Undoubtedly introducing mindfulness to a workplace can have significant positive results. The article linked to below lists some examples.
However, it’s not just a tool or technique to give to the workforce and hope it all sorts out. Mindfulness needs a suitable environment and time for people to develop the skills.
When we consider workplace stress and what to do about it we also need to look at it from the perspective of the individual and the perspective of the organisation.
For an individual who is suffering there is much that can be done. Most of this site will have helpful material.
For the organisation, it is a little different. It is going to have to set up the conditions, giving the training and support to staff, so that the mindfulness can take root and the benefits can accrue.
Here at Mindfulness Mavericks, we are quite often approached by organisations who have read that mindfulness can help their stressed-out overloaded workforce. They hope that in a one hour session we can turn their staff into semi-angelic beings full of peace and light. And of course they expect us to do this for nothing.
Think of it this way: if you had somebody straight out of school, you gave them a one-hour introduction to selling then expected them to go out and sell aeroplanes to the world, well you know the results.
You take somebody fresh from school who knows nothing about bookkeeping, business practice and the like, give them a one-hour introduction to tax accounting then expect them to give an accurate and most efficient tax return. You’ve probably got the picture.
Mindfulness requires time and commitment. It’s companies like Google that have the resources to set aside physical space and time for their staff.
Today, especially in the UK with its faltering economy, small firms are under tremendous pressure and certainly do not have spare resource capacity to follow Google’s lead. This does not mean they can’t follow that path.
Unfortunately here in the UK, and I suspect elsewhere in the world, small businesses get caught in a destructive spiral. Things are tight, some more pressure is put upon staff to do more with less resources and time. This works for a while until the cliff edge is reached, perhaps key staff with significant experience leave.
The newcomers won’t have the skills so they take longer and it’s more expensive to do the tasks. This then feedback to demanding more from them because costs are rising and productivity is falling.
It takes a lot of effort for a business to pull back from this cliff edge. It requires significantly more effort to recover than does preventing the problem occurring. This process, if you’re interested, is called Catastrophe Theory. A somewhat dramatic name for a simple process. It’s well understood by sociologists in many conditions from prisons to housing estates to entire societies.
It’s rather like a tree felling business giving their staff time to stop and sharpen the tools. It seems obvious in that context but how does an office full of people equate?
We also know that not everybody in an office needs to become mindfulness masters. In a typical stressed environment you have an interaction with somebody that is stressed, then the next person you meet get some of the stress passed on. And so on down the chain. Often the stress comes back round to you again layering it upon what is already there. Just some of the people in the office need to be engaging with mindfulness to stop these processes.
If you are one of the many working in an increasingly stressful and demanding workplace then you may want to pass the article onto your boss. However don’t hold your breath for instant, magical results.
The featured article below is written by Sinead Quinn, a Digital Marketing Executive of OMT Global.
Mindfulness is more than meditation. A common question we get asked is how mindfulness works or is it just a hype? This week is Mental Health Awareness week and with huge demands and pressure today in the workplace what better time to practice and learn about mindfulness.