Mindfulness helps us to focus our thoughts, let go of unhelpful ones, and respond to challenges rationally and calmly. From a business perspective, this means teams and individuals working together more seamlessly and productively — and making better decisions all around. And it’s on this basis that you’ve sold the idea of implementing mindfulness into your workplace.
But what happens next? How do you turn this momentum into a culture-wide reality in your workplace? The next important step is to outline the business case to your organization’s decision-makers and get their full buy-in. Given mindfulness’s relatively new status in the business world, successfully articulating the value of it to those in charge is crucial to embedding it within your workplace culture.
When making the case for mindfulness, it’s important to outline the following areas:
As the concept of mindfulness has existed for over two thousand years, you’ll need to justify why now is the perfect time to start prioritizing and promoting it in a business context.
As with almost everything these days, the pandemic has hugely impacted the timing. Following the almost overnight shift to remote working at the start of lockdown, we’ve seen mindfulness become a permanent fixture across many industries. With increased flexibility and the opportunity for a better work-life balance, what’s not to like about remote working? Remote working can be a double-edged sword, however. Research has shown that during lockdown, remote workers were largely working longer hours and facing larger workloads than before the pandemic.
With longer hours and larger workloads come increased levels of dissatisfaction among workers. The ramifications are widespread and complex, which we’ll go into more detail in the next section.
The pandemic impacted different industries in different ways, and few were left unscathed. For many, this meant lost profits and revenue, causing organizations across the board to slash their budgets. Therefore, it’s understandable that leaders would question the necessity of placing precious resources into (what could be considered) unnecessary initiatives. To put it plainly, the shockwaves of the pandemic have hit employees hard, and the long-term impacts of not addressing these issues could be far more damaging.
Research from our recent whitepaper, ‘Stress in the Workplace: How Mindfulness Can Help’, found that a third of employees reported being stressed at work. Unsurprisingly, it showed that stressed workers are less engaged, have reduced productivity, and have higher levels of absenteeism and turnover. Therefore, even though the majority of Covid restrictions have been lifted, the situation doesn’t seem to be improving.
In fact, the impacts of the great resignation are only worsening. CNBC recently reported that there are now a record 5 million more job openings than unemployed people in the U.S. There’s no doubt it’s currently an employee’s market, and those feeling overworked and undervalued aren’t going to stick around for long. For organizations wanting to avoid losing their best talent, in addition to spending more time and money on recruitment, these issues must be addressed.
The good news is, it’s not all doom and gloom. Implementing mindfulness initiatives is not just about avoiding potentially negative consequences, but implementing positive change with real and tangible benefits.
Businesses around the world are starting to see the benefits of promoting a supportive, inclusive work environment. For example, organizations that have employed mindfulness programs to support healthier cultures have benefitted from an 85% increase in positive attitudes towards work, a 74% boost in employee engagement and a 70% surge in teamwork and collaboration.
In addition to keeping existing employees content, organizations aiming to attract top talent need to understand and acknowledge that the priorities of job seekers are slowly shifting towards a new reality. As well as greater flexibility, employees are looking for an employer who takes their mental well-being seriously.
Interestingly, we’re seeing organizations also shifting their priorities. For example, many companies are rapidly ramping up activity around their ESG initiatives. Though employee mental health and well-being are not often top of mind when it comes to ESG, they are absolutely key to it. Mindfulness is a great place to start and an opportunity to properly embed these new ideas into how a business thinks and operates.
If you’re interested in learning more about mindful cultures and what organizations need to do to make way for these programs, you can read more here.