitably means conflict and if we are already stressed, we may over-react to problematic conversations. Before resolving a disagreement, take an obvious, composing breath. By deliberately taking a pause, your colleague will see you are wanting to work together calmly to find a solution. Why not try a weekly team meditation session? Just five minutes at your desk can bring you together as a collective and help diffuse any issues.
Good Vibes Only
Unmanageable stress lowers your resilience to everyday pressures. This negative mindset means you only focus on things that are going wrong, and small problems become impossible to solve. Combat this by making time in your day, every day, to reflect on what is going well in your job, and in the business. Take a lunchtime walk to appreciate your surroundings and feel thankful for things that have gone well that morning. Employers like to hire positive people, and colleagues are drawn to cheerful team members, so you will reap the rewards of an optimistic outlook. Over time, your ability to handle stress will improve and your positive thinking will lead to a greater sense of well-being.