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  • Laila Datoo

The Power of Workplace Mindfulness

I recently delivered an 8-week mindfulness programme for a fast-paced international event business. I've been analysing the results of the programme and the feedback and while I knew that the programme is proven and works in increasing mindfulness, self-awareness and happiness in participants, I was really blown away by the results of this particular group. "I felt that the programme was excellent. I felt that the open communication about how to understand and manage both mine and others feelings and emotions whilst maintaining a professional stance in the workplace is an invaluable skill which should be rolled out to everyone at Clarion! Laila was an incredible instructor who made each of us feel safe and secure through out the entire process, whilst maintaining a friendly and positive vibe!" Marketing Manager, Clarion Events

The course has had a huge impact on the attendees - seen both in their feedback and interactions during and after the programme as well as in some surveys and formal feedback I conducted.

First of all, how do you even measure mindfulness? It's important for businesses to have some form of ROI in order to understand and justify the cost. A lot of the benefits of mindfulness can be seen in people's work output, stress levels and resilience. Which is difficult to measure. I'll come onto that in a bit.

One of the most tangible ways is through a widely used awareness scale that explores participant's in the moment mindfulness awareness before and after the course. Of course it is dependent on their head space on the day they complete it - but the results are very insightful and generally highlight where a person is before using any mindfulness strategies and the difference in their awareness and perspective in situations afterwards.

The score of the MAAS survey is out of 6 - 1-2 shows a low level of mindfulness, 3-4 is average and 5+ shows a high level of mindfulness. In this group, the average increase was 1.3 so people's mindfulness awareness went up a whole point. Not only that but 50% of the group finished as a 5+ and 30% went up nearly 2 points. This goes to show that the programme had a significant impact on their self-awareness through applying mindful practices.

Additional feedback showed that:

Participants rated the programme 8.7/10 as being relevant and useful to their current role.

100% of participants would recommend the course to their colleagues.

So what do these numbers mean? How did the 8-week mindfulness programme actually change their thinking?

The other way of measuring the programme is through feedback surveys, anecdotal feedback and shared experiences. These are less tangible as we know and yet so powerful as people can SEE the difference it has had in their day to day life.

What were the biggest take-aways?

  • Learning to let things go, not to judge people so harshly

  • Acceptance, being in the moment, structuring values around organisation

  • Having more awareness of what I am doing day to day

  • Taking time out to breathe or consider

  • Knowing that I can control my reactions to things even if I can't control others

  • How to be a better communicator and to be mindful of both mine and others emotions

  • Particular ways of thinking around unexpected problems, and worries about the future

  • The course gave me some simple but effective tools to separate what I can and can't has dramatically changed my way of thinking. I have also incorporated meditation into my daily routine.

  • "It is what it is." Accepting that not all things are in my control, realising that and moving on

  • Setting values that are non negotiable and making sure those are met and worrying less about others

  • Play it back - better communication methods

All of these strategies and skills can transform the way you interact with colleagues and friends and family, how you interpret situations and how you build your own resilience to combat difficult times.

Some transformational changes I witnessed were shared by participants during the course of the programme.

- Approaching big events in a completely different way - feeling calmer, carving out pauses during the day and overall feeling less stressed and overwhelmed. The team agreed that this impacted the success of the event.

- Improving interactions and communication with loved ones - having a more mindful awareness of each others feelings led to a better understanding, and a more harmonious home life!

- More positive communication with difficult colleagues - seeing their perspective and learning how to approach them without taking it personally.

As well as this, all participants learnt to integrate mindfulness practices into their daily lives - creating a regular habit that can support them in the future in both happy and stressful times.

The most powerful techniques were:

  • Breathing techniques

  • Taking time to appreciate how others may be feeling

  • Structuring my weeks with my goals and organisation

  • Noticing stress before it goes too far

  • Being more mindful of my reactions to others and also continue to meditate. This has really helped relieve some of the anxiety that can build up during the day.

  • Meditate + ways of approaching unexpected situations/changes

  • Active/ mindful listening

So how do you think a mindfulness programme could transform your workplace? Are there skills and strategies you think would be useful for you and your team to implement? I hope this post gives you something new to think about!

"The 8 week mindfulness course exceeded all of my expectations - I was a little skeptical about the help it could offer at first but I have found it not only to be incredibly useful at managing stress in the workplace but has also given me a different perspective in my personal life too. Thank you so much to Laila who took us on this journey - I will use many of the techniques moving forwards, thank you so so much!"

Amy Miller, Group MD, Energy Council

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