Mindfulness at Work

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Schemes and routines that target mental well-being are being introduced into the fundamental values and procedures of companies up and down the country. Whether large or small, with two employees or two thousand, employers are in a strong position to impose new incentives into their working calendar.

Certain incentives may be costly and could potentially deter employers from incorporating them into their company, however there are quick, easy and free options available such as meditation. The benefits of meditation classes or mindfulness can be huge for those who find themselves in high pressured environments at work, with stress and panic being far too common on a daily basis. A number of the benefits of regular meditation are as follows:

  • Increases activity in different brain regions, including those parts involved in learning and memory processes, emotion regulation and perspective taking.
  • Improves attention, compassion and empathy.
  • Calms the autonomic nervous system and decreases cortisol.
     
  • Boosts the immune system.
     
  • Improves medical conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, premenstrual syndrome and chronic pain.
     
  • Improves psychological conditions such as anxiety, insomnia, phobias and eating disorders.

Further information:

  • Click here for a helpful resource which explains how you can introduce mindfulness to the workplace.
     
  • Mindfulness is one of the core ways we can help tackle the epidemic of mental illness as Tim Loughton explains here.
     
  • Find out more on Tim’s work on mindfulness by clicking here.

Case Studies

In the following paragraphs, there are case studies that outline the importance of mindfulness within the workplace, with evidence and figures showing how it directly correlates with progress within the companies in question.

Transport for London

  • TFL has offered mindfulness courses combined with other interventions like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to staff. This has led to 71% reduction in days off for stress, anxiety and depression.
     
  • Absences for all conditions dropped by 50% according to internal assessments.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust

  • The Trust launched the Staff Mindfulness Project in 2012. Since then, Twelve Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy programmes have been delivered a year and 150 staff (clinical and non-clinical) have completed courses, with regular three-hour introductory workshops and Days of Mindfulness in addition.
  • The three-year pilot project, with an annual budget of £30,000, won a national award in 2014.
     
  • Evaluation shows significant benefits in relation to compassion, psychological distress, anxiety and emotional exhaustion.
     
  • A follow-up study demonstrated that most eight-week programme graduates continue to use mindfulness practices and describe lasting gains in areas such as well-being, stress management and relationships with colleagues, service users and carers.
     
  • Programme graduates often report that the experience has been life-changing. Managers' report that mindfulness is beginning to change the culture of the organisation.

To find out more about how to implement Mindfulness in the workplace, click here