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UUsing Mindfulness to boost productivity
By: Michael Winter

As companies look to innovate and drive business in today’s fast-paced, competitive environment, employee wellbeing is sometimes overlooked. But companies that realise and invest in the connection between employee health and business goals have a competitive advantage: the same factors that contribute to employee happiness and engagement have been linked to increased productivity.

Research shows that happy employees are 12% more productive than their unhappy counterparts. In one study, happier sales people sold 37% more than others who were not happy.*

A Gallup study found that companies with engaged employees outperform those without by more than 200%*

How can you bring this to your workplace?
Caring for your employees’ health and caring for your business goals don’t need to be mutually exclusive. Mindfulness meditation could be the solution for both.

Companies are turning to mindfulness training for help
Businesses have a history of investing in measures that support both employee wellbeing and business outcomes. Today, companies across diverse industries are leveraging mindfulness training as an efficient and effective way to improve employee wellbeing and productivity.

An internal study conducted by Aetna found that mindfulness increased job effectiveness. Employees gained an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity each, which Aetna estimates is worth In a study with workaholics, mindfulness training resulted in a reduction in working time for employees with no corresponding decline in job performance – employees were able to be more productive during the hours they were at work.*

$ 3,000 per employee per year*

The science behind mindfulness and productivity
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve several important factors associated with productivity
Increasing Focus

Productivity is strongly aligned with improved focus and decreased distraction. Increased focus allows employees to multitask effectively and sustain attention on their tasks. Lack of awareness and distraction have been linked to job errors and safety accidents, both of which can be detrimental to productivity. Research shows mindfulness meditation improves these critical skills. In fact, a published study using Headspace showed that after three weeks, participants increased their focus by 14% and significantly decreased mind wandering.**

Why mindfulness works

Neuroimaging studies have shown that meditation decreases activity in the “Me” centre of the brain, which is associated with thoughts of self and mind wandering. In addition, studies have shown that meditation can build and enhance neural pathways in the brain responsible for concentration and attention.*

Meditation & Sleep
The science is clear: Employees who don’t get enough sleep have significant productivity loss. In a study exploring sleep deprivation in professionals, 43% of participants who reported suffering from sleep loss said they completed tasks to a lower standard than normal. In addition to poor work performance, participants noted that being tired reduced their focus and creativity, and increased completion time on projects.*

Why mindfulness works

Mindfulness evokes the relaxation response, which engages a part of our nervous system that brings on a physical state of deep rest for the body and mind. Being in this relaxed state can help people fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer.

In one study, only 2 weeks of mindfulness training improved sleep quality and sleep duration.*

Reducing Stress
Work is a leading source of stress for adults and continues to escalate. In addition to the negative impact on employees, stress has a detrimental impact on businesses. One million workers are absent every day due to stress. Reports suggest that stress results in as much as $300 billion in lost productivity. *

Why mindfulness works

Meditation combats workplace stress by helping employees regulate emotions, changing the brain to be more resilient to stress and improving stress biomarkers. A Harvard study showed that meditation can have a longer-lasting effect on reducing stress levels than a vacation. After 10 months, the vacationers’ stress levels returned to baseline, while the meditators’ reduced stress levels persisted.* Looking for a more immediate antidote for stress? An internally-led Headspace pilot study showed that only 10 days of Headspace resulted in a 14% reduction in stress.


Meditation combats workplace stress by helping employees regulate emotions, changing the brain to be more resilient to stress and improving stress biomarkers. A Harvard study showed that meditation can have a longer-lasting effect on reducing stress levels than a vacation. After 10 months, the vacationers’ stress levels returned to baseline, while the meditators’ reduced stress levels persisted.* Looking for a more immediate antidote for stress? An internally-led Headspace pilot study showed that only 10 days of Headspace resulted in a 14% reduction in stress.

Boosting Engagement
Research shows that engaged employees are more productive at work than their less engaged peers. Another study of small and medium sized businesses found that organisations with the most engaged employees have 65% higher stock value, 26% less employee turnover and 20% less absenteeism.*

According to a Gallup survey looking at a diverse employee population, teams with high employee engagement were 21% more productive.*

Why mindfulness works

Research has found a positive correlation between mindfulness and engagement at work. Mindfulness helps foster the characteristics that lead to enhanced engagement and job satisfaction, such as better relationships with coworkers, lower stress, and increased emotional balance and positivity. In a published study, nurses who used Headspace for 30 days had significant improvements in job satisfaction.*

Beyond focus, stress, sleep and engagement.
Meditation can positively impact physical health and disease, which can directly impact productivity.
With an increasing business need for strong productivity and demand for convenient and effective solutions, mindfulness training is the right approach for many companies.

References

Arnold, Amélie E. MSc; Coffeng, Jennifer K. PhD; Boot, Cécile R.L. PhD; van der Beek, Allard J. PhD; van Tulder, Maurits W. PhD; Nieboer, Dagmar MSc; van Dongen, Johanna M. PhD.The Relationship Between Job Satisfaction and Productivity-Related Costs: A Longitudinal Analysis. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 9 - p 874–879

Fortney L, Luchterhand C, Zakletskaia L, Zgierska A, Rakel D. Abbreviated Mindfulness Intervention for Job Satisfaction, Quality of Life, and Compassion in Primary Care Clinicians: A Pilot Study. Annals of Family Medicine. 2013;11(5):412-420. doi:10.1370/afm.1511.

Katz, Abigail S. PhD; Pronk, Nicolaas P. PhD; Lowry, Marcia MS. The Association Between Optimal Lifestyle-Related Health Behaviors and Employee Productivity. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 7 - p 708–713

Klatt M, Steinberg B, Duchemin A-M. Mindfulness in Motion (MIM): An Onsite Mindfulness Based Intervention (MBI) for Chronically High Stress Work Environments to Increase Resiliency and Work Engagement. Journal of Visualised Experiments : JoVE. 2015;(101):52359. doi:10.3791/52359.

Klatt M, Norre C, Reader B, Yodice L, White S. Mindfulness, 2017, Volume 8, Number 2, Page 48.

Hülsheger, U. R., Feinholdt, A. and Nübold, A. (2015), A low-dose mindfulness intervention and recovery from work: Effects on psychological detachment, sleep quality, and sleep duration. J Occup Organ Psychol, 88: 464–489. doi:10.1111/joop.12115

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280292518_Examining_workplace_mindfulness_and_ its_relations_to_job_performance_and_turnover_intention

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12671-015-0388-5

Added: 12-07-2018