With Depression the leading cause of disability worldwide and as of 2010 the global cost of mental illness estimated at $2.5 trillion per year by the National Institute of Health, it is no wonder that workplace mental health is on many peoples minds. The Conference Board of Canada estimates that depression costs the Canadian economy at least $32.3 billion annually, while anxiety costs another $17.3 billion a year.
Why would mindfulness training be even considered in the workplace? Aren't there more relevant initiatives organizations should focus on? With $93.6 billion being spent in 2017 in the US alone on talent development initiatives such as process-based improvements, strategic planning and change management, mindfulness can seem like a "nice-to-have" and not an essential component of corporate culture. When we look at the research and the reality, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Today "mindfulness for X" has become the one-size fits all phrase for all applications including work, health, sports, relationships, and more. The hype may be conjuring up the idea of taking mindfulness and using it to fulfill whatever application is required. With this growing popularity and interest surrounding mindfulness, we’re noticing greater confusion than ever.
Workplace Mindfulness is the basic ability of an employee, team/department, and/or organization; to be aware, take perspective, and respond with clarity with what is needed in the moment. This may seem simple, but can be difficult in the face of habit, self-interest and bias which as a default drives our actions. We can develop this ability in a variety of workplace interactions such as; mindful dialogue, strategic planning, mindful emailing, meditation practice, etc.