Building the Case for Mindfulness in the Workplace Dokument

2016 veröffentlichte die Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group (MAPPG) das Dokument Building the Case for Mindfulness in the Workplace [1], welches von einem Experten-Team der größten Arbeitgeber wie BT, EY, GE, HSBC und Jaguar Landrover, sowie führenden Achtsamkeitstrainern und -Wissenschaftlern erstellt wurde.

Achtsamkeit am Arbeitsplatz – Studienergebnisse:

1. Achtsamkeit zur Verbesserung von Resilienz / Wohlbefinden:

„A number of randomised controlled trials of workplace mindfulness-based training courses have found positive effects on burnout, wellbeing and stress. Studies have shown that those practicing mindfulness report lower levels of stress during multi-tasking tests and are able to concentrate longer without their attention being diverted. Other research suggests that employees of leaders who practise mindfulness have less emotional exhaustion, better work- life balance and better job performance ratings.

A 2014 meta-analysis of 209 clinical research studies with a total of 12,145 participants concluded that mindfulness training showed “large and clinically significant effects in treating anxiety and depression. Mindfulness-training programmes have also consistently been found to reduce self-reported measures of perceived stress, anger, rumination, and physiological symptoms, while improving positive outlook, empathy, sense of cohesion, self-compassion and overall quality of life. Mindfulness training is associated with reduced reactivity to emotional stimuli, as well as improvements in attention and cognitive capacities. These may be some of the mechanisms by which health and wellbeing gains can be made – by relating to thoughts, emotions, body sensations and events in life more skilfully, practitioners may be less drawn into unhelpful habitual reactions and more able to make good choices about how to relate to their circumstances.“ [1]

2. Achtsamkeit zur Verbesserung von Beziehungen / Zusammenarbeit:

„To date, 45 workplace mindfulness research studies have linked mindfulness to improved relationships at work, supporting collaboration and improving employees’ resilience in the face of challenges.The studies included employees from a wide range of sectors.

Outside of the workplace, mindfulness training has been shown to make practitioners more likely to respond compassionately to someone in need, and enjoy more satisfying personal relationships.

Research has shown that happy, engaged knowledge workers tend be more productive, creative and learn better. Engaged, happy people tend to collaborate better, thus driving productivity. A recent two-year research project by Google (Project Aristotle) found that the key drivers of a team’s performance are trust and psychological safety. This is complemented by work done at the MIT Social Media lab, which clearly demonstrates that the ability to listen, diversity of views and equality of turn-taking are among the crucial drivers of collective intelligence and team performance.“ [1]

3. Achtsamkeit zur Verbesserung von Leistung

„A recent review of the scientific literature on workplace mindfulness training concluded that training was positively related to key aspects of performance at work including job and task performance, citizenship and safety performance. Between 2005 and 2015, research studies explored the impact of mindfulness on aspects of workplace productivity. The studies involved staff from armed services, call centres, healthcare, high-tech, manufacturing, social work, teaching and utility companies.“ [1]

3.1 Führung

„A number of recent studies indicate that leaders need particular capacities for working effectively in the 21st century – and there is broad agreement that resilience, collaboration and decision-making are vital. Less clear is how leaders might develop these capacities effectively. Mindfulness-based leadership development programmes, which combine leadership education with the development of mindful awareness, offer one approach.

A particularly important rationale for training leaders centres on the development of ‘metacognition’ – that is, the ability to observe one’s thoughts, feelings, sensations and impulses as they are being experienced, and to see them as mental events rather than the ‘reality’ or ‘truth’ of the situation. In short, mindfulness practice provides leaders with the capacity to notice their thoughts and intuitions with some perspective and as such have more freedom to choose informed responses over automatic reactions.

A 2012 study measured the influence of leaders’ mindfulness on employee wellbeing and performance. 96 supervisors and their subordinates participated on a voluntary basis as part of a larger study involving additional measures. The report concluded that supervisor mindfulness reduced employee emotional exhaustion and increased employee work–life balance. It improved employee performance and staff engagement. Supervisor mindfulness was positively related to employee job satisfaction and psychological need satisfaction. Furthermore, leader mindfulness was positively related to overall job performance, as well as in-role performance and organisational citizenship behaviours. The results suggest a potentially important role of leading mindfully in organisations.“ [1]

3.2 Entscheidungsfindung

„An increasing number of organisations, particularly those involved in behaviour change or high-risk activities, are incorporating ‘behavioural insights’ in their working practices. These insights from the field of psychology have been popularised in books like Nudge, Thinking, Fast and Slow and The Economist Guide to Decision Making. Both mindfulness training and behavioural insights are concerned with how we, as humans, attend to and process information and how this affects our behaviour. They are also both interested in the role of the automatic mind and emotions in our decision-making. The combination of behavioural insights with the inquiry and present moment awareness offered by mindfulness could be a powerful tool to support better decision-making.

Though the science is still in its infancy, promising research includes a trial showing that mindfulness reduces the ‘sunk-cost bias’ (our tendency to carry on with something because we have already invested so much time or money into it, even though it may no longer be the best thing to do) and could improve the information-gathering processes required for decision making.

A 2015 review by Good, Liddy et al. suggests that mindfulness training could improve our ‘rationality’ by developing our attentional capacity: making us more likely to really see what is in front of us without being distracted by past experiences or long-held beliefs. Another academic literature review suggests that mindfulness training could have a number of positive effects on decision-making including: improving the quality of information considered in decisions, recognising ethical challenges, reducing our tendency to seek and trust patterns and reducing confirmation bias (our tendency to look for evidence to support what we already believe).“ [1]

3.3 Kreativität und Innovation

„Creativity is not only for the invention of new products and services: it can be crucial to individual performance, problem solving and the development of more efficient processes and management techniques. How companies think creatively is one of the most significant areas of enquiry in business. Recent research into problem solving concluded that there is a “direct relation between mindfulness and creativity”.

The mindful brain and creativity Research in this area is still in early stages, but it is possible to draw parallels between the impact of mindfulness on the brain and effective creative functioning. MRI scans after an eight-week course of mindfulness practice appear to show shrinking of the amygdala – the brain’s “fight or flight” centre. This primal region of the brain, associated with fear and emotion, is involved in the initiation of the body’s response to stress.

A stressed mind shuts down possibilities. This perhaps is a reason why creative companies strive to create office environments in which creative people can free themselves from mundane pressures and engage more ably in states of play.

Mindfulness could help individuals boost creativity in several ways:

• Focus – mindfulness practice results in an improved ability to focus and filter out other mental processes and external distractions during creative tasks.

• Idea generation – In one study scientists reported that“open monitoring” meditation (non-reactive observation of your thoughts over time) promoted “divergent thinking” a type of thinking that allows new ideas to be generated.

• Flexible thinking – mindfulness reduces cognitive rigidity (the tendency to be blinded by experience). Instead it increases the capacity to respond in novel and adaptive ways to a particular problem. Mindfulness deliberately disrupts and erodes our habitual patterns of responding, leaving us receptive to new ideas and ways of thinking.

Mindfulness in creative companies: A number of well-known creative and innovation-based companies have implemented mindfulness programmes to promote creativity and innovation. These organisations include Apple, Google, McKinsey & Company, Proctor & Gamble, General Mills, Target, and Lululemon.“ [1]

4. kollektive Achtsamkeit zur Verbesserung der Organisationsentwicklung:

„In order for an organisation to implement effective change strategies employees must be able to adapt to ever-changing situations and environments. For over 20 years researchers have observed workplaces where individuals and teams reliably thrive in the face of constant change and challenge.

When individuals and teams routinely engage mindfully with each other, mindfulness becomes a social norm and mindful practices become processes and routines that turn entire workplaces into mindful organisations, which then perform more reliably than other comparable workplaces.

Collective mindfulness does not typically involve individuals and teams meditating together. Instead, everyone in the workplace applies mindfulness collectively to the task of implementing the organisation’s strategy and goals. Workplaces that cultivate collective mindfulness can be described as “organisations that pay close attention to what is going on around them, refusing to function on ‘autopilot’: Mindful organisations include a rich awareness of discriminatory detail and a capacity for action.”

Quantitative evidence about the effect of mindfulness as a social practice within and across teams is only available for a small number of organisations, but research points to:

increased customer loyalty and customer satisfaction

improved safety outcomes for organisations as a whole

reduced employee emotional exhaustion and turnover

increases in innovation and financial performance

reduction in malpractice claims

More specifically:

A 2016 study involved 580 nurses from 54 nursing departments with different specialisations from 4 hospitals. The report concluded that “mindfulness is associated with a decrease in occupational safety failures”.

Researchers evaluated 50 intensive care units across 3 large acute-care hospitals, and quantified the effect of reliably engaging in mindful organizing as a 13.6% decrease in turnover and an average hospital saving of between $169,000 and $1,014,560. In a follow-up study, researchers measured the effect of changes in mindful organizing across 95 hospital nursing units in 10 hospitals. They found that for each significant increase in a team’s organising according to collective mindfulness principles, 10% fewer medication errors and 33% fewer patient falls were recorded.The research cited here is largely based on case studies and on organisations that had ‘naturally’ or ‘serendipitously’ evolved to become mindful organisations. Organizing mindfully across teams and departments in workplaces requires many individuals to consistently pay attention to the actual reality that unfolds for the organisation, and respond with awareness. Unless everyone is committed to responding mindfully, the organisation is prone to reverting to ‘mindlessness’, reaping less effective and sustainable outcomes over the long term. Further research is needed into how collective mindfulness could be developed. How collective mindfulness could be developed

Organisations as a whole become mindful when mindfulness permeates their strategy and culture – ‘the way we do things around here’. Collective mindfulness has five social “mindful organizing” practices:

• paying attention to change and variation in how people work and how work is organised

• an attitude of openness towards discussing problems or issues that could affect individuals, teams, or the organisation as a whole

• intentionally welcoming and encouraging critical dialogue at all levels of the organisation

• encouraging flexibility and fluid organisation of work tasks and people acting on the understanding that expertise changes across different tasks and situations, and deferring to actual expertise rather than to structural hierarchy.“[1]

[1] Building the Case for Mindfulness in the Workplace. The Mindfulness Initiative. Private Sector Working Group. Version 1.1 (October 2016) Visit www.themindfulnessinitiative.org/building-the-case-for-mindfulness-in-the-workplace