Offer a 30-minute weekly mindfulness meditation class to your team (during the workday). Show you care about them by helping them reduce stress and it will boost the bottom line and create a happier workforce. More and more studies are showing that mindfulness does just that.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer Pascal, Co-Owner and Chief Operating Officer, Allyn Media.
Jennifer Pascal’s strategic counsel guides public relations, public affairs and image campaigns for corporate and nonprofit clients at Allyn Media, an award-winning advertising, political media, public affairs, public relations, digital and social media firm based in Dallas, Texas. Jennifer specializes in helping corporate and non-profit clients successfully protect and preserve public confidence and brand value in times of crisis and challenge. Jennifer has advised clients on issues related to federal investigations and law enforcement, fatalities, regulatory scrutiny, defective products, labor relations, child safety, mergers and animal welfare.
In addition to helping clients with crisis management and crisis communications issues recover from events, Jennifer regularly works with clients to assess potential risks and develop comprehensive plans to prevent crises, promote positive brand awareness and advance development.
Jennifer has prepared executives, ambassadors and civic leaders with media training for high-profile interviews and speeches, and trained client staffs on preparing for and handling media relations.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us about your integration of spiritual and mindful practices into your work culture?
Nearly 8 out of 10 employees in America regularly experience physical symptoms of stress at work which can have negative effects on health including high blood pressure and depression. Having mindful meditation as part of our office culture helps employees cope with the stress and pressure we all face in our daily lives, and become more mindful, effective leaders.
We know it is working because employees have told us they like it, but they show us by attending the classes. Once, a member of our team was dealing with a particularly challenging client and was not planning to come to mindfulness class because he was too busy. I asked him to take a break for just 25 minutes and get a reset. He did, and later that day, he thanked me. The focus of the class was acceptance and he explained how it helped him find patience to manage the client and do great work. Win-win.
Can you describe how your mindfulness practices affect your business and personal life today?
We are our best selves when we are focused and present. That’s true in our personal life and professional life. I’m a better mom when I’m focused and present with my kids, a better spouse when I’m focused and present with my spouse, a better boss when I’m focused and present with our employees. Mindfulness has given me a lens to look through so I can modify my own behavior and habits.
If I’m in a meeting with my team, and I’m responding to emails or reading texts on my phone while they are asking for guidance or reporting an update on a project, it is highly likely I will not be able to help them. I’ll probably ask them to repeat themselves or forget the conversation all together. The same goes for side conversations in a meeting. It is disrespectful and wastes everyone’s time. When we single-focus and listen fully we’re much more efficient.
Mindfulness helps me with my crisis communications work. The lessons from mindfulness help me stay focused and centered even when there is chaos swirling around me. When a client is in an active crisis — they can ping all over the place and our job is to get stuff done for them. We can guide them through the storm by staying focused and calm.
Can you share 3 or 4 pieces of advice about how leaders can create a very “healthy and uplifting” work culture?
We brought mindfulness meditation into our office because we care about our team personally — their health and wellness. On top of that, they’re our most valuable asset. A few pieces of advice I can give to leaders is:
1) Offer a 30-minute weekly mindfulness meditation class to your team (during the workday). Show you care about them by helping them reduce stress and it will boost the bottom line and create a happier workforce. More and more studies are showing that mindfulness does just that.
2) Set the same time every week as “meditation time” for your employees. Schedule it like you would a meeting so people have it marked on their calendars.
3) As a leader, you’re the role model so attend the classes, be present and participate.