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September 21, 2020

How to tackle anxiety about working in a virus stricken world

I was fortunate to work for a company some years ago which spent considerable time and resources to improve their employees skill sets. Accountancy, public speaking and speed reading were some of the more memorable courses I attended and they proved to be really useful when I was employed and then later when I set up my own company.

Today many business owners recognise that their employee’s skills, experience and commitment are both the greatest assets and the cornerstone of their business, but how can they help their employees develop new skills which are mutually beneficial?

Before the virus arrived I saw many people who live and work in London stressed and anxious, often feeling out of sorts, ill and tired, and frequently under-performing. 

The challenges now of working from home and the possibility of returning to the workplace have created a great deal of stress as we all negotiate the best way to be productive whilst remaining healthy, engaged and forward thinking.

There is real concern about ‘presenteeism’ – feeling compelled to turn up for work when feeling ill or exhausted. Some companies have come under scrutiny because they have unnecessarily forced employees to commute and put in full days work, when working form home was as productive.

Every day the rules for meeting and working are changing. In this highly fluid situation we need to develop resilience and the ability to adapt to whatever comes along in the next six months.

I have found that when a tailor-made meditation programme is put in place for teams and individuals it enhances a stimulating and supportive working culture and addresses many concerns about performance, ability and productivity.

People coming to learn meditation with me typically want to reduce stress and anxiety, boost energy and creativity and feel better about themselves and what they are doing both at work and home.

They want to do something something for themselves which allows them to be self sufficient, is easy to do and has results.

Frequently they are looking for ways to decrease the effects of stress, learn how it affects the mind and body, how to get better sleep and awake refreshed, boost energy and creativity, improve relationships, declutter and sharpen the mind, and enhance and maintain focus together with getting a better perspective on work/life balance.

Research shows that meditation increases productivity by activating the prefrontal cortex which controls important cognitive skills such as emotional expression, problem solving, memory, language, judgement and sexual behaviour, allowing the meditator to think more clearly and make better decisions, even under pressure.

Meditation combats stress, improves physical well-being and helps you stay youthful and young at heart by reducing cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.It also provides relief from migraines, headaches and asthma, and reduces the desire and dependancy on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs which can lead to sick leave and absenteeism.

A de-cluttered and sharper mind comes from meditating regularly and provides clarity allowing the mind to stay sharp and avoid distractions. Clearer thinking and improved memory will lead to greater creativity and emotional intelligence.

Focus and concentration are enhanced and maintained and there is an increase in perspective and the ability to hold numerous ideas at the same time and recognise and understand the differences, connections and subtleties between thoughts.

In a team environment attentiveness is compromised by stress and can result in a shift in perspective from a broad team perspective to a more narrow or individualistic self-focus, and this loss of team perspective can result in degraded team performance. 

With meditation team members no longer look at each other as potential competitors, but work for something in common, and relationships in general become easier. Meditation improves all relationships and makes it easier to connect with people, allowing you to take a step back, think before you speak and understand how your words and actions affect those around you.

Business goals become more easily achievable and existing priorities like staff retention and welfare, talent advancement, and innovation are successfully addressed.

Meditation encourages both divergent thinking, a style of thinking that allows new ideas to be generated, as well as convergent thinking, the process of generating one possible solution to a particular problem.

The bottom line of health care costs, reduced absenteeism, and improved well-being, focus and productivity during the day are addressed when employees are given the opportunity to meditate.

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Anthony Thompson  |  Contribution: 1,540