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Stress Management and Mindfulness in the Workplace

Executive Summary

Mindfulness is the art of living in the moment. The idea dates back millennia, but only recently has been promoted as a valuable workplace practice. Why?

Some observers view it as a possible treatment for a number of workplace ills, ranging from rising stress levels to declining job satisfaction to shortages of excellent leaders. Such beliefs partly stem from scientific reports indicating that mindfulness practices reduce stress and enhance concentration.
Despite such beliefs, however, there have been few studies of workplace mindfulness practices or their effectiveness.

To help fill this gap in the research, the American Management Association conducted a major survey in association with the Business Research Consortium (see sidebar).

Here are 3 key findings from the study:

About half of respondents’ firms are leveraging mindfulness as a part of their training and/or management practices. That is, 49% of their organizations provide mindfulness-related training or resources to some degree, and about a quarter do so to at least a moderate degree.

Mindfulness practices are seen as beneficial. Among respondents from the organizations that leverage mindfulness practices, about 85% reported that mindfulness training and/or resources are at least somewhat beneficial to their organizations, and nearly two fifths viewed them as “very beneficial.”

Workplace stress is a major problem in today’s organization. Among all the issues explored in the study, the problem of high stress levels ranked highest. Well over half of respondents said their organizations suffered from above-average stress levels, while just 8% reported less-than-average amounts of worker stress.

About This Study
The findings in this report originate from the American Management Association’s Mindfulness Survey, conducted in collaboration with the Business Research Consortium (BRC) in late 2014. BRC provides research expertise to professional firms and vendors. Gathering information from 991 respondents, most of them residing in the United States, the survey asked participants about whether their organizations were using or supporting mindfulness practices and, if so, how this was being done. It also asked a series of questions about the state of their organizations in terms of workforce-related issues such as engagement and stress, as well as leadership issues such as emotional intelligence and decision-making abilities.