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Mindfulness in the Workplace

This article has been contributed by our trainer, Sue Butterfield

Some of the world’s leading companies including Google, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Apple, Yahoo and KPMG have invested in mindfulness training for their employees. Acknowledgement of the organisational benefits of introducing mindfulness in the workplace is escalating, an All Party Parliamentary Group was launched in the House of Commons in May 2014 which aims to consider the role mindfulness has in health, education and the workplace. Mindfulness is a state of being fully present, alert and aware in the present moment which puts us in a state of high resourcefulness and creativity in which we react in a more emotionally intelligent manner. Mindfulness is already well known for being effective in reducing stress and increasing wellbeing. But what about its value in productivity, resilience or performance?

Around 100 research studies specifically focussed on the use of mindfulness in the workplace have now been published. These studies demonstrate that mindfulness can be effective in addressing a number of major challenges that organisations are facing such as presenteeism, lack of focus and attention, and coping with ever more complex work demands.

Research also demonstrates the benefits of mindfulness with organisations undertaking major change programmes. Outcomes of research undertaken by California State University indicates that people who practise mindfulness:
• Have more external awareness at work
• Are more accepting of their work situation (external acceptance)
• Have more modest, realistic work goals
• Are more selfless at work
• Are less concerned with material acquisition and wealth (inner focus)
• Have a more internal locus of evaluation (inner focus)
• Are more likely to derive meaning in life from sources other than just work (multiple sources of meaning)
• Are better able to cope and remain calm in difficult work situations (level headed)
• Are more likely to experience work difficulties as challenges than threats
• Enjoy their work more
• Are more adaptable at work
• Have more positive interpersonal relations at work

In 2012 Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust introduced a programme of mindfulness training aiming to improve performance and service levels. Evaluation of the programme indicates that 93% of participants reported that mindfulness had in some way helped them to improve their performance at work, with 59% reporting great or significant increase in performance.  You can read the full article here …

There are also various links to mindfulness resources on our Resilience Resources page here

In Equilibrium offer a one-day course which introduces participants to the practice of mindfulness, click here for full details.

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