Zen is a school of Buddhism that originated in China during the Tang dynasty. Zen is a state of focus, beingness that incorporates a total togetherness of mind and body.
Fast-paced businesses can be demanding and stressful – constantly being ‘on the ball’. Corporate offices are too often characterised by constant distractions such as banging doors, phones ringing and office socialising. All resulting in lower quality work. It can result in leaving employees run down and unproductive. In many countries, work is the most common reason for stress and illness.
So? Embrace zen in your office. Revitalise and let out your creative side. Replace feelings of stress and pressure with calm, focus and tranquillity.
But how can we get our zen on? It’s a bit out the box, but Tsunami Axis have a few ideas:
Try introducing meditation trainers in your work break. Work involves problem solving, creativity and intuition. Employees need somewhere to recharge their mental energy to avoid burning out. By providing dedicated ‘Zen’ time, employees can take a more meaningful break from the pressures of work.
Downloadable apps, such as Mediation Studio can help those with a smaller budget. Take a few minutes to sit comfortably and focus on your breathing. This is one of the easiest ways to engage in mindfulness (here is also where comfort and functionality is more important than style in office chairs).
Incs blog talks through steps of meditation in your chair. To reach a feeling of relaxation and grounding. It is important to take a break and reconnect with the present moment.
Zen design is clean and simple. Bright white walls and fluorescent light doesn’t scream relaxation. Change it up! Try to incorporate natural colours and patterns.
Poor lighting creates strain on our eyes and affects our ability to focus. It’s no wonder you’re getting fatigue and headaches with those glaring lights above you and over-exposure to computer light. Lighting can affect mood. Too much artificial light can confuse your internal body clock and affect sleep. Our bodies are receptive to the rhythms of natural light. Recreating this in the office throughout the day will keep employees energised. This will result in better sleep and more productive and motivated days. Furthermore, tuning the right lighting will cancel out common symptoms of tiredness such as overly socialising in the afternoons and going off-task.
Lighting options in the office will give employees a feeling of comfort and control over their surroundings. Research has found that the right lighting decreases depression and improves alertness.
Get your zen on with more natural light. This cannot be stressed enough! Opening up your office to the outside world increases fresh air and light. Live with the seasons and create a peaceful environment. Softer light bulbs are easier on the eyes and limits unnatural headaches and harsh spotlights.
Make your desk aesthetically pleasing and *de-clutter*! A core principle of Zen is clarity. Junk pile up is unhealthy and un-appeasing to the eye – throw it out, or better yet, recycle it! Try using digital technology and limit your paper usage and printing. This will help the environment and clear your mind. Hide away unsightly cables. Maybe even invest in a desk organiser.
A zen garden on your desk can help stimulate serenity. An ancient technique which is believed to increase relaxation and discipline by tending to the garden through a meditative technique. Or take it one step further with a bonsai, meant for contemplation. Succulent plants are practically invincible and perfect for small spaces. Therefore, perfect for the office! Attractive and take little maintenance. Meaning less stress!
Research shows that a cluttered working environment restricts the brain’s ability to focus and process information. The clutter is distracting and disorganises your thoughts. Improve your concentration on a task by introducing storage desks. Keep personal items to a minimum to reduce distractions.
Open plan offices and hot desking work to limit hierarchical tensions, reduce isolation and increase communication. These are positive elements, but offices also need to feature meeting pods, coffee hubs, communal areas and quiet zones.
Take that much needed fresh air in your break. Sitting at your desk 9-5 is not good for your body. Incorporating walks in your lunch break can help you manage weight, prevent conditions such as high blood pressure and improve balance and coordination. Bursts of activity throughout the day significantly improve your health. Furthermore being outside is good for your soul. research shows a positive correlation between time spent outdoors and mental well-being. Go outside, release any tensions and exercise your legs and return with a renewed sense of zen.
Research has found physically active employees take 27% less sick days than non-active employees. Active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed. Release those all important endorphins to increase feelings of wellbeing!
Lunch breaks are also important to be fully present in conversations. Mix the two: meet with work-friends to stretch your legs – this can boost mood and sleep quality, reduce stress, anxiety and fatigue, and improve self-confidence and self-worth. This will help you re-focus for the second half of your working day.
Make your office inspiring. In zen philosophy water symbolises the dual nature of energy and the human mind. Offices are introducing feature water walls. Similarly green walls are a stylish trend right now. For organisations to attract and retain innovative employees, they need innovative spaces. Work is where people spend most their time, therefore this area needs to be motivational.
Good acoustic workplace design is vital. Offices are introducing acoustic pods in forms of study cubicles, a telephone booth and social break-out areas. Quiet work spaces are vital in reducing stress and increasing productivity.
Plants are also effective in reducing noise levels in an open office setting. This has beneficial impacts on noise, the aesthetic of the office and impact on air quality. This is increasingly popular in commercial offices.