The Most Surprising Way To Increase Employee Wellbeing And Productivity (That Costs Almost Nothing)

Original article by, by Vanessa Loder, March 25, 2015

The old paradigm of leadership viewing employees as objects to maximize, with long, grueling schedules and few breaks is shifting. Now, effective leadership recognizes that employees, as human capital, are the company’s most valuable asset and deserve the treatment associated with that title. There is a new movement afoot to improve employee well-being, and for those entrepreneurs and earlier stage companies that don’t have the budget to compete with a company like Google on employee perks, you’ll be pleased to hear there is a resource that is, aside from the expense of hiring teachers, entirely free and available to anyone. What is it? Meditation and mindfulness.

This movement is transforming the way we live and how we lead our organizations. David Gelles, a business reporter for the New York Times has been practicing meditation for 15 years, including a stint in India at Bodh Gaya. In his new book Mindful Work, he offers a unique perspective on the intersection of mindfulness and work.

I recently interviewed David about his book and asked him what he had discovered to be the most compelling case for mindfulness. He told me about a program that Aetna implemented with hundreds of thousands of their employees to introduce a mindfulness and gentle yoga practice.

After 10 weeks, the self-reported stress levels went down for these employees, and; perhaps even more fascinating, biometric measurements like heart rate and cortisol went down too, demonstrating that the effects weren’t merely psychosomatic. Other benefits reported include improved sleep quality, reduced pain levels, and higher productivity.


Aetna has saved about $2,000 per employee in healthcare costs, and gained about $3,000 per employee in productivity with the implementation of this single program.


In his book, David interviews employees at companies like General Mills, Green Mountain Coffee, Google, Ford, and LinkedIn and shows how these organizations have implemented mindfulness practices among their employees from the factory floor to the executive suite. Gelles even discusses some of the earliest and most surprising adopters of mindfulness in the US from Henry David Thoreau to Monsanto. David does an excellent job of synthesizing much of the research to date showing that mindfulness lowers stress, increases focus, enhances compassion, and even alleviates depression among workers.

Tipping Point

Gelles believes we are at a tipping point where companies are recognizing there is a real appetite for mindfulness at work. He believes mindfulness is going mainstream for three main reasons:

1. Research.

Over the last few decades, a real body of research has become available proving that mindfulness meditation engenders real lasting benefits to our brains and bodies. These studies are coming out of major research institutions across the country, providing a validity that is convincing to even the most mainstream and skeptical of managers and Human Resources departments.

2. Top Leadership Endorsement (Not just for “woo woo” hippies anymore).

At the same time, David shared, “we’ve seen a gradual realization in the business world that it’s ok to meditate.” Because mindfulness can be viewed as separate from religion, much of the negative stigma around it being too “woo woo” is starting to fall away. As Arianna Huffington likes to say, “2013 is the year top CEOs came out of the closet…as meditators.”

With highly successful business leaders including Steve Jobs, Jeff Weiner, Bill Ford, Larry Brilliant, Oprah Winfrey, and Ray Dalio advocating for mindfulness, it’s hard to ignore; “Meditation more than anything in my life was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had,” said Ray Dalio, the billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates – the world’s largest hedge fund firm - in 2012.

3. Technology And Multi-Tasking.

The third reason David believes mindfulness has gone mainstream is because our days are so jam packed, the velocity of our work days always increasing, and digital inputs surrounding us 24/7, that a small taste of mindfulness – to be in the present moment – is really welcome.

Whatever the reasons, with mindfulness on the cover of Time Magazine, and top CEOs touting the benefits, it is clear there is a movement afoot. The advantages of implementing a mindfulness practice at work are significant, everything from improving productivity, to lowering stress and increasing focus, and the risks are negligible.

Write a comment

Comments: 33
  • #1

    Mia Chabolla (Friday, 03 February 2017 17:18)

    I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your website. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Outstanding work!

  • #2

    Cyndy Maly (Friday, 03 February 2017 20:01)

    It's really a nice and useful piece of info. I am happy that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • #3

    Willette Lemaster (Saturday, 04 February 2017 10:30)

    Hurrah, that's what I was searching for, what a material! present here at this weblog, thanks admin of this website.

  • #4

    Rosio Walworth (Sunday, 05 February 2017 00:10)

    Excellent article. Keep writing such kind of information on your site. Im really impressed by it.
    Hi there, You've performed an incredible job. I will certainly digg it and for my part suggest to my friends. I am confident they'll be benefited from this web site.

  • #5

    Teofila Henegar (Sunday, 05 February 2017 00:48)

    Hello! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any problems with hackers? My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no data backup. Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  • #6

    Reynalda Billiot (Sunday, 05 February 2017 11:03)

    Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us have created some nice methods and we are looking to swap strategies with others, please shoot me an email if interested.

  • #7

    Marchelle Steve (Sunday, 05 February 2017 12:28)

    Thanks very interesting blog!

  • #8

    Major Duhart (Sunday, 05 February 2017 14:37)

    My spouse and I stumbled over here different web page and thought I may as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to going over your web page repeatedly.

  • #9

    Tami Caruso (Sunday, 05 February 2017 15:23)

    I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts on this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this website. Reading this info So i am happy to express that I have a very just right uncanny feeling I found out exactly what I needed. I so much indubitably will make sure to don?t fail to remember this web site and give it a look on a constant basis.

  • #10

    Belkis Dudek (Sunday, 05 February 2017 23:10)

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus i came to �return the favor�.I'm trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  • #11

    Damon Trueblood (Monday, 06 February 2017 00:34)

    I am really impressed together with your writing skills as well as with the layout to your blog. Is that this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way stay up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to see a nice weblog like this one these days..

  • #12

    Kimberly Hirano (Monday, 06 February 2017 06:47)

    I have been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or weblog posts in this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this website. Reading this information So i am happy to express that I have an incredibly good uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed. I most surely will make certain to don?t disregard this site and provides it a glance regularly.

  • #13

    Antonina Gongora (Monday, 06 February 2017 07:48)

    Hey there! I've been following your website for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Porter Texas! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

  • #14

    Analisa Ogilvie (Monday, 06 February 2017 10:35)

    What's Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively helpful and it has helped me out loads. I'm hoping to contribute & assist other customers like its aided me. Great job.

  • #15

    Jenise Linsley (Tuesday, 07 February 2017 00:28)

    If you wish for to take a great deal from this post then you have to apply such strategies to your won website.

  • #16

    Theola Bower (Tuesday, 07 February 2017 03:45)

    Hello there! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

  • #17

    Antonina Gongora (Tuesday, 07 February 2017 06:17)

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Best wishes! Where are your contact details though?

  • #18

    Monnie Schrom (Tuesday, 07 February 2017 06:26)

    Link exchange is nothing else except it is only placing the other person's blog link on your page at proper place and other person will also do same in favor of you.

  • #19

    Rebbecca Titcomb (Tuesday, 07 February 2017 12:56)

    This is a great tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere. Short but very precise information� Thank you for sharing this one. A must read post!

  • #20

    Coy Kovacich (Tuesday, 07 February 2017 19:01)

    We're a bunch of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with helpful info to work on. You've performed a formidable job and our entire community will likely be grateful to you.

  • #21

    Coy Kovacich (Tuesday, 07 February 2017 19:22)

    Everything is very open with a clear explanation of the challenges. It was really informative. Your website is useful. Thanks for sharing!

  • #22

    Arica Ocegueda (Wednesday, 08 February 2017 12:22)

    Hurrah! At last I got a webpage from where I know how to genuinely obtain helpful data regarding my study and knowledge.

  • #23

    Cornelia Porco (Wednesday, 08 February 2017 15:09)

    Howdy would you mind letting me know which webhost you're utilizing? I've loaded your blog in 3 different web browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most. Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a honest price? Many thanks, I appreciate it!

  • #24

    Clint Isaac (Wednesday, 08 February 2017 22:09)

    I am really enjoying the theme/design of your web site. Do you ever run into any browser compatibility problems? A number of my blog visitors have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do you have any suggestions to help fix this issue?

  • #25

    Fallon Alcina (Wednesday, 08 February 2017 23:23)

    This is a topic which is near to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?

  • #26

    Christina Caskey (Thursday, 09 February 2017 05:25)

    Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I've really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. After all I'll be subscribing in your rss feed and I am hoping you write again very soon!

  • #27

    Ela Foree (Thursday, 09 February 2017 07:20)

    Hello! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to check it out. I'm definitely loving the information. I'm bookmarking and will be tweeting this to my followers! Terrific blog and great design and style.

  • #28

    Garnet Packard (Thursday, 09 February 2017 13:42)

    Hi, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to �return the favor�.I am attempting to find things to enhance my site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!

  • #29

    Joie Hinman (Thursday, 09 February 2017 15:19)

    Thanks for finally writing about > %blog_title% < Liked it!

  • #30

    Charleen Stainbrook (Thursday, 09 February 2017 21:53)

    I visited many sites but the audio feature for audio songs current at this web site is really wonderful.

  • #31 (Saturday, 16 November 2019 22:51)

    I simply need to make reference to I'm new to blogging and webpage building and genuinely relished you're blog website. Very likely I'm going to bookmark your site . You unquestionably have staggering articles and audits. Favor you for sharing your blog webpage.

  • #32 (Sunday, 17 November 2019 00:12)

    Everything is extremely open with a truly clear portrayal of the difficulties.
    It was genuinely educational. Your site is useful.
    Much thanks to you for sharing!

  • #33

    smart automation (Saturday, 30 November 2019 08:27)

    I enjoy you because of all of your effort on this website.All of us hear all relating to the medium you give simple tips on your web blog.