COVID-19: How mindfulness can bring relief to employees
Beyond the physical symptoms, the effects of COVID-19 can also be felt in the general well-being of workers. Since the government’s announcements, a number of employees are now working from home or have seen their work habits change within a few hours. How can business leaders help their teams deal with this new reality? We believe that mindfulness is part of the solution.
At CASACOM, we practice mindfulness on a regular basis. Before each team meeting or important exchange, we conduct a guided meditation of a few minutes to allow us to refocus and even increase efficiency. We also organize group meditations on Mondays, to start the week well, and on Wednesdays, to navigate it with strength.
In uncertain times such as right now, mindfulness can be key to increasing the level of resilience and reducing employee anxiety. To find out why and especially how to make mindfulness part of your work environment, we spoke with our coach, Lucie-Anne Fabien, president of Metaconscience, who helps companies incorporate mindfulness into their business practices. This is the fruit of our learning.
How can mindfulness help your employees?
Mindfulness techniques allow the brain to maintain access to the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that is responsible for complex cognitive functions such as decision-making, executive control (related to executive functions) and reasoning.
However, in situations such as the COVID-19 crisis, this part of the brain is particularly in demand while employees must adapt to a changing situation where innovation and creativity must take precedence in order to succeed in organizing themselves differently.
Mindfulness techniques, which consist of bringing your mind to the “here and now” through short meditations or techniques of attentive presence, can help employees reconnect with the part of their brain that allows rational decision-making and, in general, can increase their positive feelings about the situation.
What practices can be implemented at this time?
It is said that exceptional situations require exceptional resources: so what should we do now? The first step is to identify employees who experience acute anxiety. These employes might stand out because they make decisions that are too fast and/or irrational or they might have a faster response rate than usual. These employees must be referred to internal or external support resources, if required.
Daily virtual meditations can be planned andemployees can be invited to participate as a team. A good way to implement this habit is to ask team leaders to participate to create a ripple effect.
How to keep employees fully conscious while working remotely?
Simon Sinek, the renowned British speaker and motivator, recommends that team meetings be held every Monday, where the only item on the agenda is to share the team’s feelings. In turn, each employee indicates how she/he feels for a maximum of two to three minutes. This allows team members to talk about what’s on their minds at a given moment and reduce the tension that may have built up over the preceding days.
Also, begin virtual meetings with a guided meditation or by planning a minute of concentration on your breath before indicating the purpose and intention of the meeting. This can be very useful when team members are not at their best and the session is to be used to find original ideas, for example
As crisis management is one of our areas of expertise, CASACOM is well placed to know that turbulent times call for an appropriate response. In a situation such as the one we are living through right now, it is of the utmost importance to properly communicate what’s going on, as explained in our most recent blog post. After that, it is important to accompany employees in this transition process, and mindfulness can help. The CASACOM team has already implemented these recommendations into its existing practices—want to get on board with us?