Reasons to be mindful

By Caroline Coskry

Mindfulness. What is it and how can it help us in the workplace?

Well, Google says: “In its simplest form, mindfulness means awareness. Mindfulness can help to reduce stress, anxiety and conflict, increase resilience and emotional intelligence, while improving communication in the workplace.”

20 years ago, when I started work, it wasn’t something that people talked about. If you were stressed or had any problems, you left them at the door as you walked into the office. It was one of those unspoken rules, focus on the task in hand and don’t let yourself get distracted. So, how and why has it become so important suddenly to be more ‘mindful’ of our employees’ state of mind?

Every employer depends on having healthy and productive employees – that goes without saying. As technology has developed over the last 15 years, suddenly our lives have become faster, sometimes chaotic, with it becoming the ‘norm’ to answer calls and emails at all times of day.

With this, it’s no coincidence there has been an increase in those suffering with stress, anxiety or other mental health issues.  Rather than being a ‘taboo’ topic to brush under the carpet, we can now discuss it more openly, thanks to campaigns like Heads Together, led by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, encouraging us to have important conversations about mental health.

So, how do employers go about ensuring staff feel valued and supported at times when they need it the most?  My honest answer would be to listen, listen to your staff, take time to identify when they are struggling and support them where they need it.  That is my personal approach. If you want to attract and retain committed employees, it is your duty to prioritise their mental health and well-being.

Thankfully, there are many ways these days to provide additional support for staff. We have just booked our first ‘mindfulness’ workshop, due to be taken by a locally trained practitioner, Jennifer Russell.

Jenny says “Mindfulness is about paying attention, in the present moment with a non-judgemental attitude. This sounds very simple but when we are still we notice how much the mind wanders around “mindlessly“ planning , ruminating, dreaming , going fast forward or back. The workshop will introduce sitting, being mindful of the breath, to start to train the attention to be aware of one thing instead of darting around endlessly.”

I know the staff are really looking forward to the workshop and understanding how it might be able to help them. From my point of view, happier staff = happier Oracle, so it definitely works to be mindful!