Mindfulness at Work

By Bob Martel

Let’s face it.
Mindfulness is a hot topic, especially in the workplace as companies look for that edge in the marketplace. Why is it so hot? More than ever, employees are stressed, overwhelmed, mesmerized by technology and unfocused. Since mindfulness has evolved into a secular practice, it is fast becoming more widely accepted.
But, let me ask, where do you stand? Is mindfulness at work just a silly concept embraced by your competition? Or, rather, is adopting a more mindful approach to business a deliberate strategy that sets you apart? Is the idea of becoming more conscious of life in the present moment something that you can embrace or do you not see how greater awareness and concentrated focus can lead to happier, more productive employees and increased profits?
If you think the mindfulness trend in business is just a pie-in-the-sky fad that will run its course and wither on the vine, think again. You can bet that many employees are awakening to the power of their subconscious mind. Why not leverage that asset (their mind) and foster a mindful approach at work. Mindfulness at work is not a new concept, and until the robots take over it will be the people doing the selling, marketing, accounting and operations in your company. If companies like Apple, Google, Aetna, Ford, Target, General Mills, Proctor and Gamble and Green Mountain Coffee can reap the benefits of a mindful organization, why not your business, too?
Perhaps you have, indeed, already discovered that your company’s collective mind power, when developed and fully applied, is a hidden competitive advantage. It’s time to look at mindfulness as a leadership skill as well as a powerful tool that every employee can adopt. The benefits are proven and measurable: lower absenteeism, lower health care costs, improved workplace safety and increased sales, according to Ellen Langer of Harvard University. A recent University of North Carolina study also reveals that mindfulness can enable improvements in innovative thinking and creative solutions as well as improved mental clarity, new insights, ability to focus, quality of relationships at work and improved engagement in meetings.
So, now imagine your entire company, division, team or even yourself working with steadfast intention, a common vision and a commitment to the group and individual mission – working at a higher level of productivity and with less stress. Happier, too. I wonder what would be realized, what new benchmarks for performance would be set and how the net profits would improve.
If mindfulness is, in essence, a greater awareness and, as Jon Kabat-Zinn says, paying attention on purpose in the present moment, imagine what the lack of mindfulness can cost your business. A lost sales opportunity or the botched chance to serve an existing customer in new ways? Inefficiency in the office and cost over-runs in the plant? Ineffective marketing communications resulting in a value proposition not being heard or a lead not generated?
In summary, mindfulness leads to happier employees, which translates to happier customers and an extended lifetime value. It also leads to a sharper and more complete awareness enabling greater, more focused concentration, which leads to better decision making and a more deliberate response to situations and opportunities. With a little guidance and practice, a small commitment of time and the requisite patience, you should be able to implement mindfulness into your workday habits. Beyond the relief from the daily stresses of work, it just may make you a bit more effective on the job as well.
Bob Martel is a board-certified hypnotherapist, marketing consultant and author. He can be reached at 508-481-8383 or via email at bob@bobmartel.com.