In our busy and hectic work lives, we rarely have an opportunity to stop and rest. We have become a multi-tasking nation and the attitude of ‘keep on the treadmill’ is favoured significantly.
However, when many of us are tired (physically and/or emotionally), we rarely recognise our need for rest. This can result in poor productivity, concentration, judgement, mental fogginess and a lowered capacity for compassion towards ourselves and others, which can eventually lead to burn out and poor mental and physical heath.
If this is the case, what would happen if allowed ourselves time out for some rest?
Taking a break
The Harvard Business Review recently examined the benefit of breaks at work: they allow us to take a step back and make sure we’re accomplishing the right things in the right way.
When you work on a task continuously, it’s easy to lose focus and get lost in the weeds. In contrast, following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. It’s a practice that encourages us to stay mindful of our objectives…
Being Mindful at work
Over the last two decades, there has been a boom in research studies pertaining to the benefits of practicing mindfulness at work.
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by taking time out to focus one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It delivers numerous benefits to our health, physical and mental wellbeing.
A recent study, conducted by researchers Erik Dane and Bradley Brummel, indicated that in a dynamic work environment, engaging in mindfulness practices positively impacted job performance and decreased turnover. Mindfulness practices offer an antidote to all of the stress, rework, and errors that occur when our attention strays.
Being mindful allows us to check in with ourselves and hear those subtle signals from our bodies and minds that tell us it’s time to take a break.
From an employer’s perspective, encouraging employees to stop and focus on the present may seem contrary to achieving organisational goals. However, it can significantly reduce stress and anxiety and conflict, and increase resilience and productivity, while improving communication.