Mindfulness Yields Unexpected Workplace Outcomes

I’m not going to talk about the benefits of workplace mindfulness. If you haven’t seen such articles and research, there is plenty of good reading to catch up on. Instead, I’d like to share something you may not have heard before, an unexpected (and wonderful) result from group mindfulness practice at work.

When I began leading mindfulness practices in my workplace back in 2011, something steadily emerged in addition to the much-talked-about benefits of this practice—a sense of community emerges and does so to this day.

We Are All Human After All
When co-workers file into the meeting room where we enjoy our group meditation together, something is very different. We enter the room not as bosses, subordinates, project members, administrators or vice presidents.  We enter as people—people who are all seeking the same thing individually and at the same time.

After awhile, the same faces keep showing up in the meditation room at work.  A sense of familiarity blossoms with people you have never met.  Many people don’t even know each other, but they have their group meditation practice in common.

A Reawakening of Community
In the hallways, they exchange a friendly hello when they hadn’t previously. In meetings, they might remark, “Oh, I see you in meditation class.” An undercurrent community has begun, although not planned. People strike up conversations inside and outside the meditation room, sometimes about meditation or mindfulness, and sometimes not.

This makes logical sense as community is best defined as a sense of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common values and interests. It creates a level-playing field for participants and it doesn’t matter what role you have in the organization.

As part of the community, you feel a sense of common purpose and support.

HR Brings Humanity (Back) to Work
What a revelation, to experience each other at work as people.  We are more than just our roles, hierarchy, performance and deadlines. We are all people with stories, ups and downs, living with life’s challenges.

All of this brings us back to why HR might want to consider a mindfulness practice at work. The focus of the HR profession is people. Business today is challenging and stress-inducing. So what if you did something that allows the human side to be more present in our daily work lives?

HR can be the catalyst to raise the opportunity for an ongoing mindfulness practice at work and does not necessarily need to be in charge of actually leading such a program. Providing facilitator training to volunteer employees who already have personal mindfulness meditation experience is another way to implement without a lot of your time. This has no ongoing operating costs and you will find that these employees are motivated to help their co-workers.

Don’t miss the free How HR Can Start a Great Workplace Mindfulness Practice webinar with Wendy Quan on June 19, 2018.

Wendy Quan provides mindfulness meditation facilitator training and certification online courses which are available to CPHR BC & Yukon members at a preferred rate. Find out more. Also, CPHR BC & Yukon member can access her on-demand sessions Mindfulness for Busy HR Professionals and How to Bring Mindfulness into Your Workplace with No Ongoing Operating Costs free!

Wendy Quan, founder of The Calm Monkey, is an industry leader, helping organizations implement mindfulness meditation programs and combining change management techniques to create personal and organizational change resiliency. She trains meditators to become workplace facilitators.

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