Mindfulness in the Workplace: A Path to Greater Productivity and Well-Being

Mindfulness in the Workplace: A Path to Greater Productivity and Well-Being

In today’s fast-paced and highly competitive business world, employees often have many balls to juggle at once and shoulder a lot of responsibility. But employees’ well-being mustn’t be neglected. Read below how incorporating mindfulness into the daily work routine enables this equilibrium.

Mindfulness means being present in the moment and perceiving things consciously and non-judgmentally.

What Does Mindfulness in the Workplace Mean?

Mindfulness in the workplace facilitates self-awareness and self-regulation and helps you handle stress with greater composure. Mindfulness exercises bring your focus back to the present and, among other things, help you face challenges with the necessary cool-headedness. Just like physical exercise keeps your body fit, mindfulness exercises can strengthen your mind. They help you to navigate through hectic times more calmly and to make decisions more rationally. This has many benefits, including in your everyday work routine.

Mindfulness at Work: 5 Benefits

  1. Resilience: Mindfulness helps you to cope better with the rigors of everyday working life and to alleviate stress.
  2. Efficiency: Mindfulness strengthens concentration. Disruptive factors become less distracting, which has a beneficial impact on productivity.
  3. Composure: One’s own emotions and those of others get reflected on and respected. One keeps cool in conflict situations this way.
  4. Team-Spiritedness: Being mindfully aware of situations enhances one’s own interpersonal skills. Mindfulness helps you to put yourself in another person’s shoes – one practices empathy and uses it to build sound interpersonal relationships.
  5. Perspective: Perceiving things non-judgmentally breaks people out of habitual thinking patterns. Stressful situations can be looked at objectively, which can lead to a more optimistic mindset and to greater job satisfaction in the long run.

How Do I Become Mindful at Work?

“As an individual, I, for instance, can take a quiet moment for myself in the morning to prepare myself for the day ahead and to gear up for what’s important to me. Whether that’s done by mindfully enjoying a cup of tea while gazing out the window or by meditating is secondary. During the day, I can schedule set times to check and reply to emails instead of giving in to the impulse to read every incoming email right away whenever possible,” Jörg Riederer, Senior Specialist People Development at SIX, advises, adding: “For important discussions, mindfulness means taking time to prepare myself mentally and emotionally, asking myself: How can I engage and connect with my interlocutor? What is important to me? At the team level, one can consciously take time to perceive, reflect on, and dismantle emotional blocks together.”


6 Tips for a Mindful Workday

  1. Start Your Day Consciously
    Your first minutes at work can have an effect on the rest of your day. Don’t rush to your inbox first thing. Instead, prepare yourself for the day ahead: organize your workspace, air your room briefly, drink some water, make coffee, consciously set priorities for the day ahead. This routine may help you deal more calmly with stressful situations that arise during the course of the day.
  2. Undisturbed Means Focused
    Your inbox, the intranet, and team chats can distract you at times and cause your thoughts to wander, resulting in you losing your concentration. During hectic periods or when performing complex tasks, switch to “do not disturb” mode and deliberately avoid disruptive factors for a certain time.
  3. Work Mindfully Instead of Multitasking
    Neurobiology studies have shown that the human brain is incapable of multitasking, i.e. it is incapable of completing more than one complex cognitive task at a time. We nevertheless constantly try to multitask. Multitasking leads to losses of concentration and impairs work performance.
  4. Find Your Reset Button
    Heed your body’s warning signals, especially if your workload and the daily pressures of life increase. Shallow breathing and an accelerated pulse, for example, are good signs that you should pause instead of reacting immediately, sort of like hitting a reset button to keep yourself from overheating. During such situations, you can make better decisions if you pause to think about the stress factors.
  5. Microbreaks for Your Energy Budget
    Treat yourself to breaks, even if only for a few minutes, to maintain your energy level. A short break in the fresh air or, if your workday does not allow that, taking a short walk at lunchtime is particularly effective. Relax at your workstation at regular intervals by looking out the window.
  6. Don’t Forget to Breathe
    You don’t have to meditate at your desk to benefit from breathing exercises. Consciously breathing in and out deeply can increase your brain’s oxygen supply, reduce stress, and relieve tension. Inhale longer than you exhale to beneficially stimulate your autonomic nervous system.
Show More
Show Less

More Productive Meetings through Focus?

Meetings with a clear focus prevent discussions from getting out of hand. The right mix of meeting participants ensures that not just a few make their voices heard, but that the meeting is as inclusive as possible. A respectful meeting culture also includes starting and ending meetings on time. At Tesla, there is even a rule that allows people to walk out of meetings that aren’t providing added value. It’s not rude to leave, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says. On the contrary, he explains, it’s rude to make someone stay and waste his or her time.

Mindfulness contributes to ensuring that all attendees stay focused during the meeting. If they do that, they can concentrate wholeheartedly on what others are saying and are able to gain a different perspective and to respond more calmly to feedback and disagreements. Altogether, mindfulness can reduce misunderstandings in discussions and direct the focus to the essential. Mindfulness can help people think more clearly and creatively and to interject new ideas and solutions, making meetings more productive and effective.

What Are the Hallmarks of Mindful Employees?

Mindfulness has a big impact on individuals’ interpersonal skills and on teamwork and team spirit. “Do I see what’s going on emotionally with my teammate? In the sport of soccer, one would say: Do I see where a pass is possible, or do I want to make the play myself? Do I have a wide vision of the playing field so that we can win together?”, Riederer asks. Mindful employees are more capable of learning and are more creative and more innovative, which has an impact on teamwork and ultimately on a company’s entire corporate culture.