Mindfulness…everyone seems to be talking about it, and it’s a word that can create mixed feelings. While some see it as a New Age, trendy but useless concept, others believe firmly in its ability to create happier and more productive employees and leaders.
Over the past few years, Google, Intel, Adobe, Apple, LinkedIn, Goldman Sachs, the NHS have brought mindfulness and meditation to the workplace. In our fast-paced, high-tech world, it seems companies are increasingly turning to mindfulness to help employees cope with the growing stresses and pressures surrounding them.
It’s no secret that each and every employee is unique. We all approach and execute work in our own way. So why does so much of the management advice out there lump employees together?
It’s a subject sometimes tinged with fear and uncertainty, but nonetheless a hot topic of discussion in all industries at the moment…that being the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace and its implications on existing workforce.
I don’t know about you, but now’s the time that I begin to research my summer reading list. It’s an annual task that I really look forward to doing, and throughout the year I’m forever adding books to my ‘want to read’ list on Goodreads. Primarily I listen to the recommendations of like-minded friends and peers within the industry, but I also like to keep track of literary awards and take note of books that have been well reviewed. Bill Gates’ reading list, for example, is a continual source of reading inspiration, and particularly when I’m looking for non-fiction or business suggestions.
You know the feeling. It’s 3pm on a Tuesday and you’re already yearning for Friday. You’re stressed, overtired – and there’s only so much a cup of coffee can do. You can’t seem to turn off your ‘work brain’ when you leave the office, but you can’t focus during the day.
In his 2008 book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness,” for a person to become very good at something. Quick calculations of my own reveal it would be highly possible for an individual to attend 10,000 meetings throughout the course of their career (based on starting work at 18 and retiring at 65), averaging at slightly less than one meeting a day. So in theory, by the age of 65, we could have become world-class meeting experts!
Goldman Sachs made headlines recently for a two-day technology conference in London it was organising where 76 people were scheduled to speak, but just five of them were women. Of the five women speaking, only three of them were Goldman Sachs employees, one of which was drafted in at short notice to replace a male speaker. The gender disparity was quite shocking, particularly within a business that runs a 10,000 Women program, which invests in and trains female entrepreneurs.
There’s a growing backlash against structuring companies using a management hierarchy. They’re slow, rigid and at their worst, de-humanising. But the alternatives can be unhelpfully chaotic and lead to death by consensus or the watering down of a single ambitious vision.