Two Ways to Create a More Mindful Workplace Today

Author: Casey Gale       

We are hearing a lot about mindfulness  — the act of being present and purposeful in our actions, including our actions at work, as a way to work smarter, rather than harder.

In The Mind of the Leader: How to Lead Yourself, Your People, and Your Organization for Extraordinary Results, authors Rasmus Hougaard and Jacqueline Carter offer advice on how organizations can incorporate mindfulness into company culture.

“Leading a mindful organization can be challenging,” write Hougaard and Carter, who both work for Potential Project, a global provider of leadership and organizational effectiveness solutions based on training the mind. “A mindful organization is one where mindfulness is embedded in the culture, where it becomes part of the DNA. In a mindful culture, work is organized in a way that is conducive to being present with one another, being focused on the task at hand, and having awareness of self and others.”

Here are two of the authors’ tips for creating focused workspaces — we think they will help create more mindful business events, too:

1. Create more focus at meetings Many of us can agree that some work meetings tend to feel unfocused. In fact, according to The Mind of the Leader, a 3M Meeting Network survey of executives reported that 25 to 50 percent of meeting time was viewed as wasteful. What can we do to fix this?

First, Hougaard and Carter suggest taking a moment to (quietly) settle in. “Invite everyone to join in one minute of silence before getting started,” they write. “This simple one minute can be key to helping everyone mentally arrive, versus just being there physically, in the meeting with a little more focus and presence.” From there, the meeting leader can ask for a collective agreement that phones and laptops are put away for dedicated meeting time, Hougaard and Carter write. “This helps everyone stay more on task and engaged.”

2. Promote physical movement Encouraging people to get up and move can lead to a more productive day, according to Hougaard and Carter. Organizations can promote physical fitness in a number of ways — for instance, a pharmaceutical company the authors work with has meeting rooms where tables and chairs are replaced with treadmills to allow attendees to walk while they talk. “Movement brings better blood circulation and thereby more oxygen and energy to the brain,” Hougaard and Carter write. “Getting up, getting out, or getting moving can also provide a new perspective on work, enabling enhanced creativity.”

For more about mindfulness and meetings, see our CMP Series story, “Bringing Mindfulness to Meetings.”