New Member Promotion >>> Save $15 and get a SHRM tote!
Giving applicants with criminal backgrounds a fair chance at employment can be good for business.
Plus all the HR resources you need to be more efficient and effective this fall!
Apply for the SHRM Certification Exam and begin advancing your career.
Learn how to make the business case for diversity, October 25-27.
By Rasmus Hougaard, Jacqueline Carter & Gillian Coutts
We are facing a productivity crisis. Global economic indicators suggest that people in Westernized countries are working more hours and producing less. This should be of concern to every human resource professional.
Although there are many reasons for this alarming trend, one of the biggest factors is that people are distracted and unfocused at work, an issue we explore in our book One Second Ahead (Palgrave, 2015). Too many employees spend too much time doing lots of things, but not necessarily activities that generate results.
At the root of this busyness are minds that are under too much pressure and that have too much information and too many distractions. If you aren’t sure if this applies to you, try this short exercise:
Set an alarm for one minute and close your eyes. Pick a thought and try to think about only that one thought and nothing else until the time is up. After one minute, take a moment to reflect. Was it easy to stay focused on one thing? Did you find that lots of other thoughts kept intruding? What else did you notice about your mind? Is it calm and clear? Is it agitated and cluttered?
Based on our experience, many people find that in taking a moment to observe their mind, they see the source of their busyness. They notice just how many thoughts fill up their mind and how difficult it is to maintain focus and clarity. Many of us have gotten so used to walking around with minds that are “full” that we think it’s normal.
But there is another option.
Recent scientific research has demonstrated that ancient mindfulness techniques skillfully taught can help us be more focused and clearheaded. Studies indicate that by practicing mindfulness for as little as 10 minutes a day, people can enhance performance, improve creativity, sleep better, reduce stress and achieve other benefits.
But for all the hype around mindfulness, it is still not mainstream in today’s fast-paced, complex, always-on, demanding workplaces. Our solution to this challenge is to make mindfulness not just something nice that people can do on their own to enhance health and well-being—which is good and great—but to bring it into everyday work life. If we want to change the way we operate at work, it is a lot easier when we get everyone on board and when being mindful becomes part of the culture.
Rather than focus just on individuals, our focus is also on the organization. We believe that if organizations are more focused, clear and calm, it is good for individuals as well as for the bottom line.
If it sounds utopian, it is not. In our work with leading organizations such as Accenture, Microsoft and IKEA, to name a few, they are seeing the benefits of corporate mindfulness from both an individual and an organizational perspective. These companies are introducing mindfulness not just as something nice for their employees but rather as a strategic initiative to enhance performance and well-being.
Corporate mindfulness doesn’t have to be something else employees need to do. It can be integrated into daily activities at work and at home, enriching both individuals and organizations.
on Twitter, is the founder and managing director of The Potential Project International, a leading global provider of corporate-based mindfulness solutions operating in 20 countries.
on Twitter, is a partner and director, North America, for The Potential Project International.
on Twitter, is a partner for The Potential Project Australia.
HR Magazine's Book Reviews keep you up to date on
must-read titles related to HR and other business topics through weekly book reviews,
author posts and recommendations. Looking for a good read? Visit the SHRMStore, our online bookstore, for a wide
selection of HR books from multiple authors and disciplines, or sign up for a weekly e-newsletter, which highlights new titles and
For more information on how to contribute to the reviews, view our author
View SHRM Books that support HR Behavioral Competencies
Discuss your favorite HR book on SHRM Connect in the SHRM Book Group.
You can also
interact with the SHRM editorial staff and learn about SHRM editorial and publishing
operations at the SHRM Publishing and E-Media Group on
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Your session has expired. Please log in again before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Choose from dozens of free webcasts on the most timely HR topics.
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 3,200 companies