Managing Wellness

Employee Mindfulness Training — It’s More than Just Yoga and Meditation

  • Mindfulness taps into alpha rhythms in the brain to help employees concentrate
  • Large Fortune 500s already have employee mindfulness training programs in place
  • A Massachusetts General Hospital study proved mindfulness reduced stress and depression
Posted by June 10, 2018

Employee mindfulness training is growing as a popular way for organizations to support employee well-being. This perception-changing practice can be offered as a supplement to other benefits. As more organizations realize the power of being mindful, or in the present, employees who experience this training can achieve greater job and personal satisfaction.

What Is Employee Mindfulness?

Mindfulness originates from the Eastern practice of meditation, using breathing and body-awareness techniques. A regular, daily practice can result in greater focus and the ability to experience the “now.” Employee mindfulness training takes the same concept and applies it to work situations. Once the core principles of mindfulness are learned, they can be performed anywhere and at any time, giving employees control over how they react to stressful or overwhelming situations.

The Benefits of Mindfulness at Work

A Harvard University study indicated that mindfulness works because it helps regulate the alpha rhythm, which is believed to control the way humans handle distractions. It essentially “turns off the noise” and helps employees to focus at work.

The benefits of introducing mindfulness training are many. Mindfulness, which has been a practice for thousands of years, has been shown to reduce stress, improve focus and increase employee productivity. In a 2013 study conducted by the Massachusetts General Hospital, a group of clinically diagnosed patients suffering with anxiety experienced a significant reduction in stress within eight weeks of a structured mindfulness practice.

How Mindfulness Supports Companies

Instead of metrics that measure employee retention and performance rates, more companies are looking for ways to measure the happiness and engagement level of employees. Mindfulness training can effectively address these issues. Maybe it’s why large corporations like Bank of America, Google, Goldman Sachs Group and Salesforce are offering employee mindfulness training. Being able to take time out to unplug from daily stressors to reflect on one’s inner world provides an opportunity to better understand the relationship between work and well-being.

Starting a Mindfulness Practice

Adding mindfulness training isn’t difficult or expensive. The first step is inviting a trained mindfulness instructor to train the management team on its values. Once they are immersed in the experience, which is generally very positive, they can share this with employees. A mindfulness practice is complementary to an existing corporate wellness program, or it can be offered as a special weekly class for interested employees.

Human resources should conduct pulse surveys at the start of each employee mindfulness training session, then again at the end to measure the results. Gathering feedback from employees can provide valuable insight towards improving this offering and understanding the true return on investment.

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