The problem with an open plan office is a lack of privacy. It might be great to be able to see everyone at once and shout across the room to make lunch plans, but it only takes one cross word to permeate the entire space and bring everyone down. The last few weeks we’ve had a definite ‘off’ feeling coloring our usually merry band. It radiated out from the directors, building into waspish comments and uncalled for snapping. Every day last week I left feeling tense and stressed, ridiculously grateful for my little mindful commuting routine.
It wasn’t a surprise to learn that our company was struggling. We had all been aware of the turn in the market, the loans the directors were taking out and the clients calling in to cancel work. Yet none of us really expected to hear that our jobs were on the line.
Being told that redundancy was a very real possibility sent me into shock. I was immediately engulfed by a wave of panic. Of course, so was everyone else in our great big, open plan office. Everyone worried, everyone panicking, everyone carrying on as though it would all be fine. The atmosphere was awful. It still is.
These are the moments when I forget to be mindful. When I have to force myself actively to calm down and be in the moment (will that ever become second nature?). Even once I had disappeared off for a few minutes, focused on my breathing and centred myself, stepping back into an office filled with quiet panic was horrible. I could feel myself starting to concentrate on a hundred stressful futures just like that. This then is one of the biggest challenges of being mindful. Ignoring distractions. Has anyone mastered that yet?
Image Source: Rex Hammock