The most driven, forward-thinking companies are no stranger to risks. They are willing to take on failing projects and real gambles for success, but when it comes to allowing their employees to take a second to breathe, they draw the line. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Shawn Achor and Michelle Gielan explain the importance of being “mindfully balanced.”
Clear Minds Produce Better Work
Senior leaders are quick to preach about the importance of getting more done with less or working harder and faster, but rarely do they recommend to take a breather. However, being mindful is what is going to push the business strategy to exude better success. Aetna took this idea into practice and invested in programs to educate their employees. More than 50,000 have participated, to take short breaks to simply meditate or practice yoga. Mindfulness numbers increased, but more surprisingly, stress levels dropped by 28 percent, sleep quality improved by 20 percent, and pain dropped by 19 percent. A happier, healthier employee will save a company money, and for Aetna, that equated to employees gaining 62 minutes of productivity a week, or a $3,000-per-employee increase a year.
What does being more mindful mean in the office setting? According to Ellen Langer, a psychologist from Harvard, it encompasses simply noticing more moment-to-moment changes occurring around an individual. A company could benefit from some mindfulness training if its employees answer “yes” to these questions:
- In downtime, when you are not being “productive,” do you feel as though you are getting behind?
- When you are not busy, do you immediately whip out your phone to fill the time?
- When you have downtime, do you struggle to know how to fill it?
- Do you dream of a more successful team?
- Do you desire a promotion?
Mindfulness training can occur in mere minutes a day and can combat these questions effectively. There is never “too much” going on to fit in some breathing exercises, and if there is, it is a cry for the need of a moment’s break.
You can read the original article here: https://hbr.org/2015/12/the-busier-you-are-the-more-you-need-mindfulness