In the past decade, a growing number of companies and organizations have recognised the advantages of providing their staff with an opportunity to learn about mindfulness meditation, mindful yoga, and other contemplative practices. Research shows that employees who engage with these practices experience less stress, greater well-being, job satisfaction and creativity. A happier, healthier workforce equals a happier, healthier and successful organisation.
Mindfulness in the workplace offers a sound investment for organisations. Staff learn mindfulness skills that empower them to manage stress more effectively, to experience greater concentration and clarity and to relate in healthier and more creative ways with colleagues. Take Transport For London who offered mindfulness courses to 600 members of staff. When staff were surveyed:
- 80% reported an improvement in relationships
- 79% reported an improved ability to relax
- 64% described improved sleep patterns
- 53% felt happier at work
And there was a 71% drop in absence from work due to ill health and stress (Hall, 2003).
The workplace mindfulness courses that I offer are grounded in the evidence based Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction(MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy(MBCT) programmes. Staff attend up to eight-weekly sessions, learning how to apply mindfulness skills in everyday life and in the workplace. Between sessions they practice guided meditation recordings of 10 – 30 minutes, that support them in learning key mindfulness skills. Skills that can be sustained at no further cost to you or them.
“The main business case for meditation is that if you’re fully present on the job, you will be more effective as a leader, you will make better decisions and you will work better with other people”
William George, a board member of Goldman Sachs and a former chief executive of the healthcare giant Medtronic (Gelles, 2012)
- In house, eight-weekly sessions of between 90 - 120 mins, for up to 25 people
- One-to-one learning. Eight weekly, 45 minute sessions on Skype or telephone
- Taster sessions 1- 3 hours
- Improved wellbeing, resilience levels and ability to manage stress (e.g. Chiesa and Serretti, 2009), leading to less absenteeism, and greater ability to perform effectively under pressure and in VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) conditions.
- Improved cognitive functioning including greater cognitive flexibility (Greenberg et al, 2012); faster, more rational decision-making (e.g. Kirk et al, 2011); and heightened creativity and improved insight problem-solving and creativity (Ostafin and Kassman, 2012; Friedman and Forster, 2001).
- Heightened emotional intelligence (e.g. Boyatzis and McKee, 2005); improved self- awareness and awareness of others (e.g. Creswell, et al, 2007); and greater self- management and management of relationships with others, leading to better relationships and less conflict in the workplace.
- More ethical and sustainable behaviour (e.g. Amel, Manning, and Scott, 2009); Improvements in moral reasoning and ethical decision making (Shapiro, Jazaieri and Goldin, 2012); and being more in touch with one’s values (e.g. Ericson, Kjønstad, and Barstad, 2014).