There are a countless number of reasons to practice mindfulness. By having mindful moments—even if it’s just enjoying the taste and warmth of your coffee instead of chugging it down as quickly as you can—you’ll have more clarity, focus, and peace in your day-to-day life.
While practicing mindfulness is great in your personal life, there are also perks to practicing it in the workplace. “There are so many benefits on an organizational level. There’s an increase in productivity, performances are being optimized, and trust is being built. And there’s more cohesive teams, as trust is the foundation for cohesive teams,” Kristianna George, an Atlanta-based health and wellness coach, said in a webinar for Intuition. “Aetna, for example, did a mindfulness program and saw a four percent increase in employee engagement. And SAP had employee engagement increase and absenteeism decrease.”
The nice thing about mindfulness in the workplace is that you don’t have to be in the office to practice it. George says you can reap the benefits virtually, too, starting with how you begin your meetings.
“There are studies that have shown the impact that it has when you have people in a meeting that are present. How many of us have sat in a meeting—virtually or not—where people were distracted and you had to repeat a project, things got missed, and items got slipped through the cracks?” she says.
In order to bring more mindfulness into the workplace, George says to start every meeting with a quick check-in—something that’s especially important during this time when “no one is physically present with one another, and you don’t know the emotional state everyone is in,” she says. Go around and have everyone answer how present they are on a scale of 0 to 10.
“It’s not to shame anyone or put anyone down,” George says. “It allows for people to understand where everyone is at, and allows you to understand where everyone is at and adjust what you’re saying and how you’re saying it to show a little bit more compassion and understanding and empathy toward what people are experiencing.”
Aside from checking in with everyone before meetings, she also recommends having a Slack channel that’s dedicated to mindfulness. “You can share best practices or what other organizations are doing. That allows others to have that conversation and continue moving it forward,” she says. When you practice mindfulness regularly, you notice changes—they’re bound to happen. It just takes a little extra effort in the beginning to reap the benefits as an organization in the future.