Here in the UK we spend an inordinate amount of time in the workplace. If you were to look at the numbers we would find the following:
- The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. (i)
- 25% of employees say work is their main source of stress and 40% say their job is “very or extremely stressful”(ii)
- Britons spend a total of 12 years at work during their lifetimes, and 15 months of that will be over and above their contracted hours. (iii)
- Finally, taken from The Telegraph (Online), here are some interesting stats about your working lifetime that are worth pondering:
- 1 office romance
- 2 bad bosses
- 3 heavy bust-ups/arguments
- 6 job roles
- 6 different companies
- 9 pay rises
- 94 sick days
- Late for work 141 times
- 705 minor disagreements
- 9,024 hours of overtime
- 29,328 cups of tea
As you can see we do spend a good chunk of time in the workplace and it is certainly INTERESTING. Question to ask however, is “how much of this time do we spend mindfully?“
As we have already established mindfulness is the practice of being in this moment, seeing it for what it is in a non-judgemental way and without the personal layering of opinion, past experience or future expectation. It is about being Here and Now.
The challenge we have is that work, more often than not, ceases to provide a fertile ground from which mindfulness can grow. We often battered by the wind that is generated by deadlines. We are rained upon by the management hierarchy and we are particularly drenched when there is pressure upon them to deliver the services. Mindfulness, can struggle to flourish and grow in that kind of work environment due to the pressures and conditions, perceived or actual, that occur in the workplace. Or so it would seem.
In reality, The work environment is a perfect environment for mindfulness practice to be undertaken. It provides more than enough opportunities for flourishing due to the interpersonal, procedural and structural situations that occur at work. The thing to remember however, is that mindfulness is not just another system to implement it is a personal practice and one that has no deadline to work to, nor fixed outcome to achieve. Mindfulness in the workplace is a personal way of being (mindful) and not a role to undertake. If that “position” is taken then mindfulness very much has a place in any work environment.
In the next few months, I will be looking to undertake a small project to demonstrate and indeed layout more formally a framework to bring mindfulness to the workplace. This will be a basic template on how mindfulness practice, from a personal standpoint, can be brought into the work environment; employee by employee. I strongly believe that workplace change will only occur by individual change and that overall structural change can occur when the separate elements (work colleagues) start to work as part of a collective structure and part of an larger interconnected Network.
We live in an interconnected universe where every action has an energy that can facilitate change in the environment around it. We also have, within us, the power and ultimate control of interpersonal connection. This energy alone has the power to unify as well as the power to divide, and we are the key holders to this individually held, endlessly powerful resource. It is through the technique of mindfulness that we are able to start tap into this infinite resource and it is through this deceptively simple process that are able to bring non-judgemental present moment awareness to every aspect of our life. And that includes work.
Want to know more them email me firstname.lastname@example.org
(i) Happiness at Work, Psychology Today
(ii) Quality of Working Life’ report from Chartered Management Institute and Workplace Health Connect
(iii) Mail Online