Why Bother with Mindfulness in the Workplace

The concept of mindfulness seems to be really trendy these days. Of course, the idea is nothing new…but it’s cropping up in some unexpected spots. You’ve likely read about businesses bringing mindfulness trainers into the workplace, companies providing meditation rooms for employees, and offsite retreats being offered to encourage workers to develop better levels of awareness.

But why is this such a big deal, all of a sudden?

Recent studies have shown that the brain undergoes physical and structural changes within even a short period of time after individuals begin a practice of regular meditation. This is a wonderful thing in terms of being able to be less reactive, and notice more details in our surroundings. But do these benefits serve an organizational goal? Perhaps…
Much like business consultants want to ensure that a company is making strategic decisions in line with its overarching business goals, it’s important to understand what benefits an organization might realize from engaging their teams in mindfulness practices. Here are a few of the outcomes that I’ve observed, drawn from the experience of my own clients.

Easier decision-making:

Those who practice mindfulness – in any of its many forms – often feel less challenged when called upon to make a decision. When the mind is less distracted, it’s much easier to weigh options. As well, a quieter mind is better able to review all sides of a question, including what may seem peripheral. This allows for quicker choices, and less second-guessing.

Better critical analysis:

Developing mindful qualities of stillness and reflection enable practitioners to devote mental resources to the complex act of critical analysis. Often, using mindfulness techniques will permit an individual to assess a situation without involving their personal emotions, which will likely provide for a more reliable examination of the circumstances.

Stronger emotional regulation:

Mindfulness is inevitably linked to personal awareness. Self-awareness is a first step in understanding why we do what we do, and how we can be thrown off course when our actions and values are not aligned. This is the keystone to reducing volatile, knee-jerk reactions to stressful or difficult conditions – both in the workplace, and at home.

Improved concentration:

Those who practice regular mindfulness and meditation habits report that they sense an increased capacity for focus. This improvement continues as individuals spend more time in meditative states. Becoming aware of our thoughts – which is the natural outcome of a mindful practice – is the first step in being able to harness our powers for paying attention.

These are only four of the reported benefits that mindfulness brings, and each could very easily be linked with areas in which a company is seeking to improve and innovate.
Mindfulness at work doesn’t need to be just a fad. It’s a means to an end for thoughtful business leaders.

Submitted: September 9, 2018
Copyright © Lee Godfrey, 2018

Previous ArticleNext Article

New survey reveals marketing managers turning to freelancers more than ever

Good news for freelancers with digital marketing skills. A new survey from the freelancing platform Upwork found that marketers are increasingly looking for freelancers with specialized skills to fill gaps in their own teams.

The study, released at the end of November, asked 1,000 US marketing bosses and hiring managers about the roles they find hard to fill. Among the most in-demand abilities were inbound marketing, demand generation and social media know-how. According to UpWork, hunger for these kinds of skills has grown more than 150 percent year on year.

What’s driving the demand? UpWork’s SVP for Marketing, Rich Pearson, puts it down to a mix of factors.

First, digital transformation has shaken up the industry, meaning many marketers are constantly in need of new skills to produce the kind of marketing that their audiences want.

At the same time, Mr Pearson explains that freelancers offer a more flexible alternative to the traditional route of using a fully-fledged agency:

“agencies have long been the primary solution to help fill these skills gaps, but with the increased availability of freelance talent, marketers have a new, more cost-effective option for getting work done.”

This change is profound. According to the survey, a full 58% of marketing departments across all sectors use freelancers in some capacity, and almost three quarters say that companies who fail to adapt to this evolution will face competitive disadvantage.

Perhaps most significantly, 92% of marketing managers and hiring teams report that without being able to find a freelancer, they would be forced to delay, cancel or extend their projects.

What does this mean for freelancers, then? On one hand, the data indicates there’s a lot of work out there – they will just need to go find it. On the other hand, it also shows that the demand is for freelancers with ever more niche skills. Knowing the basics of SEO simply won’t cut it in today’s market – in-house clients expect a lot more.

The skills that freelance marketing experts will need to win business and stand out are becoming ever more diverse. Indeed, a different study released by UpWork earlier in November singled out Salesforce services and HubSpot marketing as some of the fastest growing skills for freelancers in Q3 2017, as well as Instagram marketing and Final Cut Pro X.

So, there’s no time for freelance marketers to sit on their laurels just yet.