The World Health Organization is widely quoted saying that "stress will be the health epidemic of the 21-century." When quantified, this is no small matter. Stress-related ailments cost companies over $300 billion a year in increased absenteeism, tardiness, diminished productivity, turnover of talented workers and medical, legal and insurance costs. On an individual level, health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
The question is not how do we eliminate stress but, rather, how can we learn to relate to life's inevitable stress in different ways?
We know that employees who practice mindfulness report less emotional exhaustion and greater job satisfaction compared to those peers who do not practice mindfulness. (Hulsheger et al., 2012). We also have research indicating that employees who take up mindfulness practices tend to experience less stress and more job satisfaction and productivity. (Davidson, Kabat-Zinn, et al 2003).
There are many benefits of bringing science-based mindfulness training to both employees and the organization. Mindfulness in the workplace can help leaders and employees:
- Respond to adaptive challenges, which often have no clear, immediate answers
- Create the mindset and conditions to thrive in an always-on, hyper-connected world
- Build trust and foster increased collaboration among team members
- Sustain greater concentration on the task at hand
- Increase productivity and efficiency
- Redirect focus and have greater clarity
- Become more resilient during times of challenge and change
- Reduce burn-out
- Improve the ability to think strategically
- Listen better to themselves and others
- Promote increased levels of creativity and innovation
- Demonstrate greater empathy and compassion toward self and others
- Improve work-life balance and job satisfaction
- Reflect the brand in communication, behavior and actions—toward customers and each other
While it has yet to be quantified, the aim is that better employee effectiveness can lead to better organizational effectiveness and, ultimately, improved company profitability.