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9 Mindful Businesses: Big Companies that Practice Mindfulness

2022-07-27
9 Mindful Businesses: Big Companies that Practice Mindfulness

When it comes to the business world, mindfulness is often seen as a fringe activity reserved for small, up-and-coming companies. However, there are a number of large corporations that have begun to adopt mindfulness practices in order to improve their productivity and bottom line.

In this article, we'll take a look at some of the biggest companies that have embraced mindfulness and see what benefits they've reaped from doing so.

What Is Mindfulness in the Workplace?

Mindfulness at work is all about being attentive to present thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as well as learning to be more attuned to your own needs. It is a useful skill that can be learned by anybody. Mindfulness has been discovered in studies to have a variety of benefits for both individuals and businesses.

Why Do Companies Need Mindfulness Practices?

  • Improve Focus: Mindfulness boosts mental processes including attention, decision-making, and coordination.
  • Increase Productivity: Mindfulness increases the quality of work by engaging an employee's full attention.
  • Reduce Stress: It gives people a break from their stressors by shifting focus back to their physical reality.
  • Reduce Negative Thinking: It can help put a stop to cycles of negative thinking and rumination.
  • Promote Calm: Mindfulness aims to achieve a state of alert calm through conscious attention.
  • Build Emotional Intelligence: By focusing on our emotions, we can become more in tune with others.
  • Increase Workplace Happiness: A mindful workplace has decreased stress and improved job satisfaction.
  • Avoid Burnout: Mindfulness leads to better communication, awareness of employees' roles, and job satisfaction. This can protect employees from burnout and even reduce health care costs.
  • Boost Creativity: Mindfulness reduces fear of judgment, which increases self-expression and creative thinking.
  • Improve Motivation: Mindfulness practices allow a person to focus on their goals and visualize outcomes more clearly.

What Are Companies Doing for Mindfulness?

In today's business world, more and more companies are championing mindfulness meditation techniques within their workforce. The message they're spreading is that mindfulness can be practiced by anyone - that it also has a place in business. And there's good reason for this, with mindfulness programs boasting a plethora of positive effects.

As the demand for mindfulness training within businesses continues to grow, so, too do the opportunities for those who are qualified to provide it. Not only does this mean that some professionals are expanding their careers by offering corporate meditation classes, but it also shows that mental health is something to be taken seriously.

What Companies Use Mindfulness Programs for Employees?

Google

It's no secret that Google is one of the most innovative companies in the world. From their cutting-edge search algorithm to their sleek hardware designs, they are always at the forefront of new technology. But what many people don't know is that Google is also at the forefront of a new movement in psychology: positive psychology.

Positive psychology is the scientific study of happiness and well-being. It focuses on things like positive emotions, strengths and virtues, and resilience. And Google is investing heavily in it.

Google has made a significant investment in positive psychology, with classes and programs for employees to keep them present and attentive. From time to time, Google provides everything its workers need to find serenity amid the hustle, whether it's recurring meditation sessions or on-site massage therapy. The outcomes are evident: staff that is more aware are both more productive and creative, which leads to a successful reinforcement for the individual as well as the organization.

General Mills

Employees at General Mills are encouraged to practice mindfulness as part of the company's mission to create a healthy working environment culture. The firm has several programs in place to support workers in developing a meditation habit, including an on-site meditation room and monthly lunchtime lectures. [1]

Meditation and yoga have been gaining momentum at General Mills over the past seven years, starting out as a side project by one executive. The company now boasts that its employees are trained mindfulness instructors who can teach their minds how to be more focused with clarity of thought while experiencing spaciousness for creativity — and most importantly they feel connected to others around them too.

Intel

The program of mindfulness meditation classes at Intel was started by a few of the workers on their own initiative, but it has since expanded to become a company-wide employee Wellness Program. This way, hardworking engineers can incorporate mindfulness techniques into an already high-pressure job environment in order to find time for stress reduction. The goal of the program is not only to improve productivity but also to create a more supportive and collaborative workplace community. The added bonuses are increased productivity and lower health care costs.

Some of the mindfulness program participants reported improved creativity. Many found that it has helped them to be more present and focused in their work, as well as better able to cope with work-related stress. Others have reported feeling more connected to their colleagues and less isolated in their jobs. Overall, the feedback from employees has been positive, and the company is continuing to invest in the program.

These positive findings have even convinced people who never engaged in meditation and mindfulness before. Brian Cockrell, an Intel software engineer who took part in [email protected] in 2013, was “extremely skeptical” of the practice at first but found it to be “very down to Earth and not at all new agey.” Even though he was skeptical, the mindfulness concepts still managed to help Cockrell quickly come up with a solution to an engineering problem. He reported carrying the knowledge from the program into his daily life, which he still benefits from now. [2]

Aetna

Aetna is a shining example of thoughtful leadership. After several life setbacks, Mark Bertolini, the CEO, has come to believe in mindfulness techniques and employs them as a form of alternative therapy. He now provides his entire team with the tools they need to carry out a mindfulness practice at work. Thanks to him, Aetna is a more productive and efficient workplace.

Bertolini has been credited with turning the company around, and in particular, with helping to make Aetna a more efficient workplace. In an interview with The Huffington Post, he attributed some of the company's success to meditation and mindfulness techniques, saying they helped him to:

“take in the reality of the world around me and process information where my work becomes better for that knowledge, then I can make my idea better and move it forward. If you look at really successful entrepreneurs, they’ve looked at the market, listened to it, and reacted to it. They are focused and present enough to understand." [3]

Goldman Sachs

This organization has been recognized by Fortune Magazine as one of the Best Places to Work. On Twitter, they use mental health and mindfulness hashtags to emphasize the benefits of mindfulness in their company culture.

Meditation sessions are run by Sarah Wood, an analyst and self-proclaimed perfectionist who has dealt with harsh self-criticism over the years. Wood developed a passion for inspiring mental wellbeing within the workplace and has run a meditation program in the company for several years. She has also hosted a Ted Talk entitled "Flip Your Ratio, Find Your Joy", which teaches ways to promote joy in daily life, opposing the old idea that all happiness must be earned through hard work alone. [4] Wood brings a fresh and human-centred approach to human capital management.

AstraZeneca

It's no surprise that AstraZeneca implemented mindfulness techniques to help relieve employee stress after they were pressed to produce results during the Covid-19 epidemic. AstraZeneca was at the forefront of ensuring the world's safety and return to "normal" but their staff was just as affected by the mental strains of lockdown.

In fact, AstraZeneca released a dedicated employee wellbeing handbook to guide staff members through the "back to work" transitioning process after the pandemic. The guidebook detailed ways to care for physical and mental wellbeing, including mindfulness as a key way to increase mental health. [5]

Fidelity Investments

Fidelity Investments is a privately-owned investment management company that began operations in 1946. With more than 26 million customers and $6 trillion worth of assets under its purview, it's no surprise why this organization has grown to be one of the largest firms around! [6]

Julie Ravech O'Connell is the vice president of Fidelity Investments, but she also serves as a mindfulness instructor and corporate mindfulness program director for the company as a whole. The program has successfully increased employee engagement and lowered stress levels across the company. O'Connell stands as another outstanding example of a mindful leader.

Nike

For a company that promotes a healthy lifestyle, it's only natural that Nike has an outstanding history of encouraging a healthy work environment. Nike was one of the first businesses to provide their employees with weekly free meditation classes and free yoga - the activity has since expanded to many more of their locations across the world. By promoting mindfulness, Nike allows its employees to feel refreshed and focused while on the job, resulting in improved work performance and a decrease in sick days.

Bjorn Anderson, Recruiting Manager at Nike said about the program:

"It can be easy to focus so much on physical activity for the body that sometimes we forget to exercise the mind. Nike is committed to our total wellness. I started meditating almost two years ago (thanks to my wife). Meditation has transformed my life both personally and professionally, in only three minutes or less per day." [7]

The Hospital for Special Surgery in New York

At this hospital, the staff understands the importance of mindfulness in both their patients' lives and their employees' well-being. That's why they offer meditation practice and corporate mindfulness training programs to staff. These programs have been shown to help manage stress and anxiety, improve focus and concentration, and boost overall productivity.

The pain and stress management meditation courses were initially devised to deal with the US opioid crisis, as a non-pharmaceutical alternative to managing discomfort. [8]

Now, this hospital allows employees to participate in the expert-led mindfulness programs it provides to patients. At the same time as guiding patients in managing pain, they also assist staff in dealing with the pressures of working in such a crucial position.

Resources

1 Gelles, 2012. https://www.ft.com/content/d9cb7940-ebea-11e1-985a-00144feab49a

2 Intel, Slowing Down to Speed Up, 2015. https://newsroom.intel.com/editorials/mindfulness-mediation-awake-intel/#gs.4zjy1x

3 Abrams, 2018. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mindfulness-is-aetna-ceos-prescription-for-success_b_5a4bf577e4b0d86c803c7a1f

4 Butcher, 202o. https://www.efinancialcareers.co.uk/news/2020/10/goldman-sachs-meditation-sessions

5 AstraZeneca, Effectively working Through Covid-19. https://www.astrazeneca.com/content/dam/az/PDF/2020/covid-19-toolkit/COVID-19_Employee_Toolkit_-_External.pdf

6 CFI, 2018, Fidelity Investments. https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/careers/companies/fidelity-investments/

7 McCann, 2019. https://www.workitdaily.com/things-didnt-know-working-nike/particle-3

8 HSS, Pain and Stress Management, 2022. https://www.hss.edu/pain-and-stress-management-program.asp