A time of 'quiet and contemplative spirituality in the workplace' may seem like a pipe dream in these difficult days of economic downturn but that is exactly what is happening in several locations across Poole. Paul Bradbury explains.
Reconnect is a missional community in the heart of Poole. One of several initiatives growing from this community is work:space which is a resource for people in the workplace, offering half an hour of stillness and silence at the centre of a busy working week.
I had spent time listening to people talk about their spirituality and found that many of them pray or meditate. I wanted to connect with people in the workplace because we are trying to meet people where they are in a setting where they spend so much of their time.
work:space started in Barclays Bank headquarters in Poole and it is open to people of any faith and none. Using resources from the Christian tradition, it offers people an opportunity to reflect and explore their spirituality within a work context.
work:space has continued to develop in Barclays House and we now offer a small library of books on spirituality and work that people can borrow. The Barclays work:space group is small because a number of employees have come to the end of their contracts while others have taken leave due to stress but there is no doubt that it is making a difference to those who come and helping to nurture faith in them.
More recently, work:space started in the training college of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI). Poole is home to the charity's purpose-built conference and training venue in the Old Town area.
The college hosts teams from lifeboat stations across the country for training and development. Within the building is a beautiful room with amazing views across Holes Bay – a great setting to host work:space. The group will be meeting monthly at first but we hope in time to be able to make it a weekly get-together. It has been really well received by the people within the organization and I'm quite excited about the possibility of it also developing within the council offices here.
It really does feel like we doing the right thing at the right time with this because employees are under such pressure and this is a valuable resource for them – though it can be hard to get people to drag themselves away from their desks, even for half an hour, because they are worried about how that may be seen or what workload will be there when they return.