Mindfulness arrives in the workplace

  • Article by: Mike Hughlett , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 24, 2013 - 6:29 AM

It’s 8:30 a.m. in one of General Mills’ myriad conference rooms, and yet another meeting is about to begin. But there will be no talk about Cheerios or Betty Crocker cake mixes.

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jk3333Nov. 23, 1310:07 PM

Perhaps higher wages and more time off would also increase productivity. Nahh....what was I thinking.

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joeljyNov. 24, 1312:51 AM

I think good salaries, nice office space (forget the flexible work space), and kudos from the boss would be preferable to this....

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erikj3Nov. 24, 13 1:38 AM

I hate this kind of workplace nonsense. At the last place I worked, it was stretching two or three times a day. No thanks.

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minneg56Nov. 24, 13 6:19 AM

Now let's see - they control most of their employees lives from about 5:30 Sunday afternoon through 1:00 Saturday afternoon ... but they wish to dig deeper into their psyches' to seize complete and total control of their 'billets' minds' during that time through additional mind control... I'd agree with 'jk' above - more time off would likely increase productivity. This coupled with less 'backloading' of responsibility to the lowest employee level without a commensurate increase in wages and power to act on additional responsibilities driven to the 'lowest level'. That's corporate life today. That's exactly why a Liberal Arts education is more than ever today of such high value ... so that young minds entering an environment like this can be confident enough to think for themselves.

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simplyhotNov. 24, 13 6:59 AM

" The idea is that this will make them more productive and maybe even happier ". I am an employer and have really great people who work for me. They show up with great attitudes (as do I ) and we get to work and accomplish tasks that bring each of us respect in our community and self satisfaction. I'm concerned about their families and their well being but I only provide the framework of a well balanced, well paying job. If personal problems were to become an issue for any of them, I would suggest taking the necessary time off and possibly offer them additional resources if they asked. I'm not their friend, counselor or babysitter but I am their employer and as such I receive a tremendous amount of satisfaction by providing all of us a nice place to come each day and make a nice living and the opportunity to live a happy life.

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teach2bwiseNov. 24, 13 8:36 AM

When has corporate efficiency ever been commensurate with an employee's personal fulfillment and happiness? The business world abides the bottom line profit first and foremost; litigation avoidance second; employees' well-being second to last; and the environment dead last.

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voiceofreasonNov. 24, 1310:58 AM

To some extent, we're all hostage to the vagaries of the human mind. Motivation research has well documented the association between the level of control a person feels over his/her situation in any walk of life and stress. Low perceived control translates to high stress. Chronic high stress translates to physical body unease and mental distraction. In the workplace, level of mental distraction translates to less than optimal focus on one's assigned duties and thus lower productivity—which can cause repercussions that add to stress. Some skeptics simply do not like to look at the mind or try to tame its vagaries, but look at it or not, it's always busy churning away at life's events. Training it to "leave that noise out of the workday" is a simple practice that pays off. And, yes, people who do the practice have fewer days off for colds and other misery that can result from high stress. And by the way, no institutional setting is more mentally intense and thus distracting than inner city schools where students are captive and often forced to do things they dislike, often leading to social conflict, absenteeism, bullying, anti-authority attitudes and low achievement for many. Schools in many U.S. districts have implemented mindfulness training to improve school climate and have shown multiple positive outcomes, including better adjusted kids and increased achievement. It's hard to imagine a more cost-effective intervention in any school system, yet all kinds of expensive work-arounds seem to be preferred to school-wide mindfulness breaks. Perhaps it's time to give this a serious look in Minnesota schools.

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woodyagNov. 24, 1311:08 AM

ayup. I learned, studied, and taught these same techniques, 3 decades ago. But- we called it "hypnosis." It IS powerful; I still use it often; and my students learned "self-hypnosis" so they didn't need a guide/leader. I think it's better to call it what it is- and sometimes these programs blur it.

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george13Nov. 24, 1312:13 PM

Yet another management fad. Just think how great it would be if management devoted these wasted resources to just compensation for employees..

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redeye12Nov. 24, 1312:55 PM

Mindfulness? Sounds more like mindlessness. What jibberish. And given GMI's history, it is no surprise they fell hook, line and sinker for this.

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