How HR can Promote Mindfulness in the Office

The goal of mindfulness is to be aware, moment by moment, of your body, your thoughts, your surroundings, and your motivations. While the practice of mindfulness originated in Buddhist meditations, secular use is very common. People practice mindfulness in different ways for various reasons, and many of the benefits are helpful in a work setting, as well.

Practicing mindfulness has been found, among other things, to improve memory, tune out distractions, increase empathy and self-compassion, boost the immune system, and reduce overall stress.

Organizations like Google, Harvard, HBO, Apple, Nike, Procter & Gamble and many others have caught on and implemented mindfulness or meditation programs for their employees.

A follow-up with employes at General Mills, whose employees participated in a mindfulness program which included meditation, yoga and dailague, found that 80 percent of participants reported a positive change in their decision-making and 89 percent found an increase in their listening capabilities. Participants of similar programs also reported an increase in employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, employee collaboration, and more. (

If that’s not enough, Talentsmart a company that offers consultants and training programs to help organizations develop emotional intelligence in their employees, conducted research with over one million individuals and reported these findings: “90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.” To put it all together: mindfulness reduces stress and fosters emotional control, which in turn can improve employee performance.

Programs to Offer

Check out this corporate based mindfulness training program by Potential Project, endorsed by Google Director Loren Shuster.

Also look into Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which has been around since the 70s and is a group-based program developed in the University of Massachusetts Medical School to help manage pain. The program includes meditation practices, yoga, and mindfulness training. Since its inception the program has expanded its focus to healthy individuals as well.

The Institute for Mindful Leadership, founded by Janice Marturano who developed General Mill’s meditation training program, offers retreats, classes and workshops “that train the mind’s innate capability to be focused, see with clarity, cultivate creativity and embody compassion.” The institute trains business leaders from all over the country.

Not ready to offer anything so formal? Start small by encouraging short meditation techniques like a smiling or a breath mediation. Learn about 12 different work-ready meditation practices.

Jera Brown is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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