There is enormous variety in the way mindfulness training is delivered in the workplace, from teacher-led courses based on MBCT/MBSR - often with shorter sessions and lighter ‘home practice’ than in health care settings - through to digital delivery as a way of increasing access.
Why is this beneficial?
In today’s business world people are more stressed and comparatively less able to make effective decisions (Dean & Webb, 2011). An increasing body of neuroscience evidence indicates that mindfulness practice, such as meditation or attention exercises, lead to desirable “neuroplasticity”: physical changes in the brain that help dampendown people’s stress
Notably, even very short periods of practicing mindfulness can be effective.
According to recent research, 15 minutes of mindfulness meditation can help debias decisions (Hafenbrack et al., 2014). After engaging in mindfulness training 4 times for 20 minutes each, individuals’ memory and executive functioning can significantly improve (Zeidan et al., 2010).
What is the scientific evidence linking mindfulness with performance?
- Mindfulness is linked with improved decision-making (Fiol & O'Connor, 2003), divergent thinking (Colzato et al., 2012), and creative problem solving (Ostafin & Kassman, 2012);
- Mindfulness can improve employee task performance (Dane, 2010; Reb et al., 2012), lower turnover intentions (Dane & Brummel, 2013), and safety performance behaviours in nuclear power plants (Zhang et al., 2013);
- Experimental studies with US military demonstrate that mindfulness training can generate resilience (Stanley & Jha, 2009) and increase individuals’ working memory capacity (Jha et al., 2010);
- Mindfulness-based work interventions can lead to higher sales and faster learning (Flaxman & Bond, 2013), and fewer errors in attention processing (van den Hurk et al., 2010);
- Mindfulness meditation is linked to higher emotional intelligence (Li-Chuan, 2009);
- Mindfulness based stress reduction programmes can lead to lower burnout and higher well-being for healthcare professionals (Goodman & Schorling, 2012) and their patient encounters (Knowles, 2012).
AOL, Apple, Astra Zeneca, BASF, BT, Comcast, Deutsche Bank, eBay, General Motors, Google, IBM, McKinsey, Nortel Networks, Procter & Gamble, Texas Instruments, Transport for London, Toyota, Unilever, Volvo, Xerox, Yahoo!
See the following for more information:
Chapman-Clarke, Margaret. Mindfulness in the Workplace: An Evidence-based Approach to Improving Wellbeing and Enhancing Performance, Kogan Page, 2016
Chaskalson, Michael. The mindful workplace: developing resilient individuals and resonant organizations with MBSR. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Gelles, David. The mind business. Profile Books, 2015.
Marturano, Janice. Finding the space to lead: A practical guide to mindful leadership. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2014.
Reb, Jochen. Mindfulness in Organizations: Foundations, Research, and Applications. Cambridge University Press, 2015.
Tan, Chade-Meng. Search inside yourself. Harper Audio, 2012.
Bangor Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice- http://www.bangor.ac.uk/mindfulness/training-pathway/index.php.en
Oxford Mindfulness Center- http://www.oxfordmindfulness.org/train/master-classes/