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Mindfulness training and employee well-being

Nadine Joelle Mellor (Work Psychology, Health and Safety Laboratory, Buxton, UK)
Leanne Ingram (Institute of Work Psychology, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
Marc Van Huizen (Institute of Work Psychology, The University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)
John Arnold (Institute of Work Psychology, Sheffield University Management School, Sheffield, United Kingdom)
Anne-Helen Harding (Work Psychology, Health and Safety Laboratory, Buxton, UK)

International Journal of Workplace Health Management

ISSN: 1753-8351

Article publication date: 13 June 2016

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to assess the effects of mindfulness training (MT) on employee well-being. Mindfulness is the awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, sensations, actions and surroundings in the present moment.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used pre-post training measures and a four-week follow-up on a sample of 23 employees from a UK-based organization. The MT group (n=12) received a weekly two-hour training over eight weeks whilst the control group (n=11) received no training. Qualitative interviews (n=36) were conducted with the MT group at three time points to further assess the subjective experiences of training participants.

Findings

Compared to the control group, the MT group significantly increased their mindfulness skills including observing and acting with awareness. Scores on well-being, i.e. satisfaction with life, hope and anxiety also improved and were generally maintained at follow-up. Some improvements were seen in the control group too but there was a larger difference in change scores in the MT group on most variables. Qualitative data show additional benefits of MT such as improved concentration at work and better interpersonal relationships. More practice at home led to greater benefits suggesting a dose-response relationship between the amount of practice and substantial benefits.

Research limitations/implications

Inviting participants to have a greater amount of practice between sessions may further increase the benefits of mindfulness. Future research should consider a longer follow-up period to further explore the sustainability of the training benefits.

Originality/value

Employing a mixed-method approach, this study showed that MT is a viable psychological intervention for enhancing employee well-being.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

© 2016 Crown Copyright. This article is published with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s printer for Scotland.

Citation

Mellor, N.J., Ingram, L., Van Huizen, M., Arnold, J. and Harding, A.-H. (2016), "Mindfulness training and employee well-being", International Journal of Workplace Health Management, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 126-145. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJWHM-11-2014-0049

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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