In a time when employee retention is at the top of everyone’s mind, employers are looking for ways to ensure their workers are satisfied and motivated at their jobs. Finding ways to combat stress and burnout can go a long way toward this goal, thus keeping employees happier and maintaining high morale and productivity.
Mindfulness training is one option many employers are utilizing on this front. Helping employees learn to embrace mindfulness techniques can have a lot of advantages for both employees and employers.
Mindfulness refers to the idea of being fully present in the moment and paying attention to what you’re doing, thinking, and feeling as it happens, without being judgmental of it. It includes taking an objective look at the present moment to reduce overwhelm and simply observe a situation without any extreme reactions.
Being mindful in the moment can help de-escalate a situation or bring something stressful into perspective.
Why Employers Are Using Mindfulness Training in the Workplace
Knowing the definition of mindfulness above, it may be easy to see why employers would want to bring this type of awareness to employees. Here are a few more reasons:
- Mindfulness can help employees better manage stress levels, which can improve productivity and morale, thus leading to higher job satisfaction. (This can even improve retention, as we noted earlier.)
- This type of training can help employees be more engaged, resilient, and self-aware.
- Mindfulness can improve focus and decision-making skills.
- It can help bring out innovative ideas and creativity.
- It can lead to fewer absences if people are able to better manage stress.
- Mindfulness can even help reduce conflict in the workplace and improve communication among coworkers.
- It can help increase employees’ empathy toward others.
- It can also help employees better adapt to changes at work.
Tips for How to Implement Mindfulness Training
For employers ready to implement some form of mindfulness training, here are a few tips to consider before you get started:
- One option is to implement it as part of an employee wellness program or simply as stand-alone employee training.
- Regardless of how it’s implemented, ensure it’s not a onetime initiative; implement a program that instills mindfulness into activities over time.
- Ensure that the program is a good cultural fit. If it isn’t, consider whether cultural shifts are necessary.
- Leadership will need to support the initiative for it to succeed over time.
- Encourage employees to take part in the training on offer. Have a formal plan to communicate and promote the training and its benefits.
- Encourage breaks in the workday that allow employees to practice the mindfulness techniques they’ve learned. This may involve shifting expectations.
- Incorporate refresher training courses over time to keep it top of mind.
- Consider if workspace modifications would be beneficial to better enable employees to implement mindfulness practices. One example is the inclusion of spaces designed for quiet reflection without interruption or distractions.
- Ensure leaders act in ways that demonstrate mindfulness. For example, ensure they are good listeners and are not overreactive to situations.
Has your organization considered offering mindfulness training? If yes, have you opted to include it as part of an employee wellness program, as employee development, or as something else? What has your experience been with it?
Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.