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Andrew Kaplan August 6, 2019 2 min read

Encouraging Mindfulness Improves Employees’ Workplace Experience

Work sucks. Work is awesome. Work is boring. Work is exciting. Work is meh.

The work experience your people have? Often, it just depends on the day—what went right, what went wrong, who was nice, who was mean, if they got what they wanted, if they were thwarted, what they were asked to do, what they put off for another time, if they were doing what they like to do, if they were doing what they don’t like to do but had to anyway.

Even if your people (and you!) mostly like or love what they do, their daily work experience usually depends on what’s happening at the moment. Such is work (and life).

So how do you help your people improve their experience at work? One way that continues to gain widespread traction and acceptance is promoting and encouraging mindfulness.

Mindfulness is focusing on what’s happening in the moment, with an attitude of openness, curiosity, and care.

We can all be somewhat mindful some of the time. But doing it more consistently and thoroughly, especially at work, takes learning and practice. Learning and practice take teaching and training, the right environment, and encouragement. Encouragement takes support and communication.

Mindfulness is already making its way into the workplace. Mindfulness meditation apps such as Calm, Headspace, Buddhify, and others like them are being integrated into employer wellness programs. And companies such as Google, JPMorgan Chase, and Aetna have implemented them as a way to increase productivity. Other organizations, such as Nike, Procter & Gamble, and HBO offer on-site meditation spaces and classes to make it easy for their employees to practice mindfulness meditation.

If you’re thinking about introducing a mindfulness program at your workplace, consider these 5 guidelines for ensuring a successful rollout:

  1. Get leadership and key stakeholders on board. They’ll need to be supportive of the effort and actively involved in it. When employees see and understand this commitment from leadership and key stakeholders, they’re more likely to believe that the initiative has value.
  2. Be clear about the purpose. Provide employees with a clear explanation of the purpose of the program, steps, goals/objectives, and progress/success measures. Tie the purpose to your business/organizational objectives and environment—mindfulness program goals should reflect your culture’s mission, vision, and values.
  3. Say what the program is and isn’t. Dispel myths and establish concretely what the program is designed to help employees do better—and what it’s not meant to do.
  4. Avoid a religious association. Mindfulness is often associated with Eastern philosophy and Eastern religions. Be sure the language in your mindfulness communication is carefully considered and crafted so that it’s fully inclusive and sensitive to individuals of all religious beliefs and to those who don’t believe in or practice religion.
  5. Provide your people with the proper support and resources, and tell them all about it. Your mindfulness program communication should clearly explain the who, what, when, where, and why of your program, and how it’s designed to be helpful at work. Offer in-person support at work and after work, and tools that can include apps, website content and podcasts, and print and video collateral, to help employees learn about and practice mindfulness.

To embed mindfulness in your workplace successfully, it can’t be a one-and-done. Rather, it should be a concerted, planful effort of ongoing education and reinforcement.

Read about how we worked with Intuit to help them embed mindfulness into their wellness program.

Andrew Kaplan

Andrew Kaplan, VP Senior Consultant, has been with Segal Benz for over 15 years working with private sector employers, public sector entities, and multiemployer trust funds.