In 2015, an article with a provocative title was posted on the Harvard Business Review. It was called ‘The Busier You Are, the More You Need Mindfulness‘. The authors were making a case that our calculus for risk and strategy at work was wrong. They pointed out that companies are willing to take financial risks amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars whilst remaining reluctant to take the risk of having their teams take a few minutes off per day to hone their attention skills.
More than a quarter of Aetna’s 50,000 employees have taken part. Mindfulness scores increased as expected, but incredibly, on average, stress levels dropped by 28%, reported sleep quality improved 20%, and pain dropped by 19%. Aetna also calculated the savings to the company, finding that, on average, mindfulness participants gained 62 minutes of productivity a week, which is an estimated $3,000-per-employee increase in productivity for the company each year. Individuals in the top 20% of stress rankings have nearly $2,000 more in medical costs for the preceding year, so this intervention could create significant medical savings. Based on Aetna’s experience, that’s potentially a $5,000 average swing per employee….