Do Businesses really Need Mindfulness?
Discussion With Empowerment and Mindfulness Coach, Catherine Galea
We asked Catherine Galea if businesses really do need mindfulness, and how we can use mindful techniques to improve our health and wellbeing.
Lately, the word “mindfulness” has come up in countless conversations and people are really starting to wonder what all the fuss is about, asking if it is actually beneficial to business and people in general. More than 60% of large companies include some sort of mindfulness practice whilst training their employees. Google, Tesla, Aetna, Meta and many other organisations have embraced mindfulness.
We also asked how can we use mindfulness techniques to improve our health and wellbeing in relation to the workplace; and also how can a business benefits from all this. We find it fascinating how mindfulness can provide so much for all those involved in a business. Also, there are so many simple practical ways that it can be weaved into the day to day business. And it can also include an element of creativity and fun. Mindfulness at the workplace does not have to be serious!
Catherine Galea, do business really need mindfulness?
Well, I am a bit biased. Of course, businesses need mindfulness. To remove the bias, I share here with you some case studies from ‘The Mindfulness Initiative’ in the UK that demonstrates that businesses, their leaders and employees benefit from the practice of some sort of sort of mindfulness. We have some of the most successful business in the world that have adopted the practice of mindfulness within their organisations. To mention a few; Apple, IBM, Intel, General Electric, General Mills, Google, Aetna, Ford, IKEA, eBay, Linkedin and the U.S. Marines.
“Stress reduction and mindfulness not just make us happier and healthier, they are a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one.” – Arianna Huffington.
How can mindfulness help businesses?
Mindfulness can help business in different ways. Mindfulness can be part of the solution to common problems that business encounter. These are some common problems that can be supported by incorporating mindfulness into HR, development and wellbeing programs:
- Employee burnout / stress
- Goals not being achieved / Deadlines not met
- Team conflict
- Lack of communication
- Lack of focus
- Lack of creativity
- Lack of employee engagement
- Cultural differences
- High employee turnover
- Added stress that ‘Covid 19’ has brought with it
Does mindfulness reduce turnover?
To decide whether mindfulness will help in reducing turnover, one has to identify the reasons why employees are leaving. Many times, when there is a high turnover there is a sense of ‘unhappiness’ lurking around. The source of unhappiness needs to be investigated. Mindfulness on its own would not reduce the turnover unless other measures are taken, if necessary. For example, if employees are leaving due to high stress / burnout, besides the practice of mindfulness, the organisation needs to look at other practical reasons of the stress. Maybe understaffing and unrealistic deadlines. These are issues that need to be dealt with. But, if some employees are getting over stressed because of their own ‘habitual thinking’, their own ‘perceptions’, their own beliefs about themselves then mindfulness is a brilliant practice to help them manage their levels of undue high stress.
Another example, would be that if a high turnover is due to lack of communication and team conflict, practicing compassionate listening and loving kindness towards each other would definitely support in improving the team relationships. This will help in reducing turnover.
How do you implement mindfulness in the workplace?
There are various ways of implementing a mindfulness initiative at the workplace. One would have to tailor make the programme according to the operations and needs of the organisation that is interested. I always recommend to start with a one off mindfulness workshop to see whether the employees would take it on as a more routine part of their life. One must mention that the employees involved must be willing to try and take responsibility in implementing the practices beyond the classes / workshops / programmes. If there is employee resistance, we would need to investigate that and we might decide it is not the best solution for that organisation.
Whilst, a one off workshop is a good starting point, of course this is not enough as we will need to build consistency and a new habit. So, if we are a right fit, then I would recommend a 6 week mindfulness programme that is accredited by the EFT & Mindfulness Centre. These can be facilitated on site or online.
Besides the 6 week programme, the workplace can adopt a mindfulness policy across the working environment. This can be referred to as a shared social practice. For example, encouraging mindful breaks, and if the business has the space, it can even offer a small room for this quiet space of mindfulness. I like to call it a grounding and re-centering break. Another example would be to have a short practice of mindfulness at the start of meetings. With understanding of each organisation and a little bit of creativity we can create mindful workplaces that support the individual employees, the teams, managers and leaders and the collective business.
Google is a great example of how it incorporated mindfulness in its operation. It offers classes and online resources for all staff. There are daily practice session in many offices around the world. They also organise day long meditation retreat in different locations.
What are the practices used in mindfulness?
We can practice mindfulness formally or informally. What does this mean?
Formal mindfulness, is what most of us known as sitting down, or crossed legs, or lying down listening to an audio and following the instructions. They are different forms of mindfulness mediation audios. These are all explored and taught in the 6 week programme.
The other very important aspect of mindfulness is the informal practice which by practice becomes a new way of living. I like to refer to it as ‘mindful living’.
For example, it includes the way we eat, the ability to do one task at a time and be solely focused on it, the way we behave and interact, practicing compassion in our relationships. So many different ways in practising mindfulness as we go about in our daily life.
The formal practice is a form of mind-training that strengthens the intention to stay present and cultivate a non judgemental, curious, caring attitude towards life. This will lead to being able to lead a life of mindfulness as we go along in our daily life.
“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” (Jon Kabat Zinn)
Which strategies are most effective for increasing workplace mindfulness?
I personally believe a 6 week programme is a very good strategy of having mindfulness at the workplace. But it cannot just stop with the 6 week programme. The employees attending must be encouraged to practice in their own personal time and working time. So creating a working environment that supports mindfulness, in my opinion is essential. Google, as already mentioned, is a great example. Also, some employees might need additional support in view of their own personal issues so one to one coaching with mindfulness can also support the process.
As I mentioned before, there is no one size that fits all. So, an initial consultation is always essential to build a mindfulness at the workplace strategy that benefits the whole organisation.
Who is Catherine Galea?
Catherine is motivated by her vision to see a happier and more compassionate world. Following her journey of healing and transformation due to an eating disorder that led her to live an unhappy life full of self criticism, she decided she wanted to help others change their life so they can be happy, healthy and fulfilled.
Catherine Galea is an Accredited Trainer for Mindfulness in Education and also Adults with the accredited EFT & Mindfulness Centre. She is also an Accredited Life Coach, Master NLP Practitioner, Accredited EFT Practitioner, Reiki Healer, and Chakradance Facilitator. She also holds a Diploma in Training and Development with the University of Leicester.
Catherine has been teaching mindfulness to children and adults for the last 5 years. She has taught mindfulness to children in private group settings and also school settings.She uses mindfulness with her clients on a 1-1 basis, and she also teaches mindfulness to larger groups such as University students, in the tourism, i-gaming and telecom sector.
Catherine has been featured few times on the radio, TV programmes and also news articles. She has recently been one of the speakers interviewed during the ‘Global Mindfulness in Education’ summit. Last June Catherine has been awarded by Global Woman Club the ‘Inspirational Award’ during the annual Global Woman Summit in London.