At work, we are continually being asked to do two things; be fast and be creative. But these two things don’t necessarily go hand in hand. They contradict each other. What happens in most workplaces where they are under a lot of pressure is that they turn on autopilot or tap into their habitual ways of working. When we don’t have the time or the space to be creative, we miss out on opportunities to reframe a problem and see new potential solutions.
If you are looking to develop your team’s creativity, you need to give them space and time. Mindfulness training can influence creativity and improve problem-solving. It can give the team the ability to observe problems and tasks as if seeing them for the first time. It can open the door to more original ideas and innovation.
The responsibility for fostering a culture of mindfulness is both the companies and the individual employee. Mindfulness is contagious if you are a mindful leader, you will champion mindfulness practices throughout your team or company. But the employee needs to be open to trying mindfulness practices, without force or feeling like they “have to”.
So what can companies do to develop mindful teams and cultures?
Add mindfulness to your corporate values
Develop a mindful culture by making it one of your corporate values, linking the benefits of mindfulness to your other corporate values like trust, communication, innovation. Encourage all managers and people leaders to embrace mindfulness and give them the tools to speak about it with their team. Creating awareness among employees about mindfulness will encourage them to embrace it and even take action to learn more about it.
Offer mindfulness programmes
Offer your employees mindfulness-based programmes at work that show them how to apply the benefits to all areas of their life, including their home life and relationships. Making it relevant to both work and home will give employees all the benefits of mindfulness, and it will create additional value for the individual team members. Having a corporate programme supports all employees on their mindfulness journey and opens the door for them to explore creativity at work. Asking them which habits get in the way of them doing their job better or how they would add something new or creative to their role can start a conversation and can turn those habitual habits off.
You may already offer some form of additional resources to your employees through e-learning or in-house lunch and learns, and these may be part of your induction process. Look at adding supplementary resources that focus on creativity and mindfulness; you could add meditation aids, wellbeing lunch and learns, retreats, yoga, and so on. All of which will add to your employees’ overall happiness at work.
Allow them to slow down
Create a culture where employees can slow down for a few minutes and give them a chance to see things through fresh eyes. For example, which they get to work all for a brief settling in period, allowing them to become fully present at their desk. You can also allow a settling-in period at meetings. You might even provide wellness rooms, a quiet place where employees are away from their work so that they can sit, meditate or just take a few deep breaths.