Some of the largest and most prestigious companies in America are working to undo decades of “multi-tasking tendencies” to encourage mindfulness at work.Mindfulness techniques like meditation and guided imagery can help people prioritize tasks, focus, and maintain emotional stability during stressful times. An article this week in the Harvard Business Review outlines how companies like Google, Target, and General Mills are using a corporate mindfulness platform to improve employee productivity and morale.
The results are impressive. Participants in Aetna’s Mindfulness at Work program reduced their perceived stress levels at double the rate of the corresponding control group. Employees who have used the program also report that they make better decisions and have improved relationships with co-workers. Even the frenetic over-achievers at Google can see results. After going through Google’s Search Inside Yourself program (a seven week mindfulness meditation program) director of executive development Richard Fernandez says “I’m much more resilient as a leader… I listen more carefully and with less reactivity… It’s almost like an emotional bank account. I’ve now got much more buffer there.”
As the HBR explains, corporate mindfulness is about “[giving] employees permission to think,” which can open companies to new, better, and more efficient practices.