Tips for creating a mindful workplace from a former monk

Brought to you by Caesars Entertainment

What does it mean to have a mindful culture in the workplace? The central component is that employees feel like they’re respected, cared for and that their opinion is valued. A paycheck is good, but it’s not always enough. Here are some key aspects to cultivate and develop a positive workplace environment where employees feel secure and want to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Appreciation and Recognition

hands holding 'thank you' note

Everyone wants to be appreciated and recognized for the work they have put in. There is nothing more discouraging than putting your heart and soul into a project and the managers or supervisors don’t appreciate the efforts that were undertaken. This approach is not going to be sustainable because it will make workers want to jump ship and look for other opportunities where they are made to feel like their hard work matters.

So, if we hope to have a loyal employee base and improve retention, we will need to make sure that we are sufficiently and on a consistent basis appreciating the endeavors of the workforce and encouraging colleagues to celebrate each other’s success and not feel threatened by it.

There are many ways to express appreciation to our workforce and it doesn’t always have to be expensive. Simple things such as:

  • Verbal or handwritten thank you note: Be specific in your appreciation. This lets them understand that you took notice of their unique contribution.
  • Lunch: everyone likes a free lunch and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to express gratitude.
  • Time off: Giving someone a half or full day off can be much appreciated by the employee, allowing them extra time to spend with family and friends.
  • Monetary compensation: Who wouldn’t love a little extra cast for a job well done?
  • Recognition in a company newsletter: This of course would require a significant contribution by the employee, but is sure to make their day when their accomplishments are made publicly known.

Celebrating the Success of Colleagues

When a workplace becomes highly competitive, everyone becomes so focused on their own goals and achievements that it becomes increasingly difficult to appreciate the contributions being made by their colleagues and coworkers. A mindful workplace culture encourages employees to appreciate the contributions and positive qualities of each other.

When this happens, there will naturally be higher levels of trust between team members and teams and this will facilitate collaboration between individuals because no one is feeling threatened by someone else’s success.

Mindfulness in the Workplace

bridge next to water

Mindfulness can provide tremendous benefits for our mental health. A mindful practice isn’t limited to sitting down, closing your eyes and meditating. It includes how we react and respond to people we don’t get along with and how we handle stressful and conflicting situations.

A steady mindfulness practice not only helps us lower our stress levels but also decreases our tendency to react in delicate situations. A simple practice of taking a few deep breaths throughout the day before a potentially challenging meeting can help clear the clutter of the mind and calm our emotions so we are more prepared to deal with whatever is going to come next. A simple three-minute routine one can follow is:

  • Take 10 deep breaths, filling your lungs completely and exhaling.
  • Feel grateful for something that’s currently happening in your life and something that happened in the past.
  • Appreciate one colleague that you have a positive relationship with and one you have a challenging relationship with. This is a great way to shift our mindset towards people we don’t get along with so well.

Changing culture is not something that’s going to happen overnight and it’s not going to be easy. It will require determination on the part of leadership and the buy-in from the rest of the team. However, if we want our organization to thrive and have longevity, creating a mindful and positive workplace culture will need to become an essential part of the journey.

man with glasses smilingPandit Dasa is a keynote speaker, former monk and author of the book, “Mindfulness for the Wandering Mind: Life-Changing Tools for Managing Stress and Improving Mental Health at Work and in Life.”  

This article appears in the September 2023 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine here.