Mindfulness in the workplace?

Magda Walczak  •  Mar 28, 2022  •  4 min read

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Mindfulness in the workplace?

Mindfulness is having a moment in companies of all sizes. Maybe it’s the pandemic, or maybe it’s just that companies are waking up to the multitude of ways that job satisfaction and productivity can be addressed. Although here at Coacharya we often talk about mindlessness, mindfulness has a relevant – and dare I say, effective – place in the workplace.  

Take a look at this super interesting write-up by one of our alumni, Avril Q, a mindfulness and wellness coach who does a lot of her work with corporate clients. If any of what you read resonates, please contact us and let us know your company goals. We’d be happy to share a proposal for a wellness program for your organization to suit your needs.

This article originally appeared in Deccan Herald.

Big Corporates are Seeing the Benefits of Mindfulness Training

by Avril Q

Many of us put up with bad jobs, bad bosses and really bad days at work hoping that career success will lead to happiness.

But what if being unhappy with our jobs is actually making us less productive and ultimately less successful? Work doesn’t have to make us miserable.

Research has shown that mindfulness is one tool that limits the amount of time one spends in worry, anxiety and rumination, and can contribute significantly to happiness, well-being and overall mental health.

Many companies underestimate the value of employee well-being and mental health.

But companies that have committed to having long-term programmes have benefitted immensely.

Return on investment

The big corporate companies have seen the benefits of mindfulness.

At a global health care insurance company, more than 10,000 employees have participated in mindfulness and wellness courses. In a study conducted with Duke University, the company found that those who took part reported a 28% reduction in their self-reported stress levels, a 20% improvement in their sleep quality and a 19% reduction in pain. They also became more productive, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of added productivity.

Starting in 2006, a mindfulness programme by a leading Silicon Valley tech company aimed to help people develop skills of empathy, compassion and overall emotional intelligence.

It quickly became one of the most popular training programmes at the company. Soon, there was a six-month waiting list to join the programme.

Another leading enterprise software company too had great results from its training programme. Employee engagement and leadership trust had spiked, while absenteeism had come down. Those practicing mindfulness also reported greater job satisfaction, a greater ability to focus, and a higher level of mental clarity and creativity.

This particular company says that employee well-being has a direct impact on its bottom line. It estimates that a 1 percentage point increase in employee engagement translates into a rise of 50 to 60 million euros in operating profit, while a 1 percentage point increase in its business health culture index can add 85 to 95 million euros.

Mindfulness for leaders

The leadership and top management of companies often take a huge brunt of the company’s stress, leading to a negative impact on health, decision-making capabilities, professional and personal relationships.

Each year, billions of dollars are spent on leadership training. There are thousands of training programmes on how to be more agile, how to listen, communicate better, how to be a better mentor, be more creative, be less reactive, be a visionary, be a team builder — the list is endless.

While all these are important there is one practice that is often overlooked: Mindfulness.

Through repeated practice, mindfulness triggers a shift in cognitive control to frontal brain regions, which enables us to perceive our world without fight-or-flight, knee-jerk reactions, leading to better emotional resilience.

This change in neurological wiring helps us perceive situations and make decisions more from our conscious mind, avoiding some of the traps of our unconscious biases.

With stronger prefrontal activity, we deactivate our tendency to be distracted and become more aware, focused, and attentive.

And in the 14 years I’ve spent on Mindfulness Training, I’ve seen that leveraging mindfulness in the workplace brings leaders significant advantages.

Alok Ohrie, President and MD of Dell, says, “Mindfulness programmes gave us the opportunity to connect with our inner self and prioritise overall wellness. These sessions have been of immense help for our team-members both on the personal and professional front.”

Many leaders and employees feel they don’t have time to work on being mindful because they have too much work.

The irony of this is that if these people were willing to spend a few minutes being mindful each day, they can utilise all of their capabilities to reap the immense benefits the practice has to offer.

Magda Walczak

Magda

Magda Walczak is CEO of Coacharya and author of Saylor's tale, a children's book. She's passionate about animal rights, women's equity and living sustainably.

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