Employees who use mindfulness at the workplace have demonstrated lower stress, improved health, enhanced communication, better decision-making capabilities, and increased productivity. Leaders who incorporate mindfulness into their work lives tend to be more effective in relating to others, motivating employees toward shared goals, building effective teams, and promoting the growth of their employees. People, like me, see the workplace as the next great frontier for teaching mindfulness practice to help people enhance their work lives. There are meetings, conferences, and workshops springing up across the country where discussions transpire about the best way of building mindful organizations.
This all sounds great, right? But, I recently had two colleagues forward me an article from Huffington Post entitled “Beyond McMindfulness” warning about the possible misuse of mindfulness within corporations and businesses. The suggestion was that mindfulness could be used to help stressed out employees “work more efficiently and calmly within toxic environments” filled with greed and immorality. The article does end with the hope that the mindfulness movement will not just be a “corporate fad” but a “genuine force for positive personal and social transformation.”
One of my personality characteristics is “positivity,” so I see the glass as half full most of the time. Therefore, I believe that mindfulness has such a powerful positive impact on individuals it can’t help but change the environment for the better. Quite different than the stereotypical images of meditators zoning out with passivity, mindfulness empowers individuals to take beneficial action in their own lives and in the environment they work and live. Mindfulness helps people respond with greater clarity and wisdom. It does not make someone a doormat.
But, because I know it is more realistic to see the glass as both half full and half empty, it is important to be on the lookout for the ways the mindfulness can be misused and misunderstood. It is important to realize the risks, yet imperative to offer this life-saving skill to people who being asked continuously to “do more with less.” A lot of us live at least half of our lives at work and it only makes sense to make it more humane and enjoyable. Mindfulness can help us do both.
Go to my audio/video tab for recordings you can use to start bringing mindfulness into your workday.