• Camila Santiago

500 Fortune Companies Are Embracing Mindfulness and Why You Should Do The Same

There’s no doubt that mindfulness is now mainstream. Even if you’re not really sure how it works, you probably heard the word somewhere. From apps, YouTube channels to drop-in studios, meditation and mindfulness are everywhere.

It hasn’t happened by chance — these sub-niches within the massive wellness industry make up 7.4% of the $15.1 billion alternative care market just in the U.S alone. As the Covid-19 pandemic has significantly increased levels of anxiety and stress, so has the number of people adopting mindfulness and meditation practises as a way to cope with mental health issues.

And because these practises increase well-being and improve productivity, it was just a matter of time they’d hit the corporate world. Several 500 Fortune organizations including Nike, LinkedIn, Goldman Sachs, Google and Apple have been adopting and promoting meditation and mindfulness practises within their employees.

But what’s the buzz about mindfulness?

First of all, what’s mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the ability to focus on the present moment and to become aware of your thoughts, emotions and feelings. In other words, it can be defined as a non-reactive state. According to the website and magazine Mindful, “The goal of mindfulness is to wake up to the inner workings of our mental, emotional, and physical processes.”

In the book Mindful Work, David Gelles advocates for the benefits of mindfulness: “Scientific research is making the benefits clear. Studies show that mindfulness strengthens our immune systems, bolsters our concentrative powers, and rewires our brains. Just as lifting weights at the gym makes our muscles stronger, so too does practising mindfulness make our minds stronger.”

In the workplace environment, mindfulness has been shown to serve as a method of relieving employee stress and encouraging increased productivity.

Does it really work at work?

It might be hard to believe that something so simple as mindfulness can bring so many benefits to organizations. But the numbers don’t lie — according to the Mindful Workplace Alliance, companies that have implemented a successful mindfulness program have seen great results:

  • SAP has improved well-being, satisfaction, focus, creativity and lower levels of overwhelm and stress during the workday of their employees, leading to a 200% return on investment.

  • After 10 weeks of mindfulness training, Intel saw an increase in employee well-being.

  • Google has helped employees become more resilient while boosting happiness and creativity.

Bringing mindfulness to the workplace

Mindfulness, like any other skill, requires practice and patience. Here are some ways to implement:

  • Mindfulness in the workplace culture

Embracing mindfulness may be the first step — a dedicated and quiet space for meditation and reflection, device-free meetings and a moment for grounding before a meeting starts — also called a “minute-to-arrive” — are great examples to subtly bring mindfulness to the companies’ culture.

  • Make it accessible

People are different and we’re all unique in our own ways — each and every one of us learn in different ways. So, it’s important to make information about mindfulness accessible to everyone, so that they can learn and practise at their own pace.

Try to offer something for everyone in the mindfulness journey, like creating community meetings, 21 or 30-days challenges or work with a specific app, program or service focused on mindfulness at the workplace.

  • Spread the news

Along with the previous tip, raising awareness about a new mindful practise in the company — such as posting articles, videos and an email newsletter.

  • Encourage monotasking

"Monotasking is the new multitasking," says the writer Jon Martingale. Multitasking kills productivity and it's harmful to the brain. Concentration is a cornerstone of mindfulness practice, encourage your team to stay away from any activities that force multitasking and encourage them to eliminate distractions.

Remember, this is an on-going process and to reap the benefits takes time — if you're tempted to give up after a few weeks or a month, don’t short-change yourself.

“The more regularly and the more deeply you meditate, the sooner you will find yourself acting always from a centre of peace.” — J. Donald Walters

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