Workplace Mindfulness

 

“The main business case for meditation is that if you’re fully present on the job, you will be more effective as a leader, you will make better decisions and you will work better with other people.”

William George, Goldman Sachs Board Member and Harvard Business School Fellow

The cost of mental ill health

Deloitte report that mental ill health cost British employers £53 to 56 billion in 2020/21 – an increase of £11 billion on pre-pandemic levels of 2019 (see chart below) 1. As well as being the right thing to do, investing in staff well-being can improve your organisation’s performance, productivity and profitability. Deloitte report that the return on investment for supporting employee mental health is over £5 for every £1 invested 1

Stress

Stress is often viewed as a ‘badge of honour’ in the workplace, with some of us also requiring a certain amount of stress to perform. However, chronic stress can be damaging with a risk of burnout and mental ill health. The recent COVID pandemic has had a significant impact, making it more essential than ever to look after our mental health. With the ROI at over 5:1, can employers afford the risk of not making the investment in employee mental health?

Recommendations by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

In March 2022, NICE published a report ‘Mental Wellbeing at Work’ [NG212] 2, which contains guidelines that identify how to create the right conditions for mental wellbeing at work. The research specifically recommends that organisations should “offer all employees (or help them to access) mindfulness, yoga or meditation on an ongoing basis.”  The mindfulness programmes Jolly Mindfulness offer include meditation and mindful yoga as fundamental elements of the training. The report goes on to say that “where treatment is commissioned by the employer, the employer is required to check that the provider has the necessary qualifications and is accredited and regulated by relevant professional organisations to offer the interventions proposed.”  Our registration with The British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches (BAMBA), demonstrates affiliation to a reputable teacher training organisation; the completion of an approved mindfulness teacher training qualification; and certification by an approving body in BAMBA. Jolly Mindfulness also adheres to BAMBA’s Good Practice Guidelines and Ethical Standards.

How can mindfulness help in the workplace?

The following linked research studies indicate that mindfulness training enhances:

These studies are published by mindfulness and organisational educators, trainers, researchers and psychologists.

There is more about mindfulness and how it is developed on our What is mindfulness?   page.

Case studies

The Mindfulness Initiative (supporting the UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mindfulness) report several studies on the benefits of implementing mindfulness in the workplace 9.


 

“Huge thanks to the fabulous Danny at Jolly Mindfulness for the brilliant session yesterday – we were very lucky to spend the afternoon learning more about mindfulness and trying some meditations.

I think its safe to say we all found the session extremely interesting and useful”  People Business – HR, L&D and Coaching Consultancy

 


 

Mindfulness training

Training can be offered in various formats, both face to face and online:

A pair of introductory ‘taster’ workshops to begin with are a useful way of getting to know the teacher / training style before committing to a longer course, or ongoing relationship. These can be between 1 and 2.5 hours each (depending on available time and numbers), and include experiential practice and exercises, discussion plus a little supporting theory and research. We can read and talk about mindfulness, which can be helpful – however, mindfulness is an embodied awareness which can only be learned experientially. So, it is most effective to have some time between sessions to practice the exercises and meditations, in daily/working life. Discussing this at the next session offers the opportunity to embed and ‘know’ what is being experienced. Notwithstanding this, time is often precious so one session can be provided – which is better than nothing!

No experience of meditation or mindfulness is required, full guidance will be provided. These sessions offer a brief introduction to mindfulness, in a way that is accessible to anyone new to mindfulness. Some key mindfulness themes and practices are explored in ways that might be supportive during work and everyday life. There are usually three meditation practices (10 to 15 minutes each), based on mindfulness of breath, body or very gentle movements. Additional brief practices will be introduced, to illustrate how mindfulness can be integrated into a working day, to provide stability and support. A little mindfulness theory will be woven in, to support the experiential learning during discussion. Self-care is an important aspect of mindfulness, so postures and movements can be adapted to anyone’s particular needs.

Longer trainings can also be provided:

  • A longer introduction course of 1 hour sessions over 4 weeks.
  • An 8-week course of 75 or 90 minute, weekly sessions (workplace based). This programme is based upon the best-selling book ‘Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World’, the curriculum is evidence based and designed for workplace contexts by The University of Oxford Mindfulness Centre. This course is also taught in a general public context, for anyone preferring that.
  • An 8-week course of 2 to 2.5 hour weekly sessions (general public setting). Some people prefer to take the course outside of work, either for privacy or because they recognise that not all of the stress they experience is work-based. This is the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) programme, and is intended for those suffering from stress, anxiety, chronic pain or chronic illness. Please click here for more information about the course.

In the longer 8-week courses, there is time to learn and practice how we can use the mindfulness skills developed in the early weeks of the course to begin to work with stress more proactively and responsively, in the later weeks. In all courses, mindfulness is developed experientially using meditations, group discussion, observational exercises and didactic teaching/theory. Participants also practise the meditations and short observational exercises between sessions for the remaining 6 days per week.

Training can be offered in a group format or one-to-one. The group format ensures the training is effective in terms of cost and trainee-trainer engagement. Courses can be delivered over Zoom or in person. Included in the package are:

  • Access to a rigorously trained mindfulness teacher with 24 years meditation experience and 19 years as a departmental commercial manager in the construction industry. More about Danny below.
  • A welcome document and an orientation session to prepare participants
  • Eight weekly group sessions with email access to the trainer between sessions, plus time directly after sessions to check-in
  • Weekly emailed reading materials forming a course manual
  • Access to audio downloads for all guided meditations

There can be inherent challenges with delivering mindfulness training in workplace settings. For instance, attending a mindfulness course should be voluntary and those ‘conscripted’ are more likely to drop-out before completing the programme, or not participate in a way that develops learning. Also, shoehorning the training into an already full working day can be problematic with inevitable distractions, late arrivals and early departures adversely affecting group forming and cohesion. It’s therefore prudent to think about the best way to position the training, which we can help with.


 
“Danny taught a silent retreat day as part of our in house Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Course.
Danny is professional, and has an embodied kindness which infuses his teaching. Engaging relational skills are also evident in his teaching. I would wholeheartedly recommend him as a mindfulness teacher.” FTSE250 Investment and Specialist Bank

 


One-to-one coaching

Follow up one-to-one, mindfulness-based coaching sessions can be arranged to help embed the learning and to develop a regular mindfulness practice, after the workshops or a course. These are usually a series of 6 sessions over the course of 2 to 3 months, but can be adapted to suit particular needs. I am a certified coach with Coaching Development (International Coaching Federation accredited training) and have also returned to mentor students on that programme several times.

Meditation sessions

Regular guided group mindfulness meditation sessions (30 minutes to 1 hour) can also be arranged, as stand alone sessions or to support participants in developing a regular mindfulness practice following training. These can also be face to face or online.

The trainer

Danny holds a Masters degree (with distinction) in Teaching Mindfulness-Based Courses, and is a certified advanced teacher, with the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice, Bangor University. He has completed specialist training to adapt mindfulness for workplace contexts and is also a registered teacher with The British Association of Mindfulness-Based Approaches. Having held a commercial management position in the construction industry for 20 years, he has direct experience of the essential significance of wellbeing in a competitive, time and resource pressured marketplace.

Read more about Danny

Find out more

Call 07824 664571 or email danny@jollymindfulness.com to book a taster session, course or regular meditation sessions, and try the benefits of mindfulness for your people. It would be a pleasure to discuss any questions you may have and gather some information to provide a fee proposal.


 
“I have recently completed an 8 week Mindfulness course with Danny and it has taught me many ways in which to deal with the challenges of everyday life, both personally and in a work environment. The course was very informal and Danny is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about the course content and wider world of mindfulness. His friendly and calming nature put me at ease from the first week. I would certainly recommend Danny to anyone considering this course.” CS

 


1 Hampson, E., Polner, A., Assal, V., & Abrahams, N. (2022). Mental health and employers. The case for investment – pandemic and beyond. Deloitte LLP.

2 Mental wellbeing at work, NICE guideline [NG212]. (2022). [Health]. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

3 Dane, E., & Brummel, B. J. (2014). Examining workplace mindfulness and its relations to job performance and turnover intention. Human Relations, 67(1), 105–128.

4 Colzato, L. S., Ozturk, A., & Hommel, B. (2012). Meditate to Create: The Impact of Focused-Attention and Open-Monitoring Training on Convergent and Divergent Thinking. Frontiers in Psychology, 3.

5 Lomas, T., Medina, J. C., Ivtzan, I., Rupprecht, S., & Eiroa-Orosa, F. J. (2019). Mindfulness-based interventions in the workplace: An inclusive systematic review and meta-analysis of their impact upon wellbeing. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 14(5), 625–640.

6 Reitz, M., Waller, L., Chaskalson, M., Olivier, S., & Rupprecht, S. (2020). Developing leaders through mindfulness practice. Journal of Management Development, 39(2), 223–239.

7 Rupprecht, S., Falke, P., Kohls, N., Tamdjidi, C., Wittmann, M., & Kersemaekers, W. (2019). Mindful Leader Development: How Leaders Experience the Effects of Mindfulness Training on Leader Capabilities. Frontiers in Psychology, 10.

8 Fazia, T., Bubbico, F., Berzuini, G., Tezza, L. D., Cortellini, C., Bruno, S., & Bernardinelli, L. (2021). Mindfulness meditation training in an occupational setting: Effects of a 12-weeks mindfulness-based intervention on wellbeing. Work, 70(4), 1089–1099.

9 Workplace case studies. (n.d.). Themindfulnessinitiative.Org.


 

(With grateful thanks to @Elisa Ventur for the first photograph and @Louise Viallesoubranne for the second. Both on Unsplash)