How do you bring mindfulness to life at work?


In every issue of PeopleTalk magazine, we ask CPHR BC & Yukon members from all across B.C. and the Yukon a question and get them to give us a brief answer. 

Today’s question: How do you bring mindfulness to life at work?

Here are five insights on how to bring play to the workplace. 

Susan Kleinschmidt, CPHR
Good Insights Strategy

Victoria, BC

I start each morning with a 10-minute guided meditation from the CALM app. This is a great way to start the morning and to check in with myself before the day begins. I read the “Morning Smile” for some good news and I make sure to eat my breakfast.

In my day-to-day work, I make sure to take a break at least every 90 minutes. I start this break by making sure my feet are placed solidly on the ground and then take three deep breaths. Then I will stretch and go get a glass of water.

I make sure that I take time to check in with myself throughout the day and have learned the importance of slowing down rather than just driving through the day. I am practicing mindfulness each day to really connect with myself and others, focusing on being less of a human doing and more of a human being.

Susan Kleinschmidt, CPHR is a senior strategy, leadership and corporate culture practitioner with over 25 years executive and international management consulting experience, and 5+ years senior executive experience working within the BC Government. Susan has a Postgraduate Diploma in Organizational Behaviour from the University of London, a BA in Economics from Queen’s University. She is Master Corporate Executive Coach and is certified to administer a wide variety of culture, leadership and psychometric tools –Myers Briggs, Firo-B, and Human Synergistics.


Joanie Clary, CPHR
Advisor, Learning and Development
City of Vernon
Vernon, B.C.

Mindfulness is being present. Mindfulness can be practiced at any time, wherever we are, whoever we are with, and whatever we are doing, by showing up and being fully engaged in the here and now.

Moving through my working day in the present moment places me in a zone of aliveness. I am neither preoccupied with the past or anxious about the future. I am attending to what needs my attention right here and now. I now understand this to be a zone of high performance. More is done with less, and stress drops away.

By being in this zone at work, you can actually access the power in this space, which brings about inspiration because you are making the decision to consciously focus on things that will enhance your experience, instead of taking away from it.

The City of Vernon is currently working on a research project that involves mindfulness as a dimension of building resilience.

Joanie Clary, CPHR is the Advisor, Learning and Development for the City of Vernon. Recently, she researched and wrote the learning and development Framework and is currently developing programs and initiatives into the next seven years. A lifelong learner, Clary began her career in the recreation, sport and wellness industry, possesses a Recreation Leadership Diploma, a Business Administration Diploma in HR Management, as well as leadership, coaching, and mentoring Certificates. She is passionate about neuroscience, quantum physics and ancient civilizations.


Giulia Lucchini
Director, Employee Relations and OD
Yukon College,
Whitehorse, YK

To me, mindfulness is the art of slowing down, getting off the hamster wheel, becoming more aware of ourselves and our surroundings in the present moment with kindness, curiosity and grace.

Learning to recognize, embrace and practice this sensation has been a radical wake up for me and my work.

Over the years, I have invited colleagues and teams to practice mindfulness individually and collectively by exploring uni-tasking, digital sabbaticals, breathing breaks, walking meetings, journaling and meditation. In my current role, I am intentional about bringing mindfulness when hosting conversations with others and providing people with a peaceful and spacious space to reflect deeply and connect with their inner wisdom. The most transformative approach to date has been encouraging people to practice and express gratitude by sending ‘gratitude nudges’ and asking reflective questions.

Mindfulness at work is a practice and what you practice you become; therefore, mindfulness starts with you.

Giulia Lucchini is a passionate leader who helps organizations create leadership, develop environments where people can be at their best and build cultures where empowerment and performance is the norm. A certified Business Manager, Integral Coach, LEAN Green Belt and Participatory Leadership Facilitator, Giulia comes with 10 years of organizational development experience gained in post-secondary education, government and railways services. Giulia is deeply connected with her “why”—leaving people, organizations and communities better than she found them.


Pamela Robinson, CPHR
Senior Labour Relations Education Officer
B.C. Nurses Union
Vancouver, B.C.

Many believe that mindfulness is meditation, however, there are many other practices. I find the simple act of reflection helps me immensely in staying curious and open minded. When presented with an idea contrary to my own—or when I have no idea what the other person is talking about or where they are coming from—I pause. I take a deep breath.

This breath gives me time to ponder other points of view. During this breath, I relax and engage my curiosity. I remind myself of what I am trying to achieve and then I invite the other person (people) to share more about what they want. Self reflection is key.

Approaching conflict resolution in a mindful way allows me to increase my understanding of the situation and clarifies what all parties want; and improves the ability to come to a resolution in a respectful manner.

Pamela Robinson, CPHR has a passion for justice, which has served her well in the realm of labour relations since 1990. Currently a senior labour relations officer at the British Columbia Nurses’ Union, her work in healthcare goes back nearly as far. For Pamela, mindfulness is a daily practice; she began practicing meditation when introduced to the Shambala teachings close to 20 years ago. She holds reflection to be an essential skill for problem solving in labour relations.


Sarah Bijl, CPHR
HR manager,
Interior Community Services
Kelowna, BC

In 2019, one of my goals has been to revitalize our wellness program. This has led our organization to join the Canadian Mental Health Associations “Not Myself Today” program which focuses on “self care” and mental health in the workplace.

This program has spurred us to incorporate ‘mindfulness’ in several ways. Each Monday morning a “weekly wellness wisdom” email is sent out to all staff—tidbits of wisdom aimed to encourage mindfulness before starting the week. We have made wellness webinars available and provided staff opportunities to experience 20 minutes of guided meditation.

It is common to go at full speed the whole day, sometimes barely taking a quiet break to eat. As HR professionals we need to encourage a shift in the mindset equates busy and no breaks with productivity—as it is rarely sustainable. Imagine instead having a chance to close your eyes, take a deep breath and be present—perhaps even returning to work more focused, grounded and productive.

Sarah Bijl, CPHR is the HR manager of Interior Community Services, a non-profit social service agency serving Kamloops and area. She obtained her Business Administration degree in human resources from Thompson Rivers University and her CPHR designation in 2011. She has been on the Central Interior Advisory Council for four years and is currently leading the Professional Mentoring Program portfolio.

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