Tom rounds up our Headspace at Work fortnight
Our time at work takes up such a large part of our lives. How we treat our mind, which is always with us, has a massive impact on how we perform at our desk, in the boardroom or in any task we do for a living.
Mindfulness and our practice through meditation has been scientifically shown to positively affect the mind whether it's gaining focus during creative tasks or during times of stress. What's more though, it's been shown to help if anxiety creeps up on the commute into work before that important meeting or if we're struggling to switch off when our head hits the pillow at night.
Even though this scientific evidence is crucial, it's just as important to remember that mindfulness-based meditation is a practice and that we have to keep it up in order for any of these benefits to come about.
People are busy. Organisations are busy places. Demands and that to-do list can be difficult to change, but the office environment and the control we're given to step away from these demands is less so. In fact, one very important part in the equation of what causes work stresses and strains is control (1) and giving employees autonomy over their work environment.
So, how can we encourage this practical element in organisations?
It comes down to the culture and values of the organisation. First, change within organisations starts from the top, and research shows this (2). Leaders and managers should be seen personally implementing the change they believe in and want to see in their organisation. This involves starting conversations about taking breaks at work and practices such as meditation and crucially, being open to them.
Another important part, as already mentioned, is autonomy. Employers should be creating spaces in office environments to allow their employees to escape the office bustle. These could include quiet corners, or meeting rooms 'blocked out' for times during the day.
These spaces then not only become places for employees to take time out, but a sign of organisations who value their wellbeing and autonomy. These healthier employees are then able to give back more as a result.
Try Take 10 today or have a look at our page for Wellbeing at work .
Tom - Head of Research at Headspace
(1) Taris, T. & Schreurs, P. (2009). Well-being and organisational performance: An organisational-level test of the happy-productive worker hypothesis. Work & Stress, 23, 2. 120-136.
(2) Kotter, J. (2012). The Key to Changing Organisational Culture. Accessed online from: www.forbes.com/sites/johnkotter/2012/09/27/the-key-to-changing-organizational-culture/