A Case for Incorporating Mindfulness in Your Workplace

The majority of our time is spent working, and studies have indicated these are not the happiest hours of our lives. Stress is endemic in our culture, and this impacts individual well-being and organization-wide performance, costing millions of dollars and taking years off of our lives.

Meanwhile, success in most organizations relies on the very things that unhappiness and stress erode–collaboration, innovation, enthusiasm, and effective decision-making.

Organizational mindfulness or workplace mindfulness is associated with benefits for individual employees as well as for the organization as a whole. When mindfulness becomes a shared social practice in an organization, and upholds values and permeates culture, processes, and practices between people and across teams, then the organization as a whole becomes more resilient and performs more sustainably.

Benefits beyond managing stress include stronger relationships, better leadership, more innovation, fewer mistakes and safety incidents, and more effective decision-making.

For example, research on workplace mindfulness has linked mindfulness to improved relationships at work, supporting collaboration and improving employees’ resilience in the face of challenges. Positive relationships equals productive teams. This ultimately influences a company’s financial success.

In one study, mindful leaders who reduced employee emotional exhaustion and increased employee work–life balance saw improved employee performance and engagement. “Supervisor mindfulness was positively related to employee job satisfaction and psychological need satisfaction,” according to The Mindfulness Initiative.

Insights published in books like Nudge, Thinking, Fast and Slow, and The Economist Guide to Decision Making indicate that mindfulness affects how we attend to and process information. Ultimately, behavioral insights coupled with the present-moment awareness offered by mindfulness could be a powerful tool to support better decision-making.