Paul Mudd, co-founder of The Mudd Partnership Ltd, on mindfulness and managing your emotions in work.
Emotions are not something to be afraid of; we all have them and as a beating heart ensures life, so our feelings give that life meaning. However, we live in a world of constant motion and commotion: A Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world.
One in five of us report feeling unusually tired each and everyday – even following a full nights sleep. Whilst in the workplace, passion and purpose are back on the corporate agenda. They are the current boardroom buzzwords that tell us as employees exactly what’s expected of us in the workplace, as margins continue to be squeezed, further efficiency savings are sought and greater productivity demanded.
In fact, the number of people working excessive hours in the UK has risen by 15 per cent since 2010. Put another way, a total of 3.417 million people today are working very long hours, up by 453,000 over the past five years. And these figures do not include the self-employed. Perhaps then it’s not surprising that lost productivity resulting from stress related absences in the workplace is a very real and pressing problem for the UK economy.
What’s the loss?
Current losses are running at £23 billion per annum. Whilst the number of working days lost each year as a direct consequence total some 105 million, costing UK employers around £1.24 billion annually. And perhaps it’s not surprising that conflict in the workplace is on the rise too, with one study conducted across Europe, the U.S. and Brazil, suggesting that 85 per cent of employees at all levels experience some degree of conflict in the workplace.
The pressures on and it would seem emotions are running high – but it doesn’t have to be that way. In workplaces where mindfulness practices have been introduced there have been some quite startling results reported:
• 28% reduction in stress levels
• 20% improvement in overall sleep patterns
• 71% fall in the number of days taken for stress related conditions
• Productivity increases of 62 minutes per employee per week on average
• 80% increase in employees reporting greater job satisfaction, increased employer engagement and better working relations generally
Taken on their own these findings give a great deal of food for thought. However, when other businesses report a dramatic fall in their health care costs, or that share earnings have risen as a direct result of mindfulness improving employee relationships and increasing engagement, then we all need to take note. The evidence is unequivocal. Introducing mindfulness into the workplace helps employees to regulate and manage their emotions better. They have a calmer mind, enjoy better relationships, a clearer sense of purpose and greater job satisfaction.
They have greater tolerance, are better at resisting distractions and dealing with demanding workloads and tight deadlines. Quite simply, the practice of mindfulness helps them to direct their thoughts properly and control their emotions. Mindfulness can put the heart back into business. It can restore balance and increase self-awareness, self-management and calmness into the workplace.
So, let’s put wellbeing and well doing on the corporate agenda and bring mindfulness into the workplace. If you’re an employer, set aside time and room. Start to offer lunchtime mindfulness taster sessions, encourage staff to stop multi-tasking and instead focus on doing just one thing at a time and to take regularly breaks. Whilst if you’re an employee, why don’t you get together and set a ‘mindful challenge’ for your workplace. Start each day with a positive affirmation, keep daily gratitude journals and practice mindfulness breathing before undertaking difficult or repetitive tasks.
My book, ‘Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search of a Life more Meaningful’ has a lot more information on how to introduce mindfulness into the workplace and some simple exercises that you can start doing today. Just email email@example.com and let me know how your workplace ‘mindful challenge’ is going too.
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