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The Soft Skills Series Part 1: Mindfulness

19/05/15

Mindfulness is becoming a feature of the modern corporate workplace. Many business leaders know that a robust, self-aware workforce is essential for the continued success of the company and mindfulness is one of the techniques that can achieve this. The list of well-known organisations utilising mindfulness to promote wellbeing among employees includes some of the world’s most prestigious brands such as Apple, McKinsey and Deutsche Bank.

Employees working in the financial services sector are particularly susceptible to high levels of stress and taking ten minutes a day to focus – a typical meditation involves concentrating all your attention on the breath flowing in and out of the body – can improve mood and, it is claimed, keep depression at bay.

Asides from the positives for general mental health, mindfulness can work wonders for professional development. Stress has been shown to take its toll on productivity, hampering prospects for career development by impacting good performance.

Mindfulness has also been shown to develop characteristics that are useful in the workplace. One study has shown that increased mindfulness can help to foster greater self-confidence, which can have benefits ranging from improved client relations to enhanced leadership skills.   Empathy is also said to be developed by mindfulness, which is a key soft skill for future business leaders.

There are numerous techniques that can be used, ranging from controlled breathing to deep meditation but with the current evidential gap (there is no conclusive research on its effectiveness) the big question is whether the outcome is worth the investment. There is of course ‘an app for that’ and a number of high quality free services have sprung up. Our advice is to embrace the trend and see what works for you and your team – you could be a convert.

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