3 Tips For Building Mindfulness Into Your Small Business

Spread the love

Modern life is full of distractions.

At any given moment, there are dozens of opportunities for a beep, a buzz or some other kind of alert to zap your concentration. We max out our schedules and so focusing on the task at hand — whether it is a meeting, work assignment, or even lunch with a friend — is truly difficult. While we’re doing one thing, our minds tend to wander, thinking about all the different things we still need to do. Multitasking is an expected part of the working world — even though it’s not effective and actually hurts our brains.

The French philosopher Simone Weil observed, “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” I believe we all want to move through the world giving the people we appreciate and the work we care about the attention they deserve. Ideally, we’d like our attention to be an everyday form of generosity, not a rare one.

On a personal level, my yoga practice has helped me be more mindful and bring it into other areas of my life. I’ve seen the benefits firsthand and it’s something I try to infuse in my business by creating space for people to pause.

Of course, I am not alone in recognizing the benefits of mindfulness in business — Target, Google and Ford are among some major companies that offer employees lessons on mindfulness.

A recent report (here’s the download link) from Whil, a consultancy that specializes in mindfulness, identifies the 18 best practices for implementing mindfulness at work. The report is based on a survey conducted over six months with 56 companies in an assortment of industries. It’s worth checking out all the best practices, but here are a few that stuck out to me and can be easily applied as a small business owner (without the budget of a Fortune 500 company):

1. It starts with leadership

“If executives are openly committed to the health and happiness of employees (including themselves), then the team will participate and aspire to live up to that level of commitment,” according to the report. This resonated deeply — as a leader, it’s on you to set an example. The survey found that 80 percent of respondents felt leaders should play a role in the creation and delivery of mindfulness training programs.

2. Mindfulness shouldn’t be a one-off

The report urges including mindfulness practices as part of a routine to create reliability and consistency. The survey found that 39 percent of companies introduced elements of mindfulness into work — beyond basic training. Here are two specific best practices:

Start meetings with 1-minute mindfulness practice. Settle the room. Meetings across Google begin this way to clarify intention for the meeting so it stays on track.

Set aside a “quiet room” to encourage employees to train. Think of it as a “mental training gym.” Adobe has a daily mindfulness sit at 3 p.m. to help create community.

3. Give it a name that resonates

Mindfulness training programs go by a variety of names. The report advises companies to use a name that fits with your culture. For example, while “Safety Awareness Training” might work well for the employees of a utility company, you might want to take a page from Google’s playbook, which calls it “Emotional Intelligence” and “Attention Training.” Interestingly, less than half of the survey respondents called it “Meditation.”

These are a few actionable steps you can take to position your workplace to be more mindful and help employees pay attention and stay focused when they need to — so that attention isn’t a rare generosity in your office.