Mindfulness in the Workplace to Combat Stress and Burnout
By Katie Normand
Majority of Today's Workers are Suffering from Mental Strain and BurnoutA company’s success relies heavily on the skills and productivity of the individuals who make up their workforce. However, majority of today’s workers seem to be suffering from mental strain, poorly managed stress and burnout. Mental health issues are a significant cause of sick leave and poor productivity. The World Health Organization has ranked depression the 4th leading cause of disability worldwide and projects that by 2020, it will be the 2nd leading cause.
Advancements in technology exacerbate mental health concern in the workplace. The digital era has accelerated businesses in so many ways. In return, the employees of these businesses are faced with more distractions and information overload than ever before in history. According to research, a typical American worker, will be distracted every eleven minutes, and it will take them approximately 25 minutes to settle down to the task again. The more complicated the project, the longer it takes to regain focus. This is because the brain has to put in considerable effort when switching between complex objectives. Business leaders and employers need to be looking for ways to address these issues, finding ways to better care for the mental well-being and development of their employees.
Mindfulness-Based Programming is Ideal in Targetting Stress, Mental Focus and ProductivityIncorporating mindfulness-based stress reduction programs into the workplace is an ideal way to address and achieve this goal. Mindfulness has been linked to improvement in skills such as regulating attention and behavior. Research suggests people are thinking about something other than what they are doing for almost half of their waking hours. Even short mindfulness training has been shown to stabilize attention and over time can improve the ability to disengage from mind-wandering.
We have been targeting stress, energy management and mental and emotional well-being through our programs for decades now. Here are some things to consider if you want to improve your workplace through mindfulness-based programming:
Lead by Example: Although we cannot eliminate stress, a good program can enhance a person’s ability to deal with stress on the job and at home. This usually takes ongoing interaction, education and support to employees during their workday. Wellness coaching, mindfulness sessions, stress breaks, education and activity breaks are all examples of ways to support employees in coping with mental fatigue and stress. Don’t underestimate the power of leadership support. Even the most robust wellness program cannot make an impact on an employee's stress level if it is being overshadowed by stress-inducing practices at work. For example, employees can't benefit from a mindfulness workshop if they don't feel supported in participating.
Find More Opportunities to Teach: Mindfulness, meditation and deep breathing may seem like unnatural and strange practices for the workplace, but most people just need to experience it to realize how powerful and helpful it can be. With our groups, we have found that most individuals are very open and interested in mindfulness practice. Try incorporating learning opportunities into work-related events where you already have your audience captive. We have done this for companies through focused education and seminars, month-long campaign messaging and short sessions worked into company meetings and events.
Encourage Self-Care: When someone's own needs are taken care of, they are stronger, more resilient to stress and better able to manage tasks and decision-making without feeling overwhelmed. An employee spends one-third or more of their day at work. You have the power to impact individuals' health positively or negatively. Create a healthy culture in your workplace. Establish meaningful and effective wellness programming, encourage active and stress-relieving breaks throughout the workday, and make healthy, nutritious foods available to employees.
The technology isn’t going away. It is up to us as humans to adapt and learn how to better manage the negative issues associated with it. Perceived workload and stress isn’t likely to change for your employees without effective solutions put into place. What are you doing to support your team in maintaining good mental and emotional well-being and staying present at work?
Get in touch with SB Wellness Group to find out more about our Mindfulness Based Programs and Stress Management Services.