Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive show that on average a person has 24 days off work due to workplace stress, depression and anxiety. Almost 26 million days were lost across the UK last year, equalling 448,000 individual cases.
Its commonplace for employers to ensure their staff are fit to work physically – manual handling training and DSE assessments are just a few of the precautions employers take, but mental health is often overlooked. Both employers and the employee have the responsibility to ensure mental health is taken care of, but more importantly isn’t stigmatised. Calling in sick is something we have all done from time to time, but calling in sad is somewhat harder.
Mindfulness in the workplace is a growing trend amongst companies, and goes a long way to reduce sickness, increase productivity and helps employees feel cared about. Here are our top mindfulness techniques to help improve workplace wellbeing.
Remove the taboo
First and foremost mental health should be an open discussion. It’s important that employees feel comfortable enough to say when they feel stressed or struggling with workloads. While in most situations limiting the workload may not be possible, if the employee feels understood and supported it will make it seem more manageable.
We’re all guilty of scoffing our lunch at our desks so we can keep working, but it’s detrimental for your stress levels and digestion. Create a small space away from screens where staff can eat and unwind – even for just 30 minutes. You’ll be amazed at how productivity will vastly improve after a little time away from work.
Sixty seconds of deep breathing and closed eyes is enough to reboot and refocus. Think of it like restarting the computer when the software crashes – it doesn’t take long but it makes a huge difference to performance.
Sitting at a desk for eight hours is terrible for your neck and back, but also has a negative effect on your mind. You can easily adapt a workstation that will encourage staff to move around by making small changes. For example, you could remove individual bins so each person must get up and walk to the bin across the room.
Please note, mindfulness is not a cure for stress, nor can it replace proper time management. It is a tool to use alongside good communication to help create a well-functioning workforce.