Why Companies Are Embracing Corporate Mindfulness
Anne Krog Iversen, Chief DNA & Culture Officer at TimeXtender
Let’s face it. We want the best for both our company and our employees.
Our employees are truly the essence of what makes a company thrive. Sure, strategic management, business practices, and innovation are all drivers for helping a company to flourish through the years, but in the end, it’s all about “people.”
And for those of us involved with corporate wellness, culture management and building a strong corporate DNA, we take the task of helping our people to succeed very seriously. We aim to create a corporate culture and environment that produces more than just “widgets.” With corporate mindfulness, companies have the opportunity to truly inspire their employees so that the workplace is an exciting and fulfilling part of their lives.
With that in mind, we understand that we live in a fast-paced society with constant change, demands, and stress. This type of lifestyle can be stimulating and exciting, but it can also be exhausting, draining, and unhealthy.
The good news is research has shown that help is available in the form of mindfulness.
The Harvard Business Review published a story on December 18, 2015 indicating that the busier you are the more you need mindfulness: “Truly forward-thinking leaders recognize that one of the best business strategies is developing the mindfulness of their workforce.” The article stated that “A lack of mindfulness robs everyone of the opportunity to see potential paths to success.”
The story went on to reference a study by researchers at the University of Washington that found that mindfulness can improve both work accuracy and the ability to multitask, along with reducing stress.
Practicing mindfulness can pay great personal dividends, including more energy, awareness, and better health to name just a few. The problem is a) finding the time to practice mindfulness and b) knowing what to do and where to begin.
Consider this: while we’re born mindful, intuitively we live in the moment being creative and positive; however, as we grow up, we’re taught a different mindset and different values and so we have to find our way back. This is similar to what top athletes do, as they work on their mental mindset to perform better and to stay happy on their journey. Without mindfulness, we revert back to living in that fast-paced society mentioned earlier that can have ill effects with no game plan for recovery.
So what to do?
The answer can be found in a growing movement known as corporate mindfulness. Most of us have heard about mindfulness, but what we’re talking about here is the dedication and commitment put forth by corporations to support their employees at work and during work. This of course has many inherent advantages to it. First, it alleviates individuals struggling to find the time. Second, with someone at the company trained in mindfulness, it removes the barrier of not practicing due to a lack of knowledge and understanding on what to do and where to begin. And third, and this is where a big payoff can occur for the company and employee alike, it makes going to work a refreshing, invigorating experience. And this is a vision that all managers should aspire to.
There are many ways to put forth a corporate mindfulness program, but the key is to get started. To do so, let’s consider a few simple, yet effective strategies for creating your corporate mindfulness program.
- Corporate Environment. Create a climate within your corporate halls of peace, harmony, and enlightenment. We’ve heard a lot about Feng shui in the home, bring some of those ideas to your organization as well.
- Corporate Commitment. Like any new venture, we have to schedule regular activities into our work schedule so that it becomes routine. This could include sessions such as meditation, stretching, walks, breathing breaks, or other activities or what we call “recharge.” The goal here is on strengthening brain fitness, helping employees reach their goals as individuals, and providing a platform for helping employees become balanced on the work/life journey.
- Corporate Talk. As the old saying goes, “If you’re going to talk the talk, then walk the walk.” With blogging and social media, you have excellent communication platforms for talking about and sharing ideas with your employees (and other stakeholders) about mindfulness. Take advantage of them to share your insights about corporate mindfulness.
- Corporate Model. It will be imperative to create a model that you use as your centerpiece for corporate mindfulness. At our company, we’ve embraced the Seven Habits created by Stephen Covey. The Seven Habits have become a cornerstone for our corporate mindfulness program, but more so, it’s become an integral part of who we are, in essence, our corporate DNA. Seven Habits is a shared language that helps all of our employees unite across global regional offices.
- Corporate Identity. Another opportunity that exists for you when building your corporate mindfulness program is the idea of offering something unique that can become part of your brand identity. As one example, we’ve instituted the idea of a “minute of silence” prior to beginning any new meeting, onsite or offsite, to help employees (and other meeting participants) remove any thoughts from their previous engagement, and to land, focus and connect comfortably for the new session that is about to begin.
The bottom line is this: we’re all busy with work and life, and time is one of our most precious assets. Taking time out of your busy workday for mindfulness might seem inconvenient to many corporations, but when you consider how much more productive and positive your staff can become, with greater energy, awareness, and creativity, it’s hard not to include mindfulness as a key strategic corporate initiative.
About the Author:
Anne Krog Iversen is the Co-Founder and Chief DNA & Culture Officer at TimeXtender, where she built, implemented, and manages corporate mindfulness throughout all of its global offices and has made it an integral part of the company’s DNA. She has played an instrumental role in growing TimeXtender across numerous geographic regions and attracting more than 2,600 customers worldwide.