by Justin Standfield
The client organisation operates in the insurance industry and had recently been through a takeover; the residual impact on employees was apparent through increased instances of stress-related absence, anecdotal feedback of feeling overwhelmed, reports of strained relationships with colleagues and evidence of general negativity.
The company asked Incendo to deliver a six-week ‘Developing Mindfulness at Work’ programme, consisting of six early morning sessions that people could self-nominate to attend before starting work. Although some participants had experienced a bit of meditation as part of practising yoga outside work, everyone in the group was new to the concept of mindfulness. Feedback throughout the programme was positive and from the first week of practising some breathing techniques and noticing their thoughts, participants reported an increased awareness of their internal reactions to events at work.
Here’s what some of the delegates said about the Developing Mindfulness at Work programme:
- “Stopping and noticing how I’m feeling – with curiosity, instead of an auto-pilot tendency to beat myself up – has really helped to build bridges with some very difficult stakeholders.”
- “The Incendo course on mindfulness has provided me with some much-needed guidance to help me in my day to day schedule; there are many things which all professionals can relate to in the programme and implement immediately at work.”
- “I have stopped being judgemental and approach people with less aggression. My frustration at work has also eased from using the principles from the Incendo mindfulness course and I am now making more informed, conscious decisions.”
The programme has since been repeated in two different forms within the organisation. Firstly, it has been offered at lunchtimes and evenings on the same basis as the original format where participants attend a scheduled six-week mindfulness course. Secondly, a drop-in programme was offered on an ongoing basis so that people could come to as many or as few classes as they needed, as long as they’d completed an initial ‘induction’ session on the fundamentals of mindfulness.
The company’s Head of People Development had this to say:
“The key impact we’ve experienced as a business is the general feeling from employees of the company caring more for people as people, and being supportive in providing alternative and proactive solutions to self-management of stress and wellbeing. The mindfulness sessions with Incendo have had great feedback; by word of mouth, more and more people are asking to attend and our other sites in the UK are also requesting it. The way I see it, taking part in this programme contributes to prevention rather than cure – people who feel they may be on the verge of becoming burnt out are using the mindfulness sessions to tip back into a more balanced, in-control mindset. It’s part of a wellbeing approach that supplements our employee benefits scheme and has knock-on benefits to us as a business from an engagement and reputational perspective.”
As part of the Developing Mindfulness at Work programme, participants completed a pre- and post-course mindfulness inventory. The results from this evaluation showed a positive shift across all aspects measured; of particular note was the improvement in people’s ability to regulate their attention at work and approach experiences with an open and non-judgemental awareness. The findings also demonstrated a significant increase in levels of patience with themselves and other people at work.
Our Developing Mindfulness At Work programme is a fusion of key elements from the well-known Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) courses. If you’re interested in bringing the benefits of mindfulness into your workplace, find out more about Incendo’s approach to corporate mindfulness here.