Boffins say they can boost employee engagement by a simple step: mindfulness.
New research from the Journal of Management suggests completing three-minute exercises every day helps employees cut stress and improve attitudes to office life.
Stress-busting techniques positively enhances employee focus, attention, emotions and behaviours, the researchers claim.
They said: “Mindfulness is often viewed as either a touchy-feely fad or valuable management tool that can lift an entire workplace.
“A new comprehensive analysis of mindfulness research suggests the latter—that injecting a corporate culture of mindfulness not only improves focus, but the ability to manage stress and how employees work together.”
The US-based research analysed 4,000 academic papers looking at the relationship between mindfulness and how people think, feel and act at work. Only two reported negative effects from mindfulness in the workplace.
Organisational behaviour expert Christopher Lyddy insists corporate attitudes towards mindfulness are changing.
Mr Lyddy, who co-wrote the research with Darren Good, said: “Historically, companies have been reticent to offer mindfulness training because it was seen as something fluffy, esoteric and spiritual.
“But that’s changing.
“Remarkably, scientists have found the effects of mindfulness consistently benign.
“Of the thousands of empirical studies we read, only two reported any downside to mindfulness.”
Mindsets towards relaxation activities in the workplace are, indeed, evolving. Mindfulness emerged from Buddist teachings and had been cultivated over centuries via meditation.
In recent years, big-name companies like Google have used the technique, eager to harness ‘the power of positive business’.
And in 2015, the UK government launched Mindful Nation UK – an initiative to enable mindfulness to help improve national health and productivity.
“When you are mindful, you can have a greater consciousness in the present,” Mr Lyddy continued.
“That’s vital for any executive or manager, who, at any given moment, may be barraged with various problems that call for decisions under stress.”