At Collingwood, our approach has always been to encourage a work-life balance and to create an environment that our team love working in. This includes facilitating flexible working arrangements and creating a mature environment where people are empowered to do what works for them and what’s right for the business. Given that we spend so much time at work, being in a positive environment where people feel at ease and empowered must have a huge impact on our lives and, by default, on our overall health.
In order to deepen the level of support that we provide our team and to incorporate our personal interest in all things related to mindfulness, we consulted with our mindfulness coach to help us develop our mindfulness strategy. As part of this, we now have monthly mindfulness sessions. These are made up of a group session which incorporates a discussion and a guided meditation, with the option of one-to-one discussions. Our group discussions are varied, from talking about specific events which have had an impact on us and our understanding of this to discussing the Chimp Paradox (Professor Steve Peters 2012). Our discussions range from personal to professional, whatever is important to the group at that time. Our mindfulness coach is also available to provide one-to-one support if needed.
We’ve been doing these sessions for 12 months now and, over this time, have seen a big impact on the team. Everyone in our team is practicing mindfulness within their everyday lives to some extent. When asked whether mindfulness is benefiting them the answer from everyone is yes. In terms of the positive impact mindfulness is having, people report that they are sleeping better, understanding their family, friends and colleagues’ behaviour better and understanding their own triggers. It allows them to step back from the stresses of every day life, look at what’s happening from the outside in and reflect. The sharing of experiences and discussing solutions has had a big impact as has the ability to stop, reflect and re-focus.
What difference does this make to my bottom line you are probably asking? The success of any business is directly impacted by the people within that business. If they are calm, aware, resilient, more focused and less stressed that will have a massive impact on the productivity within the business, the retention of employees, levels of sickness and the performance of the business overall. Indeed, we have found that our team is working together better than they ever have which is having a positive impact on our performance. We all understand ourselves and each other better which means that we can support each other much more effectively. Our sickness levels have reduced, and our retention of employees has improved. The support that we all provide each other is resulting is more of a collaborative approach where we strive for each other to succeed and support each other through challenging periods or situations.
All in all, I could not envisage being part of a business which did not have mindfulness as part of its core strategy. However, I would stress that it should not be compulsory for everyone in a business, it needs to be available to those who have an interest in it and who benefit from it. I appreciate that it’s not for everyone and that’s ok. Perhaps just find out a bit more about it and how it can help then go from there.