The American Institute of Stress published a report concerning the attitude of American employees at the workplace. Let’s go through the stats briefly.
- 80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their co-workers need such help
- 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress
- 75% of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago
- 14% of respondents had felt like striking a co-worker in the past year, but didn’t
“We are facing a national mental health crisis that could yield serious health and social consequences for years to come.” – American Psychological Association (APA)
Where Does This Stress Come from?
There are many external factors that leave a negative impact on an individual’s mental health. One such aspect that suffers the most is work performance. A 2017 American Psychological Association (APA) study on stress found that Americans had profoundly suffered from always-increasing stress.
Besides personal and work life stress, COVID-19 has added salt to the injury. Along with other stressors, this pandemic has left destructive marks on our minds and bodies. Luckily, mindfulness comes to the rescue as it trains stress endurance. Let’s learn how!
What is Mindfulness?
We understand mindfulness as:
“Mindfulness is a skill set that you can learn, and through constant training, it is possible to achieve sustainable behavior change. It is the ability to stay focused on the task at hand, increasing awareness of thoughts, feelings, habits, and actions.”
Engaged Employees VS. Disengaged Employees
You must have met a co-worker who lacks energy, nags about the boss and workload, dozes off amid meetings, loves blame games, and sucks at communication? That’s surefire a disengaged employee.
An engaged employee is the total opposite. He is passionate, shows enthusiasm, and is actively involved with his work and co-worker
The Gallup Organization has been measuring employee engagement since 2000. The findings highlight that only 30% of employees showed engagement over the past 18 years. The 2018 Gallup survey presented the following results:
- Engaged Employees = 34%
- Disengaged Employees = 53%
As there is a vast majority of disengaged employees, it affects your company big time. Mindfulness is one of the most effective ways to engage those sloths with their work and colleagues alike. Let’s see how it boosts an employee’s engagement.
How Mindfulness Boosts Employee Engagement
1- Provides Physical Energy for your employee
We tend to overlook the fact that a workout, adequate amount of sleep, and proper nutrition hold great significance in our lives. They factor into ensuring a sustainable performance in on-work as well as our day-to-day lives.
People take pride in eating less (intending to lose weight) and taking little sleep (when 7+ hours of sleep is required). When you become habitual, you walk around sleep-deprived like a semi-stoned person. This significantly affects your work performance and puts you under immense stress of pulling off the tasks.
To overcome it, mindfulness provides you with physical energy to give you a boost. Meditation practice boost your energy levels because conscious awareness is known to lower stress.
2- Improves Focus
Dasa – a monk – conducted a number of meditation and mindfulness training at many corporate sectors including Google, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, etc. He says:
“We’re always running around. We’re trying to eat our sandwich while driving, [and] listening to our messages on the phone and planning something else. How are we going to have time to do one thing properly? We’re not.”
Case in point: you lose focus when you multitask.
It is a major problem that employees face at work. Your brain can process limited information at a time. By switching between tasks back and forth, your brain takes a while to figure out the information it was processing in the first place.
Researchers have assessed the effect of meditation on people’s attention span. A review of 23 different studies found that those who had been meditating for many months were better at weeding out distractions and retaining their attention span compared to those who had been meditating for a quite shorter time.
3- Reduce Stress
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States estimates that stress is responsible for up to 75% of all hospital visits. These visits are primarily for headaches, backache, sleep problems, fatigue, heart problems, upset stomach, stomach ulcer, and accidents. In addition, it is estimated that 80% to 90% of all industrial accidents are related to personal problems and employees’ inability to handle stress.
To overcome this threatening level of stress, experts recommend meditation and mindfulness. By practicing mindfulness, you stay calm. So, the production of stress hormones in your body will also experience a decline.
4- Improves Productivity
“People who practiced mindfulness for ten minutes or more each day had an increase in their ability to focus, to regulate their emotions, to empathize, to adapt to changing circumstances and to try out different perspectives.” – Michael Chaskalson – Mindfulness Coach
When there is less stress, people rarely get panic attacks. This, in turn, switches on divergent thinking, which yields positive outcomes, such as improved productivity.
5- Boosts Creativity
To confirm that improved creativity is one of the leading benefits of mindfulness, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands set up an experiment. The objective was to verify that a few minutes of mindfulness practice boosts creativity. 129 took part in this study. They were divided into three groups. They all were asked to generate as many business ideas as they possibly could.
Before the experiment, one group participated in 10-minute meditation. The second group participated in a fake 10-minute meditation. And the third group started brainstorming ideas right off the bat.
The meditators brewed a wider range of ideas by 22% than the other two groups.
Last But Not the Least, Mindfulness Saves Healthcare Cost
Believe it or not, you will get your investment in mindfulness training back in the form of increased productivity of your employees and a decrease in their healthcare costs. A team of researchers at Harvard University reviewed a mind-body relaxation program offered by the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine. This program taught many mind-body relaxation techniques, such as meditation, mindfulness, positive psychology, etc. The test subjects of this study actively participated in this research and kept practicing at home as well.
In those individuals, the scientists observed a 43% reduction in getting medical services compared to a year prior to attending this program. It saved about $2,360 per individual in the emergency visits alone. This means that on average, each person saved around $28,320 per year.
“There are many ways to get to the well state — many gates to wellness, but not every gate is open to every person. One of the strengths of the program is that it draws upon many different tools that reinforce each other and allow many gates to be opened to a wide array of people.” – Dr. Stahl, Director at Dartmouth Primary Care Research Fellowship
Take Advantage of Modern Mindfulness Technology for Employee Engagement
Technological advances have opened new ways to ensure your employees’ wellbeing and sustainability. For instance, you can host a physical or virtual mindfulness program for your staff. The best way to go about it is inviting an expert mindfulness coach and have a 30-minute training arranged.
In this COVID-19 era, you can also organize a hybrid event for this purpose. The upside of this hybrid event is that you can ensure the participation of as many people as you want without compromising the SOPs.
Besides that, we recommend using apps like DeRose Meditation, which offers meditation, breathing and mindfulness classes.
With all the aforementioned benefits of practicing mindfulness, companies will not only be able to increase their employee engagement, but also the gross revenue.
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