Mindfulness in the workplace is one of the most important trends that businesses are paying attention to. As part of a series dedicated to must-read books for HR leaders, we're exploring key lessons from "Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from the Inside Out" by David Gelles.
Gelles notes that there are numerous benefits from mindfulness. "Across industries, there is an elite subculture of accomplished professionals who are discovering the power of mindfulness," Gelles says. "They are becoming more effective and more focused and in the process getting better at their jobs."
For HR leaders who are contemplating different strategies to help foster a healthier, happier and more productive workplace, here's a look at three key benefits of incorporating mindfulness into your work culture.
1. Better Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EI) affects the workplace at all levels, and mindfulness can help improve EI, according to Harvard Business Review (HBR). "Mindfulness means being aware of our experiences, observing them without judgment, and responding from a place of clarity and compassion, rather than fear, insecurity, or greed," Gelles says. When mindfulness in the workplace helps teams achieve more emotional clarity, it can have numerous benefits, including:
- More effective management styles
- Better manager-employee relationships
- Stronger, healthier team dynamics
- Fewer rash decisions that can damage the business
- Healthier strategies for preventing or addressing conflict when it comes up
- Creating a more positive work environment
2. Improved Focus and Productivity
Inc.com notes that mindfulness in the workplace plays a critical role at keeping your team sharp, specifically by improving three features — stability, control and efficiency. As Gelles notes, meditation allows people to learn how to manage distractions. Workers operate in a 24/7 environment of constant distractions with email, smartphones, social media, the 24-hour news cycle and multiple projects and deadlines. It's important for your employees to develop the skills to put their focus where it's needed most.
3. Enhanced Creativity
As automation becomes more common and routine administrative tasks are completed by computers and algorithms, the real value that people bring to the table is creativity. Enhanced creativity can help develop new products, find innovative solutions to problems and redesign processes in an effective way. HBR reports that studies show people are at their most creative when they're in a relaxed state. Relaxation allows people to look at problems differently, using divergent thinking to consider the widest range of potential solutions and hone in on the right one. Encouraging mindfulness in the workplace can support a stronger creative process.
There's a strong case for introducing mindfulness in the workplace — from increased productivity to an improved employee experience. As Gelles says, "Mindfulness makes us more focused, more effective, and happier, to name just a few benefits. So it's little wonder why today, in multinational corporations and small businesses alike, more and more people are meditating on the job."
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