Your Team Needs Team Mindfulness at Work

We hear a lot about mindfulness at the workplace and all its many benefits. (Like, a lot.) But it does tend to put pressure on one person to solve an often-interpersonal problem. Luckily, the solution may be simple, and less awkward than you think.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia were looking for ways to reduce conflicts at work. Study lead Lingtao Yu wondered if the benefits of mindfulness might actually scale up. He's just released what may be the first study on group mindfulness in the office. By surveying hundreds of employees and business students in China and the U.S., he found the answer: probably.

Workers who engaged in group-mindfulness activities, such as guided meditation or yoga, were less likely to let their frustrations with a project turn into a fight with teammates. "Team mindfulness can act as a safeguard against this and ensures that the task, rather than the person, remains the focus of reactions," said study co-author Mary Zellmer-Bruhn of the University of Minnesota in a press release. "It can also limit the intensity of one's opposition and negative emotions, thereby limiting escalation."

Meditation doesn't have to be a cringe-worthy experience, not even with people you work with. Listening to a short recording together, like those available in apps like Headspace, may have a big benefit. Even "setting aside time to share experiences, so that team as a whole becomes more mindful" could be enough, according to Yu. For the chance to bring your best self to a project, it's certainly worth a try.