A 2012 study of HR staff found that those who had done an eight-week mindfulness meditation course were less likely to switch between tasks and showed improved memory, while a recent inquiry of public sector workers showed that mindfulness may reduce levels of absenteeism and alleviate stress.
With this in mind, every Monday morning at 10am, staff from London-based Yniche gather in their boardroom. The team are not there to brainstorm ideas, no – they are there to spend 10 minutes practising mindfulness meditation.
Yniche’s Founder Vincent Choi claims the weekly sessions have made his employees not only contented but also more productive, and as a result his staff are now coming up with more innovative ideas and driving the small business forward: “We were stuck in a rut. But as soon as we started doing meditation, our team started working more productively.”
Choi used the popular Headspace app to meditate with his staff and advocates doing it as a group rather than individually, as it promotes team bonding, “Meditation calms the team down and helps them cope with pressure at work.”
Many businesses are also testing out ways to foster happiness in the workplace. Psychologists from the University of Exeter have found that employees are 15% more productive when sparsely decorated workplaces are filled with even just a few houseplants – because employees who actively engage with their surroundings are better workers.
Co-working space Huckletree, for example, has been physically designed to boost the happiness of its resident small business owners. One way they try and do this is by having plenty of plants around the building. They also encourage entrepreneurs to bring in their pet dogs.
The mounting research that links workplace happiness with productivity suggests that businesses really do need to seriously consider investing time and resources into keeping their staff feeling positive, long-term.
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