About mindfulness Case studies Workplace case studies Kate McGregor, Team Manager RWE npower – Customer Service Domestic department, Houghton le Spring, Sunderland The nature of my job means that I have to juggle multiple tasks and work with people on customer calls. The volume of work left me feeling rather stressed and anxious. Then I joined a new department and had the opportunity to participate in mindfulness sessions guided by a mindfulness advocate. They were a completely new experience to me. The CEO of RWE, Peter Terium, has been a mindfulness practitioner for more than a decade. He supported the rollout of the mindfulness programme in RWE npower call centres and in its top management team, aiming to reduce stress and increase performance. 18 Mindful Advocates in its Customer Services Domestic department have taught mindfulness to over 760 of the 2,400 call centre employees across the company so far. Mindfulness taught me to take a gap – a breathing space – between activities. I learned to step away from the situation in my head and to focus on what was happening right now. Then I could revisit what I intended to do, but with a more calm and relaxed approach. Terry Rumble, Manager Operational Support, Tata Steel, Port Talbot For our organisation, identifying hazards and reducing risk are critical. Many people are familiar with tools designed to help staff pause, reflect and identify before acting. Yet, in major industrial disasters such as Bhopal, there were good processes and systems in place, but still, the events happened. Following a mindfulness workshop, I saw that this approach might help combat the tendency to switch off. We decided to incorporate mindfulness into our Leadership in Health and Safety modules. Training involved blue- and white-collar workers and trade union representatives, and it generated a lot of interest. Some managers immediately saw the opportunity to bring mindfulness to front-line staff, and have requested further practical sessions. Some trade union staff members believe that mindfulness can benefit the workforce, and their teams trust these views. That’s exciting because it is not management-led. Mindfulness has given people new ways of approaching our risk assessment strategy and encouraged deeper, more logical, thinking on “what if”. I believe mindfulness is the missing piece of the jigsaw and complements our current strategies. DCI Mark Preston, Major Crime Team, Surrey & Sussex Police Force I’ve been a police officer for 25 years and am now a Detective Chief Inspector in Surrey and Sussex, Major Crime Team. I’m responsible for murder investigation – the pressure can make this a very lonely role. The demands being made on public sector workers are increasing. It’s very hard being in a leadership role when you can see the impact of these pressures bearing down on your staff, for whom you feel responsible. Policing is more than a full-time job, on top of which I feel as though I have a particularly hectic private life. Since I started practising mindfulness in 2013, I’ve noticed that I’m calmer and more likely to feel compassionate towards victims, witnesses and even offenders. I think that has implications for evidence-gathering, crime detection, victim satisfaction and community relations. Learning that I have a choice as to how I respond to something has helped remove the causes of some of my stresses in life. Mindfulness has also helped me to de-escalate conflict and to deal with everything happening in my life – I honestly believe it has helped me become a better father and husband, but also a better leader for those I’m honoured to lead. Dave O’Brien, Manchester I was 52-years-old, and had graduated from approved schools to Borstal and onward to prisons, full-time criminality, drug-taking and dealing, and finally to long-term unemployment. I had spent a year on a journey from drug use towards recovery when offered a place on a mindfulness course. I was sceptical at first; but after an hour doing the exercises, I got a peaceful feeling. The breathing exercises made me feel relaxed straight away. The course was mind-changing. It taught me to look at simple things in a different way. Mindfulness wasn’t difficult to understand or catch on to - it simply helped to slow my thoughts and clear the mindless chatter and I practise it every day. It’s not a pressure, it is a pleasure and through it I realised I could study, learn and do things I had never thought possible. I have a totally different outlook on life now and know that without mindfulness I wouldn’t be living the life I am today. A new world opened up for me, and it felt amazing. As a result of the mindfulness course, I started a bike club at the local community centre during the school summer holidays. Kids brought their bikes in and we repaired them. And I am now an honorary staff member at the University of Manchester researching suicide prevention and helping clinical psychologists to design and deliver suicide prevention initiatives in prisons. I have delivered lectures to first-year psychologists so they can understand more about the lives of their patients and I am involved in a new research project called INSITE which is looking at appropriate interventions for mental health in-patients with complex needs and dual diagnosis. I have presented at national conferences on mindfulness, sustainability, prison health, offender wellbeing and recovery. I am a fully qualified mindfulness teacher and am establishing a National Centre for Community Mindfulness so teachers who have had the kind of experiences I have had can take mindfulness into prisons and to those who are “hard to reach”, “challenging”, “non-compliant” and “complex”, and whatever other label we choose to put on them! I want to ensure that those who are most disadvantaged, most marginalised and those from protected groups can transform their lives and health with mindfulness. Through my own experience of mindfulness, I can spread it to those for whom nothing else has worked.