Goodness Good For Business – If You Don’t Believe Me, Google It

Richer focus - Staff from Fraser Wealth Management take part in a Mindfulness session. The organisation says it helped improve productivity
Nicola Forshaw is the owner of Mindfit, a health & wellbeing practice based in Liverpool city centre. Nicola is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, a member of the British Institute of Hypnotherapy and an accredited Mindfulness trainer. Nicola has taught Mindfulness to individuals, schools and companies across Liverpool and is passionate about improving wellbeing. Nicola@mind-fit.co.uk
Nicola Forshaw is the owner of Mindfit, a health & wellbeing practice based in Liverpool city centre. Nicola is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, a member of the British Institute of Hypnotherapy and an accredited Mindfulness trainer. Nicola has taught Mindfulness to individuals, schools and companies across Liverpool and is passionate about improving wellbeing.
Nicola@mind-fit.co.uk
MENTAL ill health is costing UK employers £9 billion a year. Since 2009 the number of sick days lost to stress, depression and anxiety has increased by 24% accounting for 70 million sick days per year. For many of us work is a major aspect of our lives – and with that often comes responsibility and pressure to do well whether you are an employee or an employer.  In recent years many companies have started to introduce Mindfulness training to help staff cope with the increasing demands of 21st century working and living. Mindfulness is the practice of consciously living in the present moment, developing awareness of your thoughts, emotions and body sensations. This awareness is key, as it creates choice that can lead to us making wiser decisions and help us to respond skilfully to day-to-day stress or challenges. High profile global companies such as Google have publicised their extensive commitment and promotion of Mindfulness due to the proven benefits such as enhancing focus, lowering stress levels and improving happiness. It is possible to say that Chade Meng Tan, Googles Head of Mindfulness has revolutionized the culture at Google with thousands of people enrolling on his ‘Search Inside Yourself’ course.  He has even managed to change the mind of all the scientists at Google – who now embrace mindfulness too! The Search Inside Yourself approach is today considered as one of the reasons why Google is the highest rated employer in the world. Research in disciplines such as psychology, neuroscience, and medicine also show that Mindfulness improves attention, cognition, emotions, behaviour, and physiology. Not only that but Mindfulness has been found to improve our stability, our efficiency and improve relationships due to greater empathy and compassion, suggesting Mindfulness training could enhance workplace processes that rely on effective leadership and teamwork. In the UK, Transport for London offered a 6-week Stress Reduction Workshop using Mindfulness techniques, open to any of its 20,000 employees. Alison Dunn Head of Treatments Services at TfL said “The workshops marked a real change in direction for us as they offered people life skills rather than a quick fix” After the 3-year programme was finished, research showed that the investment paid dividends, reporting:
  • 71% drop in stress related absenteeism
  • 50% drop in absenteeism for all conditions
  • 80% reported improved relationships
  • 79% improved ability to relax
  • 64% improved sleep patterns
  • 53% improvement in happiness at work
In Liverpool, lots of companies are already keen to take a lead on this, ranging from a diverse spectrum of businesses including legal firms, accountants, public sector, schools and social enterprises. I am hoping Liverpool can be one of the first cities in the UK to kick start this Mindfulness Revolution that is surely on its way! Here are just a few case studies Fraser Wealth Management FWM’s whole team took part in an 8-week Mindfulness programme. Staff came off site for an early start 2-hour weekly session. Iain Mackie, Managing Director at FWM said “At Fraser Wealth Management we hold regular meetings with two agenda items – ‘what can we do better for clients?’ and ‘what can we do better for staff?’. Mindfulness ticked both boxes for us. Mindfit has helped our staff improve their mental and physical well-being so they can become more focused and productive at work, which enables us to provide an even better service to our clients. The 8-week course has also helped bring our staff closer together and encouraged working effectively as a team” Merseytravel/Merseyrail Merseytravel and Merseyrail teamed together to offer a joint Half Day Introduction to Mindfulness session for 25 staff who came from a cross section of departments with the aim of improving mental wellbeing & resilience. Sally Prince, Senior HR Advisor at Merseyrail said “I found the session inspirational, it was delivered in such a calm gentle way that I was really drawn to the teachings. As a full time working mum I have been using the techniques on a daily basis and feel this has really supported me. If you get the opportunity to do this half day course I would highly recommend it” Most employees want to do their best and most companies want to value and support their staff. It’s no surprise to see that Mindfulness is very well received by businesses of all shapes and sizes and is a new but expanding field with so much to offer the corporate world. As Chade Menge Tan says “Goodness is good for business!” Why we must mind those children Standard Assessment Tests (Sats) for hundreds of thousands of children in England have just finished this month to the relief of parents, teachers and children. Sats measure how children in year 2 and 6 are doing in primary school, but many parents and teachers are now calling for change saying that (Sats) are becoming too difficult and put unnecessary pressure on children. Most children questioned said they feel under pressure to do well in their tests and some said they are stressed, worried or moody in the run up to exams. In a survey for Newsround by ComRes, 87% of children aged 10 and 11 said they feel pressure to do well in their Sats. 59% said they were nervous or anxious before tests 39% were worried 27% felt stress 17% felt sad or moody 16% didn’t sleep well The Department of Education argue that these tests are a necessity for improvements but already so many children are being turned off school at a very young age. So it’s really important that we balance out the pressures by providing children with tools that they can use to help them cope mentally and emotionally. There is a rapidly growing body of research now available that suggests Mindfulness interventions at schools is well worth doing. The weight of evidence shows that; Mindfulness for young people is easy to carry out, it fits into a wide range of contexts, it is enjoyed by both students and teachers, and does no harm. The research also concluded that well conducted mindfulness interventions led by experienced teachers can improve the mental, emotional, social and physical health and wellbeing of young people who take part and was shown to reduce stress, anxiety, reactivity and bad behaviour, improve sleep and self-esteem, and bring about greater calmness, relaxation, the ability to manage behaviour and emotions, self-awareness and empathy and well as improving attention and executive function. In questionnaire completed by a group of 6th form students at Notre Dame High School after recently completing a 10 week course in Mindfulness I asked: In the future, how likely you are you to use any of the techniques you have learned? 90% of students said Very Likely. Sats and exams seem inevitable but if we can offer our children tools to cope they may be more forgiving of all the tests!