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Keys to Improving Workplace Fulfillment: Mindfulness

Keys to Improving Workplace Fulfillment: Mindfulness

Mindfulness is defined as the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. This concept has a special significance in the workplace due to the need for focus and cognizance toward tasks and goals set forth by the organization. But perhaps more important is the need for maintaining awareness about one’s own actions at work. We often write about traits that leadership can espouse to improve workplace culture, but mindfulness is something that can be stressed to all employees, and something that can better the organization (and oneself) when it is a focal point of the philosophy.

Now more than ever employees have the opportunity to let their minds drift, and act on impulse rather than with focused thought. Doing so can open the door to challenging situations wherein one can act without thinking and take damaging actions that can have severe consequences. A good example of a lack of mindfulness comes from employees who grow frustrated with a colleague or subordinate and lash out (publicly or privately). Failing to stop to think about how one’s words or actions will be perceived can easily lead to disciplinary action or even a charge of harassment.

Inattention to workplace mindfulness can not only lead to legal consequences such as harassment charges, but can also have a domino effect on culture. It is extremely important that organizations cultivate awareness, thought and reflection at work and stress that their employees pay attention to what is going on in the moment, either through conscious reflection or reinforcement of the need for non-judgmental and open-minded analysis of communication made by employees. All of these points relate back to the greater concept of a speak up and listen up culture that are so critical to business success in the modern workplace. By increasing awareness on the importance of mindfulness, and ensuring that employees are focused on how their actions reflect upon others, organizations are better positioned to manage the stress and unknowns we are faced with on a daily basis.

Preaching mindfulness is easy, but engraining its importance to a busy and stressed out workplace is another. According to Professor Jon-Kabat Zinn, the founder of a training program developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center for stress and depression reduction, there are six key attitudes of mindfulness. Each of the following are elements that can be taught to your workforce and implemented to create a more mindful workplace. Professor Kabat-Zinn’s principles include:

· Non-Judgmental thought – Individuals should be impartial witnesses to their own experience.

· Patience – Acceptance of the fact that things unfold on their own time;

· Curiosity – Being open minded to new possibilities.

· Trust – Knowing that it is ok to make mistakes.

· Acceptance – Seeing things as they are.

· Letting go- Letting the experience be what it is now, mindful of the past, but knowing it is not destined to repeat.

In the coming weeks, we will be exploring each of these six principles in greater detail, but to begin your organization’s journey toward mindfulness we first recommend delivering the principles to your workforce along with an explanation of the concept of mindfulness and why it is important at work. Subsequently, your leaders and employees will be better prepared to gain a deeper understanding of the principles involved in mindfulness, and how paying greater attention to the details can help them become more aware of themselves, and thus better people and more important members of your organizational community.

Syntrio has developed a wide range of cultural enhancement materials focused on Awareness. We would welcome the opportunity to discuss how our tools can improve your workplace culture and keep your employees engaged. Contact a member of our team today to see how we can empower your workforce to be the best it can be in the coming years.

View other blogs in the Mindfulness series

Since 2007, Jonathan has practiced labor and employment law on behalf of management. Jonathan focuses his practice on advising employers on the prevention of harassment and discrimination issues, with an emphasis on providing in-person harassment training programs to companies of all sizes. Jonathan is licensed in California, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and maintains a national advice practice.

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