Written by
Juliet Adams

Published
23 Nov 2015

Is mindfulness good for business?

23 Nov 2015 • by Juliet Adams

According to Gallup studies, seven out of 10 workers have "checked out" or are "actively disengaged" at their jobs. Worse still, Harvard Researcher Matt Killingsworth concluded that on average, the human mind wanders for around 47% of the day. Inattention and mind-wandering is costing the UK economy billions of pounds. 

Mindfulness helps you to cultivate metacognition. By becoming more aware of the impacts of your thoughts on your emotional and physical state, you become better able to maintain a positive mind state, increasing your fitness to lead and improving your leadership capabilities. 

Mindfulness is underpinned by thousands of research studies. Its ability to reduce anxiety, stress and depression, while improving well-being are well documented. In recent years researchers have turned their attention to the impact of mindfulness on workplace performance.

Mindfulness - the new 'must have' for leaders?

Research suggests that mindfulness can improve leadership capability, resilience to change and organisational transformation, increase employee engagement and performance, and improve employee wellbeing. 

Workplace approaches to mindfulness teaching should always include three key elements:

1.    Psycho-education to help you understand and manage your mind
2.    Formal mindfulness training exercises to train your brain and improve awareness
3.    Everyday mindfulness activities that can be fitted into even the busiest of days.

Some say that Mindfulness is the new “must have” for leaders in business. Aetna, an insurance company lead by Mark Bertolini, a strong advocate of mindfulness has a work force of 50,000, over a quarter of which have participated in at least one mindfulness class. In its evaluation, participants reported a 28% reduction in their stress levels, a 20% improvement in sleep quality and increased productivity, estimated in resulting in 62 minutes per week for each employee. The annual profit increase for leaders participating in this scheme would be significant.

How is stress affecting the workforce?

Jutta Tobias, Cranfield School of management, says: “Over 15 million absence days attributed to stress, anxiety and depression were recorded in 2013, according to the UK Office of National Statistics. In the face of this record level of absenteeism, investing in wellbeing-enhancing programmes is a wise choice: each £ invested in preventative wellbeing interventions is returned at least double through reductions in absenteeism and healthcare cost. In terms of the physical and mental health benefits of practicing mindfulness, the scientific research base is valid and reliable."

Mindfulness at Work conference

This year’s Mindfulness at work conference in London on December 3rd focusses on leaders and organisations telling their own story of how mindfulness has benefitted them.

Organisations speaking at the event include Accenture, Mondelez, Ford, GSK, Capitol One and The Department of Health. Workshops include making the business case for mindfulness, and lessons learned from teaching mindfulness at Google.

Changeboard readers will receive a 10% discount by applying the code JA10.