What it is, the benefits, and how it can be applied in the workplace

Hall L | HR Network Paper 113 | Institute for Employment Studies | Feb 2016

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Mindfulness has been around for more than 2,500 years, with roots in Buddhist teachings amongst others, although there is a tradition of contemplation in all the major religions. However, recent years have seen mindfulness practices spread to many secular contexts, including the workplace.

A rapidly growing number of employers, such as the US Marines, the NHS, Google, General Mills and Transport for London, are rolling out mindfulness training for employees, and reporting benefits including increases in emotional intelligence and reduced stress-related absenteeism.

In January 2015 the UK Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group interim report ‘Mindful Nation UK’ recommended that public sector employers such as the NHS and the Civil Service pioneer good practice and set up mindfulness pilot projects to be evaluated as part of their responsibility to combat stress. It also recommended wider access to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, and pilot projects in healthcare, education and the criminal justice system. So what’s all the fuss about?

This briefing paper explores what mindfulness is and potential benefits for organisations and their employees, and offers guidelines for creating a more mindful workplace, plus a helpful list of resources.