The word ‘mindfulness’ is batted around often, especially when talking about employee satisfaction and the culture of a workplace. Though the practice of mindfulness could save companies thousands upon thousands of pounds each year in reduced absenteeism and heightened productivity, few businesses incorporate mindfulness into their staff’s personal training and development. A business is only as good as its people; a workforce is a company’s biggest asset…so why, commonly, do many believe that their employees are not worthy of the same investment equipment and premises demand?
The stats show just how much of an issue work-related stress has become. The cost to the UK economy of related sick days topped £6.5bn last year, with £10.4mn working days lost overall. Though eradicating the cause of employees’ stress may seem the answer, this isn’t always possible, and it’s certainly not a quick fix. There’s also the argument that a small amount of stress is necessary for workers to be productive.
Helping employees to manage their stress, therefore, becomes a long-term, effective solution, and mindfulness is one way to do this. The technique is not only calming, it helps keep staff physically and emotionally present at work, so that they’re working smarter, not harder.
Mindfulness has been practiced by Buddhists for more than two millennia. UK PLC is now catching on to its importance, with 30 years of clinical research backing up claims of the effectiveness of mindfulness in the workplace.
At Premier Partnership, we’re putting this into practice and recently made a huge impact on a group of employees. Our mindfulness workshops are delivered by an expert in the field, whose experiential training comes from a psychological perspective. Participants had little knowledge or understanding of mindfulness before attending the session. The facilitator brought mindfulness theory to life, and after just three hours, those on the workshop left feeling “enlightened and relaxed, with greater compassion and heightened awareness of their surroundings and relative significance”. Direct feedback from participants to the trainer—who is an occupational psychologist as well as a mindfulness practitioner and counsellor—included sheer gratitude for the opportunity and the inference that the workshop would “change their lives”. High praise indeed.
A clearly interactive session, colleagues connected with each other on a deeper level than usual, a practice that they’re able to take into the workplace long after the workshop ended. In those few hours, people’s mindsets and beliefs were challenged, and although they admitted feeling uncomfortable at first, it wasn’t long before they were “blown away” by how they felt at the end.
What Premier Partnership was able to prove at low cost and with little resources, is that funky workspaces, pool tables in the staff room, or perks such as free gym passes are ‘nice-to-haves’ for employees, but perhaps superficial, when it comes to the issues of staff morale and stress in the workplace. Clearly, the solution is within us, just waiting to come out…