The state of mind of most Americans is in dire need an overhaul.

From kids at school to the mid-level executive – most Americans are not content. We are expected to conduct our lives like machines, with a steady increase of stress and work to no end. Yet our best performance comes with an ebb and flow of high intensity with rest and relaxation. Just like how the Olympics train.

When we give adequate time to integrating and recharging, the positive effect is systemic. Performance increases, focus is enhanced, health improves, mood lifts and on and on. Without a focus on wellbeing in our systems feel the lack of engagement: test scores suffer, employee performance dips and the integrity of our collective society degregates.

By making self-awareness training and emotional intelligence part of company culture the new norm will go from average to triumphant.

Imagine the fervor of kids getting out of school on their last day of the year. Or the feeling of adults on the first day of their much anticipated vacation. Even Serena Williams preparing to walk out for her next tournament. How can we as leaders, employers, and community organizers tap into this level of focus, raw energy, and in turn, activate human potential? There’s a way to not only fuel the bottom line, but inspire and heal our workforce. By creating spaces, systems and a culture that allows for the person to be well cared for on terms that work for them we begin to see changes that can sustain. Initiatives that include resting stations, a Chief of Energy, and Mindfulness trainings will all be a common very soon.

The Harvard Business Review and Steelcase partnered in a study to evaluate engagement at work.

The numbers are devastating. The study found that only 7% of staff members are satisfied at a core level, 59% found no core needs being met while at work. Core needs are classified as the following: Physical, Mental, Emotional and Spiritual.

  • Physical: Staff who took breaks saw a 40% increase in creativity.
  • Emotional: Feeling satisfaction with one’s job is associated with 125% greater engagement.
  • Mental: The highest level of focus on the job is associated with 29% greater engagement.
  • Spiritual: Those who draw a higher level of meaning from work experience 93% greater engagement.
  • Steelcase’s CEO, Tony Schwartz comments,  “Here’s the conundrum: how people perform is inextricably connected to how they feel, but interior life remains terra incognita in most companies. The unspoken expectation is that employees will set aside their needs in order to get their work done.” And the problem is that people are not machines, they need time to rest, time to think and as we take care of our staff they take care of their work and ultimately the business.

There’s a revolution underway. Fortune 500 companies are jumping on the mindfulness bandwagon in droves: Google, Adobe, Facebook, Blackrock, and Hubspot have all launched wellness initiatives.  Retaining top talent is not going to get any easier in the future, and these companies know this. Employees are beginning to demand a company culture that aligns with their core values to feel truly engaged during the work hours. It’s now part of the equation.

Aetna recently launched a study to observe the effect of a wellness program they developed for 49,000 employees.

What they found was an increase in productivity of each member who enrolled, each gaining 63 minutes of productivity a week, leading to $3,000 in production per employee, per year.

Across the board, workers who are focused on their wellbeing stay out of the hospital, have less doctor visits, request less time off and do not call in sick to work as much as those who are not in a culture that supports wellness and health.

Reach out to Megan for more information on bringing wellness to your company.