January Mindfulness and Workplace Wellness Research Round-Up

BL00 - Mindfulness and Workplace Wellness Research Round-Up

By the Mindful Leader Team

This month, we first look at how prioritizing wellness at work could help fight the problem in which employees are just pretending to work. Then, we look at a review covering the effects of different interventions in combining physical activity with mindfulness as well as how the threads of control, purpose, and community weave our workplace health. Lastly, we dive into research that highlights the impact of unhealthy work cultures on employee health and longevity. We have summarized the main ideas and key takeaways below with links to the full articles.

Prioritizing wellness at work could relieve America of its $1.5 trillion presenteeism problem in which employees are just pretending to work, 100-page report finds

Presenteeism, the act of physically being at work while mentally checked out, is costing companies a staggering $1.5 trillion a year in lost productivity, 10 times more than absenteeism. Research shows that neglecting employee wellness fuels this pervasive issue, leading to burnout, stress, and a lack of engagement. The solution? Companies need to prioritize a holistic approach to employee well-being, encompassing emotional, physical, intellectual, and social needs. This can be achieved through greater flexibility, fostering genuine care for employees, and focusing on actual output rather than superficial metrics like physical presence.

Key Points:

  • Presenteeism is significantly more costly than absenteeism, both in financial terms and lost productivity.
  • Factors like burnout, stress, and lack of flexibility contribute to presenteeism.
  • Prioritizing employee well-being in all aspects, beyond just physical health, is crucial for reducing presenteeism.
  • Flexibility and a focus on output, rather than mere presence, are key factors in boosting productivity and worker engagement.
  • Investing in employee well-being is not just the right thing to do, it's also a sound business decision that yields tangible benefits.

Read the full article on Yahoo Finance 

Effects of combining physical activity with mindfulness on mental health and wellbeing: Systematic review of complex interventions

A growing body of research suggests that combining physical activity with mindfulness practices may be a potent strategy for promoting mental health and well-being. This review, encompassing 35 studies, investigated the effectiveness of such combined interventions compared to physical activity alone in improving mental health outcomes. The findings revealed that the combined approach yielded significantly greater improvements than physical activity alone. Moreover, the interventions were well-received by participants and demonstrated feasibility in real-world settings. However, further research is needed to optimize the dosage and delivery methods of these interventions to maximize their impact.

Key Points:

  • Combining physical activity and mindfulness is more effective than physical activity alone in improving mental health outcomes.
  • This approach shows promise for real-world implementation, as it is feasible and acceptable to participants.
  • More research is needed to determine the optimal dosage and delivery methods for these interventions.

Read the full article on Science Direct

Work Is the New Doctor’s Office

Our jobs can be both the source of purpose and a battleground for well-being. This Time Magazine article explores this paradox, highlighting how control, meaning, and social connection in the workplace shape our physical, mental, and emotional health. It urges a move beyond traditional, siloed wellness programs towards a holistic approach that prioritizes employee well-being. Autonomy and finding purpose in our work empower us, reducing stress and improving health. Strong relationships with colleagues act as a buffer against stress and foster a sense of belonging. Recognizing the interconnectedness of physical, mental, and social well-being, the article advocates for supportive and flexible work environments that provide opportunities for skill development, trust, and collaboration. By investing in employee well-being, employers unlock a happier, healthier, and more productive workforce. This is not a luxury, but a necessity for both individual and collective thriving.

Key Points:

  • Control, meaning, and connection are key to workplace well-being.
  • A holistic approach to employee wellness is essential.
  • Employers can foster well-being through trust, flexibility, and support.
  • Investing in employee well-being benefits everyone.

Read the full article on TIME

How The Quality Of Work Might Hold The Key To Wellbeing Crisis

Recent research, including a MindGym report launched during Longevity Week, highlights the detrimental impact of unhealthy work cultures on employee health and longevity. Micromanaging bosses, lack of control over work, and ineffective wellness programs are identified as key culprits. The MindGym report proposes a different approach, urging businesses to rebuild work around five psychological drivers of wellbeing: certainty, competence, autonomy, belonging, and purpose. This preventative strategy, dubbed "Wellworking," aims to address the root causes of stress and burnout by focusing on what companies can directly control: the work environment itself. By providing tailored solutions that enhance employee control, meaning, and connection, Wellworking promises to be more effective than existing one-size-fits-all programs and reduce long-term sickness absences. Investing in a healthy work culture isn't just good for employees; it's vital for businesses seeking to thrive in the face of changing work attitudes and the looming potential of AI.

Key Points:

  • Unhealthy work cultures, characterized by micromanagement, lack of control, and ineffective wellness programs, can negatively impact employee health and longevity.
  • MindGym's "Wellworking" approach focuses on improving the work environment itself by building on five psychological drivers of wellbeing: certainty, competence, autonomy, belonging, and purpose.
  • This preventative strategy aims to address the root causes of stress and burnout instead of merely treating symptoms.
  • Wellworking promises to be more effective than existing programs by offering tailored solutions and focusing on what companies can directly control: the work environment.
  • Investing in a healthy work culture benefits both employees and businesses, especially in the face of changing work attitudes and the potential of AI.

Read the full article on Forbes

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