Even as recently as a decade ago, the idea of mindfulness and corporate wellness might have seemed, well, a little woo woo. But with hugely successful companies like Google, GM, and Goldman Sachs incorporating it into their operations, it’s become much more mainstream in recent years, and with good reason! There are so many benefits to having mindfulness and wellness programmes in your business, many of which are surprisingly easy to implement and inexpensive.
What is mindfulness?
To understand what these types of initiatives are, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of what mindfulness is in general. While there are different definitions, it’s essentially the ability to be fully present in any given moment, to separate yourself from your thoughts, and consciously directing your awareness instead of getting caught up in the rush of day to day work. It sounds simple … but as we’re sure you’ve experienced, it can feel almost impossible to actually do for any given length of time.
What are mindfulness and corporate wellness programmes?
Mindfulness and corporate wellness are such broad umbrella terms that it’s hard to define them, but generally speaking, they’re practices that businesses can use to help their employees feel more grounded, focused, and energised at work.
Some of the most common types include guided meditation programmes as well as standalone meditation apps, free yoga classes for employees, amenities like gym passes or in-office massages, as well as longer or more in-depth things like wellness retreats for employees or even whole department. There are also a number of programmes that you can have delivered in your business by a consultant who comes in periodically to teach the tenets of mindfulness or to lead people in wellness exercises.
OK, I’m intrigued. Now tell me why it’s good for my business.
All sounds great, right? We think so too — and it gets even better when you look at some of the data about the effects that these types of programmes can have on your employees.
Studies have shown that being happier makes people measurably more productive. One study from the University of Warwick found that groups of people who were exposed to stimuli that made them happier were an average of 12% more productive, with some groups being 20% more productive than a control group. Another study found that happier people make nearly 40% more sales than others, which would almost certainly offset any costs of implementing a mindfulness programme.
What’s more, these types of programmes have become incredibly popular work benefits, especially among workers in the 18 – 34 age cohort. If your staff tends to be younger, benefits like a wellness programme could make a huge degree of difference in the level of staff you attract.
And of course, the benefits of mindfulness — being happier, more productive, healthier, and less stressed — spill over into your business as well. Happier, healthier employees take fewer sick days, and people who aren’t stressed out all the time are able to make better decisions. Not to mention that any type of creativity or above and beyond performance is really only possible when you have people who are happy, healthy, and highly engaged in their jobs.
Finally, incorporating mindfulness and corporate wellness into your business can also go along way towards helping you keep your staff happy, which means you’ll have a lower turnover and fewer costs associated with hiring and firing. 67% of employees in one study cited happiness at work as being the main reason they weren’t considering a job elsewhere — which just shows how simple intangibles can go much further than the things you would traditionally associate with employee loyalty, like pay rises or bonuses.
I’m in! How do I start?
The best first steps to take to incorporate mindfulness and corporate wellness into your business depend on your goals and your budget, so that’s what you should look at first. If you’re not sure how to budget for a mindfulness or corporate wellness programme, ask your accountant — they can help you know exactly what you can spend on getting started.
If you do get stuck on how to start, there are many consultants that you can bring in to help you create or deliver an in-house programme … but we’d encourage you to think outside the box and see what you can come up with on your own. And if you’re looking for something incredibly simple and absolutely free? Try playing music at work. 77% of employees in a UK study said that having music at work increased their morale and created a better atmosphere. Sounds like a great start on mindfulness to us!