On May 12th I had the great pleasure of delivering training on mindful co-working. The training was hosted by the Berry Street Childhood Institute and participants came from a wide range of agencies around the country, including Berry Street.
Co-working is an aspect of our working lives that can easily be overlooked. It’s easy to assume that colleagues who are respectful and who have the right professional values will automatically work well together. That may be the case with routine or purely technical work, but where work is emotionally demanding, psychologically complex and ever-changing, co-workers need to develop a trusting and supportive and relationship that goes beyond ‘just the facts.’
During the training, we discussed the five principles and ten key skills of mindful co-working. We also looked at the importance of finding common ground at the start of the co-working relationship, the importance of planning and de-briefing, and how to anticipate and practice mindful repairs when the co-working relationship ruptures.
One idea that emerged from our discussions was the importance of bravery, in particular the bravery needed by co-workers to discuss emotionally charged topics and to ‘clear the air’ when ruptures occur. Where co-workers are brave enough to discuss the tricky parts of their relationship, and to work through them with mutual respect and a genuine desire to work well together, their relationship can be greatly improved.
This approach to co-working, where colleagues pay purposeful attention to the quality and tone of their relationship, and where they work through difficulties, contributes to a virtuous circle of communication in the workplace, where thoughtful and respectful interaction among colleagues leads to more of the same, at all levels of the organisation. Multiply this effect across the workforce, and you will have a transformed working environment where people love to work and where they do great work together.
For more information about this topic, a resource that may be of interest is my book Mindful Co-working, published in 2013 by Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Post written by: Clark Baim, UK presenter and Berry Street Childhood Institute Fellow