The last 6 months have proven immensely challenging for the physical and mental health of millions of people facing the increased stress and anxiety by the COVID-19 pandemic. The disruption to work and life has been enormous. The WEF estimated that 2.6bn faced some form of lockdown and that the 2H20 will see tsunami of mental health challenges. Depression and anxiety disorders already cost the global economy $1 trillion every year in lost productivity and could cost the world $16 trillion by 2030. (WEF) Now more than ever solutions are needed to support the mental health & wellbeing of billions of people. This whitepaper looks at the reason why organisations have a role to play in this and how meditation and mindfulness can and should be integrated into workplace culture.
When we develop the capacity for self-awareness we can then begin to understand the interconnectedness of everything: people, our communities & our planet. Stress literally makes us selfish for biological reasons, an evolutionary response to escape predators, now we release stress hormones because an internet page doesn't load fast enough. Stress is a name for a bundle of sensations in the body that put you into fight- flight or freeze - our survival strategy. Our goal is to thrive personally and professionally, if you asked any leader if they wanted healthy, happy employees they’d say of course; but if you asked them how do you get there, many would struggle.
In a survey we conducted 82% of respondents recognised that stressed impacted their mental well-being, 86% believed that meditation lowered stress and 87% said it increased self-awareness. Yet only 2% of respondents meditated in the office (data collected 4Q19 pre-COVID-19), only 20% meditated daily and 47% less than a few times a month. The goal of this report is to explore the habits and attitudes employees and organisations have towards cultivating a meditation or mindfulness practice.
In a lifetime, the average person will spend at least 90,000 hours working. We spend our lives at work and so it’s important that we work in an environment that is conducive to our wellbeing physically, mentally and emotionally. Creating a mindful organisation is one where people feel like they have space to de-compress, relate to one another, be resilient to change and create a more inclusive, thoughtful and empathic culture.
Organisations are responsible if not now duty-bound in ensuring the wellbeing of their employees. The top executives of Orange in France were recently found guilty in a landmark case and given jail terms for causing the suicides of 19 employees for ‘collective moral harassment’. While this is an extreme example, it demonstrates the importance of creating mindful, inclusive work environments that are conducive to mental wellbeing and support those in need of mental health services.
As one of the respondents to this survey said:
“Somehow while working in an office I felt the pressure to spend most waking hours there and managed to make little time for me. This hastened burnout. Big corporations need to do more to provide the breathing and centering space that a human being needs to be able to make more conscious and objective decisions.”
This report looks at:
Why do organisations have a responsibility for an employee's mental health?
How do meditation and mindfulness support mental health?
How do you create a mindful organisation?
An overview of MBSR and iRest® training programs
3 case studies of MNC's that have taken different approaches to integrating mindfulness into the workplace
Survey data and FAQs from the survey on meditation