Mindfulness training can improve employee well-being

A recent Gallup study revealed that 23 percent of American employees feel burned out at work very often or always. While this doesn’t seem like a lot, let us first consider what this means for businesses, financially. Job burnout is said to contribute to an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion in healthcare spending each year. The stress that office workers feel about their jobs, and most importantly, their managers (more on this later) is said to dramatically increase their risk for Type 2 diabetes, stroke, gastrointestinal issues, high cholesterol, and even death.

It makes sense, therefore, for companies to take special care in ensuring the health of their workers — particularly those who contribute to the growth of their company. Therefore, keeping your employees happy is one way to save a lot of money.

Mindfulness training may be another option. A recent study published in the October 2018 issue of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology concluded that a mere six-week’s worth of mindfulness training can improve employee well-being and job performance.

For the purposes of the study, the researchers conducted a randomized controlled trial among employees of a Midwestern marketing firm. A total of 60 participants were observed with half receiving treatment while the other half were left on their own. Researchers found that at the end of the trial period, those who received the mindfulness training program had significant improvements in attentional focus at work and dramatic decreases in work-life conflict. Those in the treatment group also reported feeling more satisfied with their job.

These findings suggest that even short sessions of mindfulness training can foster improved productivity, job satisfaction, and positive feelings regarding work.

People don’t quit jobs, they quit managers

Employment burnout is the state wherein a worker loses all motivation or incentive to do their work. Left untreated, this can develop into depression and anxiety. Those who are burned out often say that they feel “powerless” or “hopeless” about their current workload (or job position) and feel incredible amounts of dread during their weekends, due to the knowledge that they would have to return to work after only a few hours. (Related: Experts determine burnout and depression are closely linked.)

Burnout is not something to poo-poo, either — particularly if you are a manager or someone in a position of power. As mentioned earlier, if human emotion or compassion is not part of your vocabulary, you would still need to care about your employee’s health if only to save money.

There are several factors that can contribute to burnout. Some companies and industries have much higher rates of burnout than others, usually because they have more than one of the factors listed below:

  • Unclear requirements: When your employee doesn’t know what he or she is doing, it is extremely hard for them to be confident, enjoy their work, or even feel that they’re doing a good job. It is important that their job descriptions are clearly defined. As much as possible, do not change their requirements constantly. Set reasonable expectations.
  • Impossible requirements: Following on that, make sure that you give your employees the right amount of time to complete tasks properly. Chucking work on a single employee and then telling him/her to finish it by the end of the day, over and on top of everything he/she has to do, is simply irresponsible.
  • Constant “high stress moments” with no “down” times: Every job has periods of “crunch times” where workers have to work longer hours and at a more focused pace. This is helpful for employees who can feel invigorated by their work, and if their extra effort is recognized. However, a problem will occur if every day is “crunch time.” When employees don’t have time to relax, the chances of them losing focus and energy is extremely high.

Managers would also do well to remember that they are responsible for their workers. Even if a mindfulness training can help improve an employee’s mental health for a short time, deep-seated issues (such as unrealistic expectations and impossible workloads) should be carefully handled and managed properly.

If you literally have to drag yourself out of your bed to go to work, then it is highly recommended that you take a break to recover. Read the articles found at MindBodyScience.news for more information on the natural therapies that can benefit your health and well-being.

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