Three of the most common triggers for stress are work, relationships and money. As business leaders spend most of their time juggling all three, stress can be a very real and damaging obstacle to business management.
Mindfulness is nothing new, but in the sometimes cynical world of business where long days and lack of sleep are often worn as badges of honour, notions such as meditation and mindfulness may be seen as new-fangled and faddish. Fortunately for some business leaders, the penny has dropped and the benefits of meditation are finally being embraced, so much so that Forbes has gone as far as proclaiming mindfulness as the future of work.
Mindfulness tackles stress that is detrimental to business
Absenteeism is costing the British economy up to £100bn each year. A significant chunk of this is related to stress which accounts for 37% of all work-related illnesses in the UK. For business leaders this represents two problems – a depleted workforce means the business is not operating at optimum, which in turn can result in further stress both personally and in other employees compensating for absent colleagues.
A research study published by the University of Oxford found that practicing mindfulness and taking meditation courses can lead to a 40% reduction in stress. These courses are being increasingly aimed at those susceptible to work-related stress, such as business leaders in the high-pressure environment of the boardroom.
The Art of Meditation, for example, offer online meditation courses that can embraced without leaving the office. According to Burgs, founder of the meditation and wellness company, the mechanics and energetics of meditation help to quickly reorganise your mind into a coherent state, which in turn will help you deal with stressful situations when they arise.
Productivity can be increased through mindfulness training
It’s not just your own efficiency as a leader that can improve, but by introducing a culture of mindfulness amongst staff, the productivity of all employees can be given a significant boost. A study by the University of Kentucky found that students who practice meditation regularly perform 10% better in exams and projects. Mindfulness has been proven to help decision making, which in turn will see an increase in productivity.
This evidence can be applied to the workplace, suggesting that business leaders and employees who regularly practice mindfulness will be more efficient during work hours. Offering mindfulness-based training to staff has been proven to add 60 minutes of productivity per week on average to employees that participate.
Chances are, your competitors aren’t using mindfulness
With all the research and studies done on the subject, it’s a surprise that mindfulness is yet to become the norm in workplaces. Not only are there a wealth of studies on the subject, there are plenty of testimonials from leaders who have witnessed the benefits.
One theory from the Mindfulness Initiative attempts to explain why mindfulness is not championed by more business leaders. They argue that many stakeholders still see meditation as ‘a left-field’ approach. They suggest that mindfulness programmes can be adapted to fit your circumstances, reflect your organisation’s priorities and appeal to senior stakeholders.
The resistance to meditation in many workplaces should not be seen as a cause for concern. Rather, it is an opportunity for you to get ahead of your competitors and cultivate a workplace that embraces meditation and mindfulness in the knowledge that it is likely to boost the business’s overall performance.