The workplace in the United States has taken leaps and bounds in terms of success over the past few decades, however with that increased success comes increased demands. By incorporating mindfulness practices, we can address multiple workplace needs benefitting both employees and employers. Mindfulness is a multi-level concept, meaning it can bring improvement to both the individual employee and to the company as a whole. The many benefits of mindfulness and its ability to directly impact multiple levels of a company give evidence to the great value that bringing mindfulness into the workplace can provide.
Mind-body mindfulness techniques such as yoga and meditation have been shown to have numerous positive impacts. A few of those impacts being reduction in stress, counteracting physical repercussions of the job, boosting company morale, improving attitude, increased concentration, decreases in absences from sickness, and overall better wellbeing. The list continues from there, showing the significant effects of incorporating these practices into the workplace. Mindfulness techniques are particularly important for managing workplace pressures and stress, no matter what the workplace environment is.
Stress is the number one health problem in the United States according to the World Health Organization. Research also shows that a significant source of stress stems from the workplace. The path of destruction that stress leaves on the body and mind can be detrimental to an employee’s performance in the workplace. Not only does it negatively impact their performance, it also increases the company’s health care benefits and insurance costs as employees get sick from stress and the continued effects of stress. By incorporating yoga and meditation in the workplace, there is an overall improvement in the employee’s wellbeing. With improvement in wellbeing, an employee will perform more efficiently having a clear mind and focused concentration on the task at hand, both of which yoga and meditation have been proven to increase. Also, as an added bonus, the company saves money on the health benefits and insurance costs of the employees as there is a decrease in sickness and doctor visits.
When we are healthy, we are better able to face challenges and give our best to whatever endeavors we face in the workplace. Yoga and meditation develop our ability to react more calmly in demanding situations. The practice itself calms our nervous system, therefore reducing stress, while also teaching our mind and body how to react to stressful scenarios in our day to day lives in the workplace. By practicing mindfulness techniques on the mat, we are able to bring this skillset off the mat into our life in the office by becoming aware of how we react to stressful situations. Once you become aware of your reactions, you are then able to change and adjust them accordingly to serve your wellbeing. By utilizing the techniques learned in yoga and meditation of being present, stilling the mind, and observing the breath, you are able to change your response to stressful situations in the workplace. Research shows that even a simple technique of slowing down and deepening the breath can have real effects on the wellbeing including calming the nervous system by improving the heart rate and controlling blood pressure, which in turn clears the mind.
By providing access to mindfulness through the practices of yoga and meditation, a company will see improvement in each individual employee’s performance therefore driving the company to further success as a whole. I personally have seen the positive impacts of this as I have started teaching weekly yoga classes at The Bachrach Group. The classes consist of physical poses and movement, breathing techniques, and meditations. I can attest to the improvements I have seen and heard from the employees who are participating, and anticipate continuing to see. There have been many studies done over the past few decades proving the positive impacts of these practices. Research is only ongoing from here so we will continue to see the supporting evidence on the effects of mindfulness in the workplace. I encourage all workplaces to take a deeper look into mindfulness and find a way to bring it into the workplace that suits that specific office or environment setting, whatever it may be. Stress and other ailments in the workplace will be continue to plague us as a society unless we take measures to counteract it, mindfulness has proven to be a powerful method of doing so.
If you are interested in speaking more about yoga and meditation in the workplace, feel free to send me a message on LinkedIn and we can connect to discuss further.
My goal as a Yoga Teacher is to help people reconnect with themselves through the power of the breath and mindfulness. To find peace and stillness within in this chaotic world in hopes of having a ripple effect, however small or large that may be. – Caitlin deLahunta
Caitlin deLahunta l Associate Director, Division of Architecture, Engineering, & Construction