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“Mindfulness training appears to be getting popular in the business world, and many large corporations have been incorporating mindfulness practices into their culture. For example, companies such as Google, Apple, Procter & Gamble, General Mills, Mayo Clinic, and the U.S. Army offer mindfulness coaching, meditation breaks and other resources to their employees to improve workplace functioning.” Source: Wikipedia
Definitions and techniques of mindfulness are wide-ranging. One of the most concise defines mindfulness as:
The quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment — free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.
Mindfulness is an essential part of Buddhist practice, where it is known as "sati". Over the past decades, the practice of mindfulness has gained popularity in the Western world, and programs based on mindfulness models have been implemented within a variety of environments, including corporate settings.
A study by the US National Library of Medicine concludes that mindfulness has been found to result in better employee well-being, lower levels of frustration, lower absenteeism and burnout as well as an improved overall work environment.
Then have a look how you can use this 2500 year old practice to boost employee well-being and productivity in your organization. But first let’s see why mindfulness is so important in today’s working environment.
As the economy becomes more and more knowledge-based, the brain replaces the body as the primary production factor. And from 8 to 5 our brains have to cope with an awful lot! Texts, emails, chat messages, phone calls and meetings compete incessantly for our attention. We are often expected to multi-task, which is virtually impossible for the human brain. People who try to multi-task are less effective than they would be if they focused on one thing until it was done. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindful people have learned to concentrate on one task at a time and tune out distracting thoughts. They are more focused and productive and better able to handle stressful situations.
By the way, mindfulness is not the same as meditiation, though meditation is one of the ways to achieve it.
Apart from increasing focus, efficiency and productivity, mindfulness can have other positive effects on your workforce.
A program of workplace mindfulness is first and foremost a tool to enhance employee well-being, with a higher productivity as a pleasant by-product. There are many ways to introduce mindfulness in your company. Go all out, hire trainers and create meditation spaces, or start with small adjustments to the workplace and the working routine. See what fits best in your company culture, and subsequently let it become an integral part of your culture.
Interested to know how workplace culture strengthens employee loyalty and relationships? Download our latest infographic here!
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