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Tips For Mindfulness At The Virtual Workplace

With physical presence removed from workplace, all that employees bring to work today is the mind. Being mindful, present and able to respond immediately and appropriately to work challenges, requires a focus on mental wellbeing & mindfulness, say experts

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The term ‘remote working’ has gained new life during the pandemic. As many working professionals were forced to telecommunicate and e-meet since early last year, collusion of work and family life has presented itself. This has led to professionals dealing with domestic duties, childcare, personal relationships, and family demands alongside work deadlines, emails, phone calls and piling inboxes.

The virtual workspace allows no respite for those who ‘work from home’ and ‘work for home.’ Experts believe the overwhelming pressures can create an inability to unplug and disconnect mentally from one’s job and result in lower productivity, lessened motivation, increased stress, and decreased mental health.

With such distractions hampering productivity it is not uncommon to turn to mindfulness and prioritising positive mental health behaviour to cope with work-life stressors. Mindfulness has recently garnered particular interest in academic and corporate circles alike.

“With physical presence removed from the workplace, all that employees bring to work today is the mind. Being mindful, present and able to respond immediately and appropriately to work challenges, requires a focus on mental wellbeing and mindfulness,” explains Prakriti Poddar, the global head for mental health and wellbeing at RoundGlass.

When initiated by the upper echelons in the organisation, mindfulness as a technique can cascade through the ranks and demonstrate better and mindful productivity.

The consultant psychologist and executive director of Cadabams Group, Neha Cadabam, is of the opinion that being mindful translates into increased awareness of one’s surrounding and prepares a manager or a leader to be more empathetic and understanding, thus enabling her or him to lead their teams better.

Speaking for managers in particular, Poddar adds, “The manager mindset typically focused on productivity, needs to be reset to enablement. Today’s manager has to enable rather than manage and focus their attention on how to help their team be effective and efficient, despite the limitations of remote working.”

While the awareness of mental wellness is steadily rising in corporate India, the question that now culminates is applying practical and actionable steps on a smaller scale to consciously construct a mindful ecosystem.

The experts offer some tips that can be applied to remote working in order to cultivate a culture of mindfulness.

1. A Mindful Check-in

Acknowledging the stressors in one’s environment and plugging into one’s emotions at work goes a long way in building awareness of the inside and the outside world. Hourly check-ins on ‘what is one feeling?’ or ‘what is one thinking?’ are questions that Cadabam recommends. Simple exercises such as taking deep breaths and allowing oneself to become aware of their surroundings and sensations in the body also help.

2. A Grounding Exercise

A grounding exercise involves a person identifying five things they can see, four things they can feel, three things they can hear, two things they can smell and one thing they can taste. A cognitive activity that involves all senses helps draw attention to the present and channels productivity.

3.  Walk away

Taking mindful steps around one’s house or in one’s garden allowing the mind to recuperate from digital and screen fatigue. The objective is to enable a conscious switch-off mode from the screen completely.

4.  Boundaries

While establishing boundaries between work and home life is often stated, a clear demarcation of physical boundaries is also important. “No lunch at workstation and no work at eating stations. Be mindfully aware of the food you consume. Focus on the taste, the smell, the texture of every bite you take and switch yourself off from work,” Cadabam concludes.

The sharp focus on mindfulness has become the key towards increasing productivity at workplace, and experts unanimously recommend to employ any tips that are geared to impact this in a positive direction.