The 6 Dimensions of Office Wellbeing: #2 Mindfulness

Continuing our series on office wellbeing, this article from Steelcase focuses on the second dimension of wellbeing, mindfulness. You'll learn about the challenges to mindfulness in today's workplace and why it's important to create an environment that encourages employees to be fully engaged with their work and more easily enter a state of flow. We'll also share some tips and design considerations to cultivate mindfulness in your workplace.



Mindfulness means balancing the intense pace of life with being fully present in the moment. Today technology presents many opportunities for multitasking, which allows people to be physically present in a meeting, for example, but mentally lost in email.

The focus on mindfulness in business has grown exponentially as organizations recognize that rapid changes in technology, the marketplace and the global playing field have caused volatility, uncertainty, chaos and ambiguity. These realities create stressful conditions for people in organizations and call for a new style of leadership.

Mihaly Czsikzsentmihalyi, noted psychologist and author of the seminal book “Flow,” relates the notion of flow with his study of happiness and creativity. It’s the antithesis to multitasking and a direct result of mindfulness—i.e., being fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement and enjoyment in what you’re doing.

“Mindfulness is a fusion of the mind and body when you lose the notion of time,” says Nicholas de Benoist, who collaborated with others in Steelcase’s research. “And it’s not just something you can achieve alone. People can work together in mindfulness, too, performing like a jazz group, all mindful in the moment of now.”

Cultivating mindfulness in the workplace

“Workers need physical spaces that help them manage the cognitive overload of their daily lives and be fully present in the moment,” notes de Benoist.

Design Considerations:

  1. Create spaces that help people connect with others one-on-one and eye-to-eye, and not just through their technology devices.
  2. Design areas that allow workers to control their sensory stimulation and choose if they want to amp it up or down.
  3. Offer places that are calming, through the materials, textures, colors, lighting and views.
  4. Create areas where people can connect with others without distractions or interference

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