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How mindfulness could protect against burnout at work

A new study shows that practising mindfulness can help prevent job stress and burnout among employees.

A new study attempts to understand how a digital workplace affects people’s health and whether there are ways to mitigate it.(Pexels)

By Team Lounge

LAST PUBLISHED 26.02.2024  |  03:29 PM IST

It’s well-known that workplace stress can not only affect employees' job performance but also negatively impact their overall well-being. Today, digital workplaces can place huge demands on their physical and mental health. Now, a new study shows that practising mindfulness can help prevent job stress and burnout among employees.

Today, work is constantly mediated by digital technology which can lead to negative effects such as stress, anxiety and overload. For this study, researchers from the University of Nottingham’s Schools of Psychology and Medicine analysed survey data from 142 employees to better understand how working in a digital workplace impacts people's health and whether there are ways to mitigate it. 

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According to a press release, the results, published in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that more digitally confident workers were less likely to experience digital workplace anxiety, while those with higher mindfulness were better protected against its harmful side effects. Mindfulness is defined as a state of consciousness wherein people focus on the present moment intentionally and non-judgementally.

“Digital workplace technologies like e-mail, instant messaging and mobile devices have been shown to contribute to perceptions of stress by employees and employees may experience stress when having to adapt to a constantly evolving digital workplace which can lead to burnout and poorer health," co-author Alexa Spence said in the statement.

According to the researchers, organisations need to consider how to manage the negative impact of the digital workplace alongside other psychosocial and physical risks in the workplace. “Ensuring employees foster mindful awareness when working digitally could really help overall well-being," co-author Elvira Perez Vallejos added.

Recently, Gautham Melur Sukumar from the department of epidemiology at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), along with his team, developed a tool called TAWS-16 to assess rising stress levels at work.

Talking about the need for the tool, Sukumar told Lounge journalist, Jahnabee Borah, in the article, I used a work stress calculator, and this is what happened, that the idea was to find out the stressors at work. “People don’t perceive stress as a problem, because they love their jobs more. There is a general feeling that stress should not be reported, especially at a workplace because it will hamper their career growth."

Tools such as TAWS-16 and workplace policies that support employees' health could make way for organisations to address job-related stress and burnout. 

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Also read: I used a work stress calculator, and this is what happened