A survey by Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health predicts that 22% of Fortune 500 companies will use mindfulness or brain training at the workplace by the end of the year, as a way to improve employee health and productivity, decrease absenteeism, and enhance quality of life. And the survey suggests that this number could double in 2017.
Anders Ferguson, founding principal and partner at the wealth management firm Veris Wealth Partners, jumped on the mindfulness-at-work bandwagon three years ago when he wanted to enhance the work habits of his employees. Partnering with three other investment firms, Ferguson implemented a variety of mindfulness practices. They let employees decide whether or not they wanted to participate, and 100% of them do.
All meetings start with a minute of silence, basic mindfulness breathing, and meditation. Employees are also encouraged to perform daily acts of compassion and appreciation with the people in their work and personal life, as well as random acts of kindness for strangers. Additionally, they’re encouraged to put down their digital devices for at least an hour each day.
Ferguson says the technique seems simple, but the results have included an increase in productivity and a decrease in stress. "The way many of us work is not working," he says. "Mental effectiveness has two fundamental rules: focus on what you choose, and choose your distractions mindfully."
While meditation is often perceived as a solitary practice, experts say there are several reasons why it’s better done as a group.