It might sound like new age nonsense rather than a feasible cost-reduction tactic, but there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggests call centre mindfulness has the ability to impact businesses in a huge way.
So what is mindfulness? As one of the most popular methods of stress reduction, it can be described as ‘a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.’
But why is it relevant to business, and the contact centre?
Currently, many businesses use some form of stress reduction initiative such as meditation or mindfulness. This is because it is increasingly being seen as one of the most cost-effective methods of ensuring the wellbeing of employees, and positively influencing the bottom line.
Some of the companies who currently have effective mindfulness initiatives in place include Google, Apple, Proctor and Gamble, General Mills, and The Huffington Post.
Those of us who work in the contact centre know it’s hardly the most serene workplace environment, so that’s why the potential of mindfulness to help us relax, feel calm, and work to our best ability is absolutely huge.
So where can we start? Mindfulness is all about being peacefully awake for each moment of your life, so it’s important to focus on making it a part of everyday moments without adding any more demands to an already packed schedule.
Here are five simple ways to experience mindful moments in the contact centre:
1. Start your day
Choose to start your day. Don’t let it turf you out of bed in the morning, into the shower and drag you to work. Begin each day by taking time to sit at the end of your bed, breathe deeply, and notice any sensations you might feel - you’ll be able to calmly take control for the rest of the day.
2. Commute wisely
The world is full of distractions - the radio, our phones, other people, the list is enormous. Occasionally choose to travel to work without your usual distractions, whether this is your favourite book, or listening to music, try to allow yourself several moments whilst you’re travelling to and from work to just sit. You’ll find you can think a little clearly without all the usual noise.
3. Eat food for thought
If you eat lunch alone sometimes, try to eat slowly and mindfully. Attend to the colour, taste, smell of what you’re eating and any other sensations you might be experiencing. This one is a little difficult with porridge but you get the idea. By doing this you’ll develop a skill for appreciating the subtleties of things you experience almost every day.
4. Find the time between tasks
Whether you’re on your way to the bathroom or in between meetings, simply take your time to walk without checking your phone for texts, emails, or to see how many likes your latest Facebook status has amassed. Pay attention to your feet on the floor, step by step. This way you’ll also ensure you can greet colleagues politely in the hallway instead of bumping into them whilst you text.
5. Come to a standstill
Find three or four moments in the day whilst you’re at work, and bring awareness to your body and thoughts. Wherever you are, close your eyes and take a deep breath - a couple of seconds is all it should take. Think about how your body is feeling, if you’re tense, if so, how can you relax? This allows your mind to regroup and increases awareness. You’ll be able to figure out what you can do to work more effectively, or maybe that you need to go grab a cup of water and take a breather.
Remember, your contact centre is only as healthy as its agents. Call centre mindfulness isn’t the answer to the world’s problems, but it undoubtedly creates healthier and happier agents, and happier customers.
The Manager’s Handbook to Agent Happiness
A guide for leaders and managers in the contact centre industry who want to create happy and motivated teams