Can Mindfulness Increase Staff Productivity?

Mindful in May, the world’s largest online global mindfulness campaign created by psychiatrist, mindfulness expert and best selling author Dr Elise Bialylew, is about to return for its 7th year, continuing on its mission to teach mindfulness in just ten minutes a day throughout the month-long challenge. The program offers an evidence-based approach to mindfulness and includes exclusive video interviews with global experts in well-being, mindfulness and the brain, including New York Times bestselling authors Dr Daniel Siegel, Daniel Goleman, and Mark Epstein.

Not only has the initiative taught over 30,000 participants to meditate, but has also raised over $600,000 for Charity Water, transforming over 12,000 lives across countries in Africa.

Before this wonderful wellness initiative kicks off next month, we chatted to Dr Elise Bialylew on the benefits of mindfulness and meditation throughout the workplace, as she is a big believer in introducing mindfulness activities within your team in order to boost staff performance and productivity.

 

What are some ways staff can improve their productivity both during work, and before/after work?
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to enhance productivity in the workplace. These days innovative companies like Google and Twitter have become early adopters of mindfulness meditation practice by bringing it to their employees as a way of enhancing workplace wellbeing and effectiveness. Two practical ways of bringing mindfulness into the workplace include introducing mindful meetings and being more mindful while you work:

Mindful meetings involve encouraging people to take 2 minutes before the meeting starts to practice mindfulness meditation – this could be through a guided meditation or simply by inviting people to close their eyes and tune into the feeling of the breath moving in and out of their bodies. Set a timer for two minutes and invite people to count their breaths, counting the breath after each exhalation. Tuning into the breath in this way helps to shift the nervous system from a state of stress to a state of relaxation supporting teams to be more present, receptive and less reactive in meetings.

Be mindful while you work by switching from multitasking to monotasking. Before you start working bring an intention to do one task at a time. Choose one task, set the timer for 30 minutes  and be mindful of when you have the urge to switch between tasks. Keep a piece of paper next to you and when you feel the urge to do something else just write down what you want to do and come back to it once you have finished your designated task.

What can business owners/managers do to ensure their team is performing at their best?
To have a high performing team, you need to be a high performing leader. A few important qualities of a skillful  leader include: a high level of emotional intelligence, including self awareness, an ability to regulate one’s emotions effectively, empathy, strong communication skills and relationship skills and intrinsic motivation.

Mindfulness training supports all of these qualities, so taking time as a leader to develop ones inner skills is crucial in being able to manage other people effectively and help others reach their full potential.

Although many business owners can feel like there’s not enough time to train their teams in this type of inner work, investing in the development of greater emotional intelligence reduces  time spent in the future dealing with internal conflict and communication breakdowns that lead to dissatisfaction at work and disengagement.

How regularly should meditation be carried out to best improve productivity?
There are many misconceptions around meditation that hold people back from experiencing its benefits. One of the most common myths is that you have to do a huge amount of meditation each day to get the benefits. It is true that much of the research in the field of mindfulness explores the impact of thirty to forty-five minutes of meditation a day on physical and psychological wellbeing. However, through my own scientific research on the Mindful in May program, I discovered that just ten minutes a day of mindfulness meditation over one month was enough to support a reduction in stress, an increase in focus and attention and a reduction in stress in daily life – all important ingredients to improve productivity.

 

Registration is now open for the program here.

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