10 February 2017

BUSINESS - Mindfulness: a Major Business Trend

Mindfulness is big business, and big in business.

A wealth of apps, coaches, books, and other resources specifically for business people have become available in recent years.

In 2015, meditation and mindfulness was a 1 billion dollar business, and that figure doesn’t account for the revenue generated by the growing number of apps.

Not only are individual business leaders embracing mindfulness as part of their business and leadership practices, but companies such as Google and EBay have incorporated mindfulness-enhancing internal courses and dedicated meditation spaces for their employees.

Rick Titan, a mindfulness coach in Calgary, Alberta, suggests that the reason businesses are investing in mindfulness across organizational levels is because mindfulness allows a person “to be able to get centered and focused, so that you have less of a scattered mind.”

Distracted employees cost businesses a substantial amount in lost time and productivity, with the average distraction (for a phone call, text, or social media check) costing up to 25 minutes of concentration.

That’s bad for business, but it’s also bad for employees’ emotional and mental health.

Constantly being interrupted has negative outcomes for job satisfaction, and it’s possible that mindful workplaces are less likely to be full of the interruptions that can lead to the downward spiral of lost focus and reduced motivation.

One 2014 study by the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School found that mindfulness at work reduced employee absenteeism and turnover, improved employee productivity and cognitive function, enhanced relationships between employees and employers and between businesses and clients, and improved job satisfaction.

These benefits are only possible if employees feel engaged in the process, rather than pressured.

Incorporating mindfulness in the workplace is a more complex issue than simply mandating regular meditation.

Titan suggests that mindfulness is best learned with the help of a coach, or even a monk.

But for individuals who want an app for that, there are plenty available.

The important thing, according to Titan, is to incorporate regular mindfulness practice, even if your main focus is improving your business life.

He says, “In business you’re rushing around a lot, and it’s really good to get into that mindfulness zone and practice focused meditation regularly rather than trying to do it last minute before doing business. It’s like working out - you exercise a muscle, and you get better at it. It just takes a little bit of time and experience to see the best results.”

The benefits of mindfulness are both personal and professional, and mindfulness can even improve business strategy.

According to Titan, “If you’re trying to bring mindfulness into everyday life, you’re trying to be more focused, more present in the moment, less stressed, and in business it’s about achieving a goal and being able to focus on what you have to do next, accomplishing things and even getting less scattered before you go into a meeting or a sales pitch.”

Titan’s final word is to “bring your practice into daily life, even if you only do it ten to twenty minutes a day or every second day. Get practiced and get good at it. If you just do it once in awhile, you won’t see the benefits.”

About Tiffany Sostar

Tiffany is a writer, editor, academic, and animal lover who came late to her appreciation of pets. At 18, a rescue pup named Tasha saved her from a depression and she hasn't looked back. She has worked as the canine behaviour program coordinator for the Calgary Humane Society, and was a dog trainer specializing in working with fearful and reactive dogs for many years. She doesn't have any pets right now, but makes up for it by giving her petsitting clients (and any dogs she comes across on her frequent coffee shop adventures) extra snuggles.

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