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Can Mindfulness Improve Employees Productivity?

Mindfulness offers a host of benefits to employers and employees alike.

If you’re thinking stopping an activity wouldn’t help you complete it faster, logically, you’re right. Taking a breather doesn’t instantly improve physical productivity, but it does improve the components that make us work more efficiently.

Components like rational thinking, decision making, employee engagement, and creativity all impact efficiency when completing tasks.

Companies like Google, Target, and even here at Trello are adding perks like meditation and  mindfulness trainings, which, at times, have had months-long waitlists.

Businesses investing in employee mindfulness is a notable shift, as taking a moment to pause has often been considered the bane of productivity.

Research from INSEAD Business School found that doing just 15 minutes of  mindfulness-based meditation such as concentrating on breathing can lead to more rational thinking when making business decisions. The study investigated the effects of mindfulness on a phenomenon known as sunk-cost bias. Sunk-cost bias occurs when you’ve invested so much into a hopeless project, you can’t bring yourself to stop for fear of losing all that was invested.

This type of thinking influences future business decisions–some that may even bury you in debt. The study found that mindfulness reduced the tendency to allow prior unrecoverable costs to influence future business decisions. Participants used meditation to draw focus away from the past and future temporarily so they could make decisions based on information known in the current moment.

This type of rational, present thinking improves and expedites decision making. Not only are better choices made, such as pulling out of a bad investment, but also decisions are no longer over-analyzed for weeks.

Mindful People Are More Creative

Mindfulness Can Lead to Better Teamwork

Why? Mindfulness leads to higher emotional intelligence. People who take time to recognize and understand their own emotions will naturally be better at doing the same with others’ emotions, studies show. Mindful managers can show employees understanding and empathy as they support, guide, motivate, and give feedback to employees. In the same way, employees can relate to one another and work together better due to mindfulness’ effect on relationships.

With the increase in popularity, mindfulness finally has numbers to back its effectiveness. Although mindfulness is certainly not a new concept, studies have only recently demonstrated the benefits to employees’ well-being.

Mindfulness should be cultivated for not only the purpose of saving money in health care costs and productivity but to help reduce or prevent an unhealthy mentality in employees. Employees who received a weekly two-hour training course on mindfulness over an eight-week period showed improvement in several different areas, including satisfaction of life and hope, along with reduced anxiety. Findings from this study also showed that these employees displayed higher levels of concentration on work, as well as improved interpersonal relationships.

Productivity is not always about hammering away at a problem. To be productive, we have to put ourselves under the right conditions. Mindfulness resets our brains and temporarily frees us of the emotions that impede decision-making.

The next time you feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks on your plate, take a moment. Step away. Breathe.

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