According to a report by Microsoft, from 2000 to 2015 the average attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds — just one second shorter than that of a goldfish. And it’s not just teenagers hooked to their devices who suffer from distractions in the digital age; adults’ focus is waning, too. Mindfulness is one approach mega-corporations like Google, Apple, and others use to spark employee creativity, improve focus and increase productivity.
Lack of Focus Impacts Creativity & Productivity
Consider this: people check their email almost 300 times daily. Upon reflection of your own habits, do these results surprise you? Lack of focus undermines innovation and promotes mediocrity. Constant interruptions result in employees who waste between 40 to 60 percent of their time at work.
From incorporating exercise to offering meditation courses and retreats to hosting off-site meetings, many corporations hone workers’ mental capacities and energy and help them operate at their peak performance levels.
Leaders who benefit from mindfulness techniques serve as inspiration for their teams. And proof that mindfulness can help organizations buck these troubling stats. Ideally, employees are reinvigorated by these exercises and see greater productivity and creativity both at work and in their day to day lives.
Leaders who benefit from mindfulness techniques serve as inspiration for their teams.
Mindfulness Improves People and Performance
While many activities can promote mindfulness, research shows meditation in particular is effective at training a wandering brain.
In 2012, the Italian neuroscientist Giuseppe Pagnoni compared the neural patterns in people who meditated and those who did not. His research suggested those who incorporated meditation into their lives for at least five years were better focused. Better focus led to fewer mistakes.
A Harvard University team corroborated these findings. Their research showed that yoga practitioners spent up to $25,500 less than their peers on annual medical costs, presumably because meditation had led to reduced stress levels and consequently fewer health issues.
Leaders who focus on these three specific strategies can ensure their organizations reap the benefits that come from adopting a mindfulness program.
Initiate and Support a Creative Environment
As a business leader, show your support for creativity-inducing experiences. During an employees’ initial on-boarding process, make it clear that creativity is an essential part of your company culture.
During team meetings, create a safe and supportive environment for employees to contribute ideas. Share with your entire organization, including remote workers, personal examples of creative ideas you’ve generated from practicing mindfulness.
Offer designated quiet spaces in your office where employees can have time to clear their heads. Research done by Ester Buchholz, psychologist and author of “The Call of Solitude,” points to the idea that alone time is an important element of the creative process.
All of this helps your people tap into their individual creative potential while simultaneously building your creative ecosystem.
Provide Opportunities for Interaction
Relationships are forged when teams collaborate. But do your employees regularly meet up and exchange ideas even when they aren’t working on major projects?
To open the door for the cross-pollination of ideas and facilitate deeper cooperation and understanding, provide opportunities for individuals from varying teams to spend time together in casual scenarios.
You can weave these collaboration opportunities into the fabric of your organization’s culture. Try occasionally catering lunches or utilizing an open-office design. You can also encourage employees to shadow each other, have lunch together or participate in team-building events.
If one worker discovers a more effective way to do his job or has a nascent idea, these informal meet-ups and conversations can ensure those notions don’t get ignored.
Be Mindful of Diverse Personalities on Your Ream
Mindful leaders are aware of the diverse personalities on their team. While some team members have no problem expressing themselves, others may have difficulty speaking up.
Don’t miss out on the ideas these individuals have locked behind their quiet personalities. They may just need time to sit with their thoughts before they contribute to the conversation. A suggestion box — either physical or digital —could encourage these individuals to contribute ideas on a more frequent basis.
For others, more extended team-building activities, such as an extended off-site meeting or overnight adventure, may provide opportunities for people to interact. This can result in the generation of creative ideas that go beyond your typical meeting format.
If you ignore the power of mindfulness at work, you could be holding back the creative potential of your company and its talented employees.
The more thought you give to making your organization more positive and dynamic, the sooner you’ll find your business in a position of heightened creativity and productivity.