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Ask the Experts: How to Reduce Stress at Work

Ask the Experts: How to Reduce Stress at Work

Posted In // Design Tips

Stress-related disorders have become incredibly common in the United States. Let’s explore the dangers of stress and why meditation might specifically be helpful in the workplace. Then let’s look at another key way you can optimize morale and productivity: office design.

Why stress is detrimental

High levels of stress are one of the biggest challenges to workplaces; they can be detrimental to employee morale, of course, along with productivity and the growth rate of the company.

Stress isn’t just a mental issue but a physical issue as well. If you have a health condition, stress will often exacerbate it. For example, a 2007 study featured in the Journal of Pain found that headache patients were able to reduce the intensity of their pain by no longer “catastrophizing,” or looking at their pain in a negative light (a straightforward and common source of stress).

Stress also makes it more difficult to heal after injury and illness. A review of heart disease research found that people with high-stress “Type D” personalities tend to recover from heart attacks more slowly.

Health benefits of meditation

Incredibly, a Harvard University study conducted in 2012 found that there are positive benefits of mindfulness (actively focusing on the present moment), facilitated through meditation, even when you aren’t meditating. The study measured the neurological activity of people who used meditation versus a control group.

The study authors noted that brain scans of participants were “consistent with the overarching hypothesis that meditation may result in enduring, beneficial changes in brain function, especially in the area of emotional processing.”

5 positives of mindfulness for business

Here are five ways meditation can help your business, provided by operations executive Geoff Koboldt, who has successfully used the practice himself:

1. Decision-making – Clearing your head is critical to making strong decisions for your business. Koboldt notes that he never makes an important decision without meditating first.

2. Emotional intelligence – Koboldt says that when he meditates, he finds it easier both to be in tune with his own emotions and to be aware of the emotional states of others.

3. Focus – Distraction is possibly the number one threat to your ability to succeed on the job. Meditation helps you learn to shut out the unnecessary “noise.”

4. Memory – One way that businesspeople excel is through memory. You will waste less time looking things up if you can be present and organize everything cleanly in your mind. Specifically, remembering the names of customers and partners is crucial.

5. Listening – Meditation helps Koboldt pay better attention to his colleagues, he explains. “By fostering a safe environment where employees talk openly to me about how others are affecting them or how the demands of the job are weighing on them,” he says, “trust is built and communication improves.”

If you want to start meditating, Koboldt recommends doing it at specific, set times of day, for 20 minutes at a time if possible. Go outside if you can, since natural environments tend to ease the mind as well.

Better performance by design

Are you wanting to improve the efficiency and productivity in your office, additionally boosting employee morale? Meditation is one technique that can be effective. As indicated by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), numerous studies have shown that office design boosts workplace productivity just like meditation does.

We can help. At Beaux-Arts Group, our integrated approach to furnishings creates a productive synergy between the building and the areas within. Learn more.
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