The pandemic has had a big effect on employee wellbeing, and mental health is an increasingly important topic in most organizations. In a recent study, 30% of Gen Z workers reported difficulty coping with stress and pressure at work, and half of the respondents said they want mental health training.
You can help increase your employees’ wellbeing with mindfulness online training.
Training has been shown to increase employee happiness, and introducing your team to mindfulness offers them a better employee experience. Not to mention mindfulness and productivity go hand in hand.
So what is mindfulness, and how can you help your employees be more mindful? Read on.
What exactly is mindfulness?
Let’s start with a definition. Mindfulness means focusing on current experiences, tasks, and feelings without distractions that add stress or pressure.
Mindfulness isn’t just meditating–though that can be a helpful part of it. It’s accepting the present state without judgment. It means giving attention to what you’re doing while you’re doing it and being aware of your mental and emotional condition.
Focusing on thoughts and feelings in addition to work tasks and deadlines allows people to manage emotions and avoid burnout and stress. Whether your teams work remotely or not, mindfulness online training is a simple way to help employees stay calm throughout their day and boost their productivity. Let’s see why.
The benefits of mindfulness training
Savvy companies recognize the advantages of supporting their employees. Even large enterprises like LinkedIn, Target, Google, and Intel are turning to mindfulness interventions and prioritizing wellbeing and mental health initiatives.
Consider the following ways access to mindfulness content can improve your workplace:
- Reduced stress. Seeing the present without judgment or comparison can lift some of the pressure from people’s workload. Stress can overwhelm and discourage employees. If not resolved, it can even lead them to seek employment elsewhere. When they know how to recognize and properly manage stress, it takes some of the power out of it.
- Greater creativity. Research shows that mindfulness gives people more freedom to get creative. Practicing mindfulness with the intent of increasing creativity encourages innovation as people learn to look at things differently and take new approaches to tasks.
- Stronger problem-solving skills. Mindfulness helps people free their minds from the clutter of overthinking. It gives them the space to look at things from new angles without distraction. As with creativity, it gives them room to think outside the box and come up with new solutions.
- More engagement. When people stay mindful of present tasks and goals, it’s easier to retain their enthusiasm for the job. When they remember the reasons they engaged in this work in the first place and focus on the positive outcomes, they’ll be happier with their work. The happier they are, the more engaged and committed they’ll be.
Including mindfulness content in your employee training platform can boost its effectiveness. Mindfulness online training courses are accessible whenever and wherever is most useful. And that makes it more likely employees will consume and benefit from the content.
6 mindfulness training activities
Training your teams in mindfulness doesn’t have to take a massive effort and outside expertise. There are simple things you can help employees do on their own that will promote well-being and boost productivity.
So let’s take a look at some helpful activities you can include in your corporate mindfulness training. From mindfulness online training courses to guided meditation for focus and productivity, here are six ideas you can use to boost mindfulness in the workplace.
1. Take a deep breath
Deep breathing, or “belly breathing,” is at the very heart of mindfulness meditation. It’s a physical practice that has a direct impact on the mental and emotional state.
“Deep breathing calms the ‘fight or flight system’ and brings you back to the moment.”
She offers this guidance for harnessing belly breathing: Have employees put one hand on their belly and feel it rise and fall while they breathe deeply to relax their nervous system.
Marinaki also recommends the following breathing sequence to help develop laser-sharp focus:
“Inhale for five counts through the nose, hold your breath for five, and exhale for five through the mouth. Repeat for approximately 5-10 minutes and get back to work.”
2. Take time to stretch
Being mindful of the physical strain you carry in your body allows you to release it. Encourage people to take moments throughout the day to step away from their desks or just sit back and notice where they’re feeling tension.
If, for instance, they feel tension in their shoulders or neck, they can take a minute to release those muscles and stretch them. Teach them to focus on the physical sensations and keep their mind from wandering back to work tasks during this break. This physical release will help reset their body and mood for more effective work.
3. Practice mindful listening
Communication is a big source of stress at work, and listening is a big part of successful communication. Teaching mindful listening will promote clearer, more helpful conversations.
People are often so focused on getting their own point across that they don’t fully hear what others are saying. Teach people exercises to filter distractions and actively listen during a conversation. For instance:
- Face the other person while they talk.
- Note body language that may express strong emotions.
- Focus on the person’s words and process them before passing judgment or making decisions about how you’ll respond.
- Listen for ideas that get repeated and ask questions to clarify understanding.
Active listening leads to more meaningful communication and helps teams work together more efficiently.
4. Understand stress management
Stress can lead to anxiety and tension that overwhelm employees. The strain affects not only their productivity but also their mental and physical health. Give your teams a balanced and positive work experience by offering mindfulness-based stress reduction training.
Look for a mindfulness online training course that teaches people to recognize the signs of stress and describes techniques for managing pressure. Share strategies for coping with pressures they face so they can stay healthy and productive at work.
5. Integrate short meditation exercises into your day
Mindfulness exercises are a great way to train your brain to focus and be aware. Reconnecting to the present and being aware of senses and feelings trains employees’ brains to focus and re-set strong emotions. But taking thirty minutes out of the day to meditate isn’t feasible.
Good news: even spending one minute connecting with the present can boost mindfulness.
Offer brief guided meditations for teams during the day. Or, look for small exercises to share with your team that will bring mindfulness to their work throughout the day. These can include short breathing exercises, brief meditations, or quick mindfulness check-ins like this two-minute practice from mindful.org.
6. Practice gratitude
Recognizing the good things in a situation can provide perspective and decrease stress. Help people maintain a positive mental state by teaching and modeling gratitude.
Simple strategies for practicing gratitude include observing what’s around you and how it improves your life. Offer tips for doing this like:
- Notice and acknowledge the little things.
- Share your gratitude with those who make your jobs easier or more pleasant.
- Use social media or internal communications to share gratitude (for instance, acknowledge employees’ contributions in group chats or company emails).
As people incorporate these practices, they’ll gain a more helpful outlook that will improve both their work and their home lives.
Mindfulness training shows employees you care
Introducing mindfulness at work isn’t just about boosting productivity. It’s also a way of demonstrating that you value employee well-being and your team’s work experience.
That understanding is the foundation for healthy and relaxing work culture. And that means more engaged, committed employees. A mindful environment is the key to workplace happiness and company growth.