How Practicing Mindfulness Helps Firms Growby
As a firm leader, you're likely always seeking growth strategies for your practice. But did you know mindfulness isn't just a way to manage work-related stress? It's also a proven method to increase productivity: both yours and that of your staff members. Mark Pierce explains.
The University of Berkeley defines mindfulness as a state of being aware of our actions and thoughts through a gentle lens. The world today seems to be rife with people who think only of themselves. In business, we see this with firms that put profits above their employees or their clients. However, these types of companies don't last too long. SHRM notes that mindfulness can lead to better returns for a business, in addition to reducing a manager's blood pressure. But how does a business build mindfulness into its practices? Is something like this worth investing in over the long term?
The Benefits of Mindfulness
Incorporating mindfulness into a business is a significant step since it might require a company to rethink its corporate culture completely. As with most other things in business, a cost-benefit analysis is necessary. So, what potential benefits does mindfulness introduce to the company? There are quite a few, including:
Ø Lower chance of employee burnout: One of the everyday things that plague businesses is employee burnout. Accountants, for example, have to be constantly aware of the state of client accounts, meaning they don't have the time to relax, even in their off-hours. Mindfulness can help to relieve this state of constant tension and offer resilience to employees.
Ø Increased productivity and engagement: Mindfulness can refresh an employee's perspective of their job and make them feel more necessary. This feeling is usually accompanied by a renewed sense of purpose, leading to better productivity.
Ø Boosting creativity and innovation: Mindfulness can help managers primarily deal with being more creative with their problem-solving tactics. Coming up with new innovative ways to do things that don't lead to negative mental fallout can develop a potent edge for many companies, allowing them to outpace their competitors.
These benefits are only a few of the more common ones a mindful company can benefit from. But how does a business create a more mindful work environment?
Rebuild Company Culture with Mindfulness At Its Core
Company culture shapes everything that managers and employees do. It's how the company sees itself and how employees view the hierarchy. Unfortunately, because company culture is usually developed organically, there's usually a lot of issues for a company to work out in its structure. However, one of the best things about corporate culture is its ability to change and adapt. Companies can potentially change their culture by integrating practices into their employees' and managers' work paradigm. Mindfulness is one of those introductions that could significantly change how the business deals with customers and how employees deal with each other.
Accounting firms, for example, have a bad rap as being soulless corporations that only think about the bottom line. Mindfulness flips this stereotype on its head. Employees can interact with each other and build a culture of helping others out. The office's corporate culture might even lead to a change in how the office feels as well. Once mindfulness starts seeping into a workplace, it tends to feel less oppressive and more open to change and innovation. Employees would begin focusing on solutions and not problems.
Institute Mindfulness Training
In addition to focusing on a company's internal culture, training regiments dedicated to mindfulness can provide a valuable way to introduce these ideas to staff. Mindfulness isn't the default setting for most employees, especially in cutthroat industries like accounting and banking. Training is a vital part of helping employees come to terms with being mindful throughout the day. In addition to granting them the skills to have more mindful interactions with clients and other employees, some training programs also give real-world examples as teaching elements.
Mindfulness training needs to go hand in hand with the culture shift within a company if the plan is to succeed. Most employees might not see the need for mindfulness and might avoid incorporating those behaviors into their regular activities. Training helps to highlight how mindfulness impacts them and can make their lives easier. Trying to institute corporate culture without the framework of mindfulness training might not give the results the business desires.
Introduce Mindfulness to Leadership
Employees are crucial to having a more mindful business, but leadership needs to provide an example for them to follow. If a business tries to focus only on its employees when it comes to leadership, it's unlikely that the practices will filter into the company culture. Employees need leadership to fall back on and lead by example. To this end, leadership training courses focusing on mindfulness can go a long way towards fulfilling its goal of incorporating mindfulness into its business structure. What's more, as leaders interact with other industries, they will show those values, making the business an attractive partner.
Build Mindfulness Into the Company's Schedule
Being mindful takes time. If a business is focused on corporate output, it can't give its employees the time they need to develop this mindset. However, scheduling things like breathing breaks or moments to just relax for a few minutes can make a world of difference to an overstressed employee. Because employees are always on the go, they tend to be very tightly wound. Without the relaxation of a few minutes here and there, they may significantly shorten their work lifetimes and maybe even lead to long-term health complications.
Incorporating mindfulness doesn't even need to create new break times in between the work schedule. Instead, it could be a gentle reminder that employees should take care of themselves with a few minutes of relaxation amongst their scheduled work. Reflecting and meditation can also help an employee find purpose and direction within the company's structure. These small things are not impactful in the grander scheme of things, but added together, they can bring about change that benefits the company over the long term.
The Role of Mindfulness in Twenty-First Century Business
For the last fifty years, businesses have been focused on corporate productivity. While it has led to soaring profits, it has come at the expense of the health and well-being of employees and managers alike. However, in this new millennium, it's vital to look at the holistic picture. A business that has spent years training an employee or a manager might miss out on years of service simply by denying them a few minutes daily to recenter themselves. Managers can miss out on lucrative contracts and partnerships by being too focused on one idea at the expense of others. Mindfulness can change how a business runs, but the results it gets may potentially be better. The world needs companies like these. Adapting to this new paradigm will allow longer working relationships with employees and better interactions with clients and partners.
Mark Pierce, CPA and attorney, is owner of Wyoming-based Cloud Peak Law Group. He has been an attorney for over 30 years. He graduated from the University of Wyoming with a degree in accounting (with honors) and passed the CPA examination shortly after. He previously served as a...