Mindfulness is a valuable trait in employees. How can you encourage it in the workplace?
Every entrepreneur with a small team knows how important it is for employees to be motivated, dedicated, and on-point. When you’re a young, growing start-up you know how little room there is for error. You need employees that are alert, astute, in the moment, and know how to dot their i’s and cross their t’s. In short, arguably, the most important character trait for a startup employee is mindfulness. A mindful employee is one who pays attention to detail, understands the bigger picture of your organization’s goals, understands his or her role in the team, and is an objective, critical thinker. When your team is made up of such individuals, you’re sure to have a healthy, efficient, productive, and, often, happy workplace.
But employees that are this thoughtful and exacting are very hard to come by. Sometimes, you just have to do your best with who you’ve got. How can you tease out these traits in the employees you already have? Here are three ideas for workplace activities that can make your employees more mindful:
Upsides: Yoga improves energy and vitality and boosts physical as well as mental wellness. Just a 30-minute yoga practice, a couple of times per week, can help increase focus and concentration, reduce stress, and decrease absenteeism.
Downsides: A yoga practice in the workplace takes physical space and, ideally, an in-person instructor to help employees with their poses. Make sure you have space in your workplace to lay out some yoga mats and host a teacher.
Upsides: If you have limited time, space, and budget for wellness activities in your workplace, implementing a daily guided meditation practice is a great option. Meditation is the act of concentrating on the breath as it enters and leaves the body while paying attention to how the mind wanders in the midst of executing this simple task. Meditation can be done while seated at a desk or any workstation. There are various apps available to help lead employees through guided group meditation. Daily meditation can improve focus, work performance, and productivity. Moreover, a meditation practice takes a time investment of just 10-15 minutes per day, and the productivity returns manyfold.
Downsides: For those 10-15 minutes, ringing phones and dinging email notifications are just going to have to go unanswered. Meditation requires full concentration. If you’re in a fast-paced, deadline-driven industry like media or finance, 15 minutes off the grid can feel like an eternity. Make sure you set aside time early in the morning or right before or after lunch break for this activity.
Upsides: Believe it or not, the activity of flower arranging shares many of the same mindfulness benefits as guided meditation. Flower arranging is calming and gets your creative juices flowing. The multi-sensory act of creating with flowers, deciding where to put each bloom, deliberating on colors and shapes and working to make something beautiful both enhances the mood and sharpens the mind. In fact, throughout Japanese history, army generals practiced Ikebana, a form of flower arranging, before heading into battle as a way to calm their minds and sharpen their concentration on the battlefield. Plus, you get to keep the finished product as a lovely visual reminder to center your mindfulness! A beautiful, colorful floral bouquet can adorn the workplace, uplifting moods and filling the air with fragrant scents for days to come.
Downsides: Florist flowers can be expensive, especially when you’re buying for many employees. The best bet is to find a way to buy fresh-cut flowers in bulk and get a discount.
Talia Boone is the founder and CEO of Postal Petals®, a farm-to-table fresh-cut flower delivery service designed for people who like to make their own flower arrangements as a form of creative expression and self-care.