This is a question that is often not taken as seriously as it should be. It seems that everybody now is convinced that mindfulness is a such a good thing that everybody should be doing it. Even business has taken on the mindfulness message and is offering mindfulness to staff in a bid to improve the working experience. However, it seems that the the question is not being asked enough is whether mindfulness is right to be employed at all.
Firstly, when considering employing a person to run mindfulness at your workplace it is important to be clear about what you want the outcomes to be. The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) has case studies on the various benefits and draw backs of using mindfulness in the workplace. The IOSH might be a good place to start. For example, you might want to tackle the rising cases of staff sickness due to stress. In which case you would look for a case study that centres its findings around mindfulness interventions at work that have shown a positive impact upon work related stress. Once you have foud a few papers that support your targeted outcome it would be worth assessing the credibility of the study (how reliabel was the study and were the results replicable etc). For example, Hafenbrack et al 2013 found that decision making at work has been improved due to using mindfulness and was tested rigorously. If the studies are showing poor outcomes or the results are based on a small study that is a one off it is probably better not to invest thousands of pounds in something that may or may not work.
Another important feature that is often neglected is who you should get to run the mindfulness cousres at your business. For example, there is no universal accredited method of becoming a mindfulness teacher. Some are monks, some are yoga teachers, some are people who have done a mindfulness specific course and some have a post graduate diploma from university. The Good Practice Guindlines (CPG) have been drawn up to regulate the teaching of secular based mindfulness teaching which relates to mindfulness at the workplace. Before asking a mindfulness teacher to affect your staff take the time to do your due dilligence. You want to be sure any person who could influence your staff has the highest form of training and that their training is specific for your business. Specificity is probably the most valuable consideration as the person who runs mindfulness at work might come from a religious philosophy who’s world view is that striving for success is not positive. If this person were to teach employees mindfulness the teaching would be influenced by theise views which could end up having a detrimental effect on the way the staff approach their jobs. Dane, E & Brummel, BJ 2014 claim better effects on performance that lead to higher turnovers came from mindfulness that was led by a business minded teacher and not by those who have a compassionate outlook toward targets.
Mindfulness has been proven to be beneficial for reducing stress and helping with depression but the evidence base for work based mindfulness interventions is still in its infancy. Treat mindfulness as you would with any other product you are going to use and make sure you are getting the one that is the best and most suitable for your business.
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