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Mindfulness in the Workplace

April 21, 2014

Mindfulness is a hot topic in psychology, spirituality, and wellness.  In recent years there have been a number of research studies evaluating the impact of mindfulness in the workplace. In the January 2014 edition of Human Relations Journal, Drs. Bradley Brumme and Erik Dane look at the role of mindfulness in the workplace, and specifically the relationship between mindfulness and job performance.  Mindfulness is a dispositional trait, but it can be improved through practice.  Although there are many different types of mindfulness practice, the consideration of mindfulness in the workplace often looks at the potential benefits of having employees be able to focus on tasks, avoiding distractions and mind wandering.  The authors of the study are very cognizant of the fact that certain types of positions are more amenable to performance improvement resulting from improved focus, whereas in other occupations there might be equal benefit in being open to mind-wandering.  Some problems can be solved by increased concentration and focus.  Certain problems – those which require innovative, creative, and collaborative thinking - might benefit from some productive mind-wandering and reflection.

Viewpoint: In practice, I think that most jobs require times when it is important to be able to focus and avoid distractions, and times when you need to free yourself from concentration and just let the ideas flow.  Also, people are unique in their approach to creativity.  Many creative writers and artists need the formal structure of fixed working hours and work locations.  Others find formality and attempts at concentration are a barrier to creativity.  Mindfulness training for employees can be a valuable offering in organizations.  However, supervisors should not assume that it will improve job performance for everyone.


Brumme, B.J. & Dane, E. (2014). Examining workplace mindfulness and its relations to job performance and turnover intention. Human Relations Journal, 67(1).

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