The Workplace World

For many people the workplace is a world unto itself. Our offices become our homes. Our coworkers become our family. Even the company cafeteria or canteen can sometimes take the place of our kitchen. But not only that, it can be a world where we get so busy that we forget that it is a world filled with people who have lives outside the workplace.

Mindfulness is a way of life that does not come naturally for most people. Quite often, life just gets busy, making it difficult to be aware of everything going on around us. This can especially be true of the workplace when our jobs become the central focus of our lives. When this happens, it can be easy to forget to the humanity of our coworkers. This is not always true for small, close-knit companies, but for medium to large companies it is easy to look past the people around us, because we are so focused on our work. Yes, the job is important, but so are the people we work with.

The success of any given company is directly tied to the success of the people who run it. When leadership is mindful of both, they become aware of not only the work they do, but also the humanity of their employees and coworkers. Being mindful of the people you work with involves building relationships with them, talking with them, and listening to them with genuine interest and concern for their well-being. It means taking time to focus on them and for a few minutes make them the most important part of our jobs. When you do, the workplace world becomes a safe place for your coworkers to show their humanity, and not hide it behind the veil of corporate responsibility.

Is your business a safe place for your employees to express their humanity? It is often said that when you come to work you hang your problems at the door. In other words, don’t bring your problems into the workplace. But is this really what we should expect of our employees? Have you ever considered the inverse of such a statement; when you enter your home, leave your work problems be the door? Is it really fair to ask this of your employees, especially in a high stress job? No, it is not fair.

No matter how hard one may try, it is not always possible to leave home at home, and work at work. Our humanity is not something that cannot be turned on and off just because it is an unwritten company policy. The manager who practices mindfulness in the workplace will be aware of the humanity of his or her people, as well as be aware of ways the company can help then integrate and balance their home life with their work life. When this is achieved, employees will be more likely to stay engaged in their jobs, perhaps become more loyal to the company and its leadership, and could even become more productive. When this happens the employee succeeds, which will translate into greater success for your company.

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