Mindfulness in corporate land
The team at Melbourne Corporate Health all passionately believe that having a healthy mind is just as vital as having a healthy body. And it’s for this reason that we are big fans of mindfulness.
Integrating mindfulness meditation into your daily routine has been proven to help reduce stress, improve your memory and focus, enhance your cognitive flexibility, benefit your general wellbeing and even increase your immune functioning.
But we often hear from our corporate clients that they simply don’t have the time in their hectic schedule of meeting after meeting to pencil in some mindfulness. We were therefore delighted to recently stumble across an online read in the Sydney Morning Herald entitled ‘Mindfulness takes over the corporate world’ and looking at how some employers are helping employees take time out to de-stress. The article starts off…
Within the busy, multicoloured halls of Google’s Sydney headquarters is a small room dedicated to silence.
Cushions and the scent of essential oils fill the isolated space where technical program manager James Worsley retreats for 20 minutes every day.
“You would think taking 20 minutes to do nothing might slow you down, but it actually frees you up to get a lot more done,” he said.
Employers in corporations including Google are introducing workers to new ways of reducing stress through meditation, yoga classes, and colouring-in books. Some are even helping them make smoothies.
The stress-relief strategies are linked to what psychologists call “mindfulness”, a method of getting people to absorb the present moment and their physical surroundings.
Law firm Seyfarth Shaw has just opened a meditation room for its staff in Melbourne. In Sydney and Melbourne, its employees take part in “health and wellbeing” seminars that have included on-site massages, lessons in making smoothies and juices and seminars on nutrition and resilience.
Justine Turnbull, a partner at the firm, said the program has been well received. “It is about engagement and caring about our people who are sometimes required to work above and beyond,” she says.
Lendlease has also recently announced it will give staff an extra three days a year for “wellbeing leave” which can be used to attend a yoga retreat, a preventive health check-up or a meditation course.
Sydney recruitment company Precision Sourcing is among employers encouraging workers to grab a coloured pencil and colouring book for adults, instead of reaching for a cigarette or coffee to relieve stress.
Google’s Sydney office opened its meditation room in August in response to the lifestyle needs of its workers who had been using the library for meditation. Yoga classes are also conducted in the conference room.
“One of the philosophies we have is to hire smart people and get out of the way and let them organise their work and their life. There are things we can do to make that easier,” Google spokeswoman Annie Baxter says…
The article goes on to highlight the fact that numerous studies have shown that, when done properly and consistently over at least eight weeks, mindfulness can retrain the mind and discourage feelings of stress and anxiety.
And it issues a reminder of the importance of workplaces also working to address and rectify excessive demands and stressful work in addition to employee programs.
It is fantastic to see that the mindfulness movement is becoming mainstream in some parts of the corporate sector and we hope to see more consistent application of it.
For those new to mindfulness, Melbourne Corporate Health’s founder, Dean Casamento, runs intimate group workshops throughout the year where he shares practical techniques to increase your inner calm, insight and understanding. Give us a call if you are keen to find out details on upcoming workshop times and locations.