One Minute Mindfulness in the Workplace

In 2016, Rowben Consulting partnered with Smiling Minds.

It’s undoubtedly one of the best moves we’ve ever made.

A wonderful workshop facilitated by Smiling Minds – a non-profit organisation that also delivers free web and app-based mindfulness programs to the broader public – opened our eyes to the world of mindfulness.

As a result, we introduced our distinctive egg-shaped chair as a place to de-stress and reset throughout the day.  Sitting proudly in our office ‘break out’ area, it continues to be regularly used by members of our team.

But after we’ve introduced mindfulness to our teams, how do we continue to encourage the practice?  While we can offer subscriptions to apps and extremely comfortable seating options, the reality remains – as much as we might like to, we can’t force people to practice mindfulness at work or at home.

For us at Rowben Consulting, we’ve tried to keep the practice front-of-mind to encourage its use.  This has meant discussing Smiling Minds during our team meetings and reminding each other to use the chair and take a break whenever we need to.

In January of this year, I decided to do a bit more.  After reflecting on how easy it is to be distracted by the many tasks we have on our plates, I wanted encourage us all to be more focussed during meetings.

So I asked the team if they’d join me in completing a Smiling Minds One Minute Exercise at the start of each internal meeting.  The purpose of this exercise?  To focus us on our senses and bring us into the present.

We’ve now been doing these exercises for the past four weeks.  How has it gone?  I’ll admit, at first there were a few giggles.  Yet as time has gone on, we’ve found it’s just become second nature.

But I wanted to find out the team’s thoughts.  Has it helped the productivity and mood of our meetings?  Is this something the team want to continue?  Where to now?  We conducted an anonymous survey to find out.

Here’s what the team said:

  • I genuinely believe the mindfulness exercises have had a positive impact on all of my meetings. It’s a good way to redirect your focus away from worrying about the past or future and concentrate on the now. It also helps everyone to relax and focus at the same time, and I think this makes everyone in the meeting a bit more pragmatic.
  • The mediation has been useful. There always tends to be a bit of banter before meetings – which is good – but then the one minute reset works well to focus my mind on the content of the meeting before it begins.
  • The session helps me not to be distracted or overthink other events that happened before the meeting.
  • I found the mindfulness sessions really ground me before meetings. I feel like it gives us a minute to break and move forward, rather than being pre-occupied.  I think it makes the meeting more efficient.
  • The one minute mindfulness has not only improved the meetings, but also noticeably improved everyone’s mood in the office.
  • Taking a minute to breathe, unwind and focus my attention makes me feel in the moment and think more critically about the decisions at hand. Instead of my mind being in a few places at once, I’m able to concentrate on the current situation with greater depth.

Rowben Consulting has voted and the consensus was overwhelming.  One Minute Mindfulness is here to stay.

By Tracee Rowe