How to be mindful at work

Soothe those office stresses and connect with coworkers to create a fulfilling work environment.

In his book Mindfulness at Work, Dr Stephen McKenzie explores the principles of mindfulness and the role it plays in reducing stress, improving productivity and boosting enjoyment at work.

“Mindfulness can help us to transform our working lives into something that really fulfils us, rather than merely something that we have to do or that we are paid to do,” Dr McKenzie says.

There are seven general mindfulness principles that Dr McKenzie suggests can be introduced into our workplace, helping to shape our everyday reality into the one we want to be in.

1. Self-knowledge

Allowing ourselves the time to learn and discover who we really are – rather than identifying ourselves with who we think we are – can help us enormously in our work. Mindfulness empowers us to understand that we all have a unique talent to offer the world, and discovering who we really are and how we can best express it will influence the work we do.

2. Unity

“We all know that a champion team will beat a team of champions any day or night, and this is because of their unity,” Dr McKenzie says. By being mindful of our connection to others and recognising those around us, we can all help each other to work better and more enjoyably.

3. Truth

At the heart of truth is open-mindedness. Be prepared to be proven wrong, embrace ideas that aren’t your own and acknowledge that truth can be found anywhere.

4. Awareness

How often do we do one task while thinking about something else? Scan emails while eating food, make phone calls while glancing over paperwork… How much better, more engaged and more resonant would aspects of our life be if we maintained our awareness and consistently connected with what we were doing? The workplace is a great opportunity to practise being present and not distracted.

5. Service

“Our motivation is the key to how well we will do in any job, and it’s vital that our motivation is to meet the needs of the person with whom or for whom we are working, rather than meeting our own ideas about our needs at the expense of the person we are serving,” Dr McKenzie says. It’s a common belief that giving is better than receiving, and giving service with attention, care and generosity is the most rewarding.

6. Reason

Reason can play a key role in our job by helping us work in line with everyone’s best interests, not just our idea of our own best interest. Act on the basis of reason; don’t act out of selfishness.

7. Wonder

Experiencing all aspects of our working life as if they were brand new can be a productive, enjoyable approach to our job. Instead of dragging ourselves through the day and seeing everything as a repeat of the day before, search for the wonder in what we do and the people we work with.

Mindfulness at Work: How to avoid stress, achieve more and enjoy life by Dr Stephen McKenzie is available through Exisle Publishing.


How well is your workplace?

Medibank and Deloitte are lifting the lid on workplace wellbeing in Australia. Get insights from the Wellbeing@Work Index.

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