In these shifting times that encompass the new Aquarian Age , more and more people are drawing inward and committing to practices such as meditation and yoga to help them find greater fulfillment in this lifetime. What can employers do to support this mindfulness shift within the workplace? What do employees really need from their employer to live full lives both in and out of the office, to keep them productive, happy and striving for what we as human beings all ultimately want: a life well lived, where we are serving others and living out our true destinies?
It goes far beyond offering good health insurance, paid time off and the occasional in-office yoga class. Supporting the idea of mindfulness in the workplace boils down to the culture of the company, the underlying belief system of the C-suite and the time and effort that is being invested to creating a dynamic and sustainable work environment that people wholly want to be a part of.
Etsy: Building a Culture of Mindfulness from Inception
One company that is doing a stellar job at bringing a culture of mindfulness into all facets of the company, is Etsy . Earlier this year, Etsy announced their generous parental leave policy with the hope that other employers will notice and follow suit. In addition to this policy, they have a fun, lively work environment , including dog friendly offices, courtyards where employees can work and monthly craft nights. Etsy promotes an overall culture of mindfulness each and every day, it’s weaved into the fabric of the company, with full C-suite backing.
Additionally, Etsy is a Certified Benefit Corporation, an increasingly popular seal of approval for companies to strive toward, that doesn’t just look at maximizing shareholder value; they also hold social and environmental standards in very high regard. According to the B Corps website, “there is a growing community of more than 1,600 Certified B Corps from 42 countries and over 120 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.”
Creating this culture and living by it each and every day in the workplace signals underlying long term values and a clear message that the employer cares about the employee and understands his or her needs in the workforce. This ultimately leads to more creativity, more productivity, higher retention rates and a happier work environment.
Where Technology and Mindfulness Meet
Conferences such as the Wisdom 2.0 conference, are focusing on technology and purpose in the workplace, stating that attendance at the San Francisco-based conference has quadrupled between 2010 and 2013 and draws many high profile CEOs. Wisdom2Summit.com shares that “Participants share a common interest: to live with greater wisdom, purpose, and meaning, while using technology in ways that create a more open and healthy culture.”
A culture of mindfulness will likely take on a different look in every company. However, the key takeaway that can be borrowed from Etsy and other forward thinking companies is that creating a culture of mindfulness from the ground up is critical to companies’ long-term survival and sustainability.
Below are some quick tips to getting started immediately on the path to a more mindful work environment:
- Discuss with your team on what a culture of change could look like, talk to employees about their needs. What does a perfect work environment look like to them? If they could ask for anything from an employer, what would it be?
- Realize that change and culture shifts take time. Start with what you can directly control and implement relatively easily. Perhaps it’s starting with a once per week yoga and meditation classes, giving employees permission to work remotely or organizing a company-led volunteer outing.
- Give employees permission to turn inward during the work day. Encourage frequent breaks for stretching and getting fresh air as good/accepted behavior. Consider offering some company sponsored Headspace memberships, a great introductory meditation tool that employees can follow right from their phones and take advantage of during a break or their commute.
People are the backbone of our companies. Let’s move toward offering settings that support long-term well being. Your company, in the long run, will thank you.
“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.” – Marianne Williamson