In the UK, we’re starting to talk more openly about mental health and wellbeing, which can only be a good thing – take the recent Mental Health Awareness Week for example. The Mental Health Foundation released a new report entitled Surviving or Thriving? which discussed the state of the UK’s mental health – and the overall results weren’t good.
Two thirds of those surveyed by NatCen said they’d experienced a mental health problem, with over a quarter saying they’d experienced panic attacks.
Despite the increased media discussion around mindfulness and employee mental health, it seems businesses could still be doing more. The Working Lives report by Aviva found that just 13% of employees in the UK feel there has been an increased focus on employee health and wellbeing in the last year.
What’s more, when asked if they felt their employer was doing enough to support their general wellbeing, two fifths (44%) said they were not. However, more than half (58%) said their work would be of a better quality if they received more support.
As this shows, now is the time to be proactive when it comes to employee wellbeing.
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
As BeMindful.co.uk explains, Mindfulness is a practice that increases our ability to deal with difficult situations as it changes the way we think and feel about our experiences, especially stressful ones.
A research study conducted by the University of Oxford examined the effects completion of the Be Mindful online course had on 273 people, with the participants enjoying, on average, a 58% reduction in anxiety levels, a 57% decrease in depression and a 40% drop in stress. As well as alleviating anxiety, depression and stress, mindfulness also enables employees to be more creative and increases productivity.
Not only do these effects have a positive impact on individuals, providing employers with happier and healthier employees, it can also help the company’s bottom line.
Mindfulness in the office
So, how can you and your staff reap the rewards of mindfulness in the office? As well as implementing policies that focus on mental health and wellbeing, you can also use your office design to encourage mindfulness in the workplace.
This can be achieved by incorporating things like natural light, ergonomic seating that helps promote good posture and dedicated chill-out spaces. Allow such spaces can be utilised by staff in any way they see fit — to meditate during their lunch break, participate in breathing spaces, or simply as an escape from their desks throughout the day.