Strengthening Our Commitment to Mindfulness in the Workplace
One of the most exciting developments in the business world is the recent focus on the principle of mindfulness in the workplace. Nationally, major developments are taking place at the intersection of technology and health, involving industry giants such as Aetna, Google, Microsoft, and Facebook. Remarkable transformations are taking place on both the organizational level for these companies and on the individual level for a growing number of employees.
As you know, the culture at PLEXIS is near and dear to me. This is why I am pleased to announce that PLEXIS has expanded our original, progressive foundation of workplace wellness to advance exciting new opportunities for our employees to learn and practice mindfulness in our workplace.
But first, a few things on mindfulness in the workplace…
What is mindfulness and what are the benefits of engaging in mindfulness in the workplace?
As the phenomenon of mindfulness in the workplace sweeps across some of the most forward-thinking companies in the nation, two common questions arise: what is mindfulness, and what are the benefits of mindfulness practices?
As a leading progenitor of mindfulness, Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of such books as Mindfulness for Beginners, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.” This is a practice, a skill, and an awareness that can be honed to serve us well in our lives and in our workplaces. For example, if one’s mind is wandering during a meeting, we can choose to indulge in those thoughts and miss essential information and participation, or we can practice the discipline of bringing our awareness back to the present moment. Other examples of practical applications of mindfulness in the workplace include:
- Meditation to reduce stress, improve concentration, and boost the immune system
- Yoga to promote flexibility, focus, good posture, healthy circulation, and more
- Breathwork to calm the nervous system, release tension, and provide peace of mind
Advanced mindfulness programs such as Google’s “Search Inside Yourself” employee program seek to improve everything from overall wellbeing to focus, creativity, and productivity. Most mindfulness initiatives include practices such as meditation, yoga, breath work, and guided self-inquiry. Although many of these practices have an Eastern, religious origin, their application in the workplace is non-sectarian.
A recent article in Wired.com about the surge of mindfulness in tech attests to the effectiveness of meditation:
“Repeated studies have demonstrated that meditation can rewire how the brain responds to stress. Other research suggests that meditation improves working memory and executive function. And several studies of long-term practitioners show an increased ability to concentrate on fast-changing stimuli. One paper cited by the Google crew even implies that meditators are more resistant to the flu.”
Regular mindfulness practice in the workplace is effectively managing stress, worry, lack of focus, addictions, and more. Employees at PLEXIS, Google, and other companies report that mindfulness in the workplace is benefiting them by increasing their creativity, collaboration, peace of mind, and productivity.
How can businesses integrate mindfulness within the fabric of our culture?
In order to lead the change we want to see in the world, healthcare and technology executives must spark the mindfulness revolution through holistic organizational initiatives—setting the standard for leadership by giving our employees the resources and the education they need to open the doors for mindfulness. Healthcare and technology are already pioneering the integration of mindfulness practices within our corporate culture.
For example, Mark Bertolini, the chief executive officer of the health insurance giant, Aetna, is one of the leaders of the workplace mindfulness revolution. After a near-death experience, Bertolini transformed his personal health and wellbeing through mindfulness practices, and then he shared those gifts with his company. The New York Times reports that more than 13,000 of his employees have participated in his free yoga and meditation classes, and the employees describe enjoying “a 28 percent reduction in their stress levels, a 20 percent improvement in sleep quality and a 19 percent reduction in pain. They also become more effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity each, which Aetna estimates is worth $3,000 per employee per year.”
The results are clear that mindfulness in the workplace has significant benefits for both employees’ wellbeing and the overall health of the company.
PLEXIS continues our early inception of mindfulness in the workplace through advanced initiatives
When I founded PLEXIS 19 years ago, I knew I wanted my employees, Plexicans, to enjoy a healthy work/life balance, so I created the PLEXIS Wellness Program. The six founding principles of the PLEXIS Wellness Program have served Plexicans well over the years. As our organization has expanded, Plexicans’ workplace benefits have grown in alignment with these principles to include yoga classes, pilates, massages at work, onsite complimentary care, meditation programs, our infamous Brain Bar, and much more. Additionally, four years ago I started conducting free mindfulness training courses and offering them to friends, family, business associates, and Plexicans who were interested in learning how to enhance their lives through simple meditation and mindfulness practices.
As I continue to accelerate healthcare’s most advanced vision of mindfulness in our workplace, I am happy to announce PLEXIS’ new Mindfulness Retreats. This pioneering PLEXIS initiative is made possible through the Quepasana Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding awareness through silent meditation training in the Vipassana style. I offer Plexicans these retreats at no cost, including paid time off for time spent away from work:
- PLEXIS now owns a facility on Maui dedicated to the practice of meditation, yoga, mindfulness, organic permaculture gardening, and sustainable living. PLEXIS will soon host mindfulness training retreats to Plexicans and their family members at our Maui facility in addition to the ongoing silent meditation & mindfulness retreats we will continue to offer in Ashland. These retreats offer a simple and powerful set of techniques for greater mastery of the mind, and by extension greater mastery of one’s life.
- PLEXIS will also be offering extended work retreats to any Plexican who desires to reside for some time and work from the Maui facility to enhance their creativity and performance through healthy living practices in a beautiful and peaceful location.
PLEXIS offers these exciting mindfulness practices in order to provide simple and practical practices for better living. In order to continue creating the change we want to see in healthcare, technology, and business, PLEXIS is taking the lead in enhancing mindfulness in our workplace for the betterment of our employees and our greater community.
“The Neuroscience of Meditation, and the Virtues of Shutting Up.” Newsweek.
“At Aetna, a C.E.O.’s Management by Mantra.” The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/01/business/at-aetna-a-ceos-management-by-mantra.html?_r=0
“In Silicon Valley, Meditation Is No Fad. It Could Make Your Career.” Wired. http://www.wired.com/2013/06/meditation-mindfulness-silicon-valley/
“What is Mindfulness?” Wildmind Buddhist Meditation. http://www.wildmind.org/applied/daily-life/what-is-mindfulness