Research Project

WorkingMIND – “Resilience, Work Satisfaction and collaboration in working life”

Cooperation project of Kalapa Leadership Academy and University of Applied Sciences Coburg  / University of Munich GRP Institute

Background

Working life in many companies is hectic, marked by continual sensory overload and relentless pressure. The pace is extremely high, and as a consequence stress has become a way of life. As a result of this, the number of sick days caused by stress or psychological illness has risen rapidly, with associated high costs for companies. Even “healthy” employees feel the permanent pressure and as a result of this, experience declines in their job satisfaction, their creativity and their resilience and openness to new learning.

Insights from neurophysiological research and the experience of a number of innovative companies, including Google, that have experimented with new approaches, indicate that new ways of reducing stress and helping strengthen their resilience, job satisfaction and collaboration are emerging. A central aspect of these approaches is mindfulness training – a method that has already established itself firmly in the fields of mental health, recovery and burnout prevention. A number of companies have established mindfulness as a central element of their leadership culture. We are convinced that these methods, which have already been proven to be effective in over 3000 research papers, can make a very positive contribution to working life.
Goals of the research project are to examine the impact of mindfulness methods on employees and managers in the workplace.

Mindfulness is currently the focus of a lot of neurophysiological research. Over 3500 studies have examined the impact of mindfulness on different aspects of life, and the results have been very positive.

Previous research on the effectiveness of mindfulness in the workplace has yielded the following results:

  • Significant reduction in perceived stress, improvements in the functioning of the immune system, strengthening of resilience and reduced sick days
  • Clearer focus and improved concentration during work
  • Improvement in the ability to remain calm and clear in stressful times
  • Significantly improved relations in teams
  • More acceptance of the working situation and increased work satisfaction

Project scope

In 2013 and 2014 over 20 companies took part in this project.

Participating companies identify 15-30 employees that would like to be trained in mindfulness methods, over a time period of 10 weeks. Most of this training will be delivered on site, in the companies.

The training consists of:

  • A kick-off event (onsite, at the company)
  • One full training day (offsite)
  • 8 training units each of 2 to 2 ½ hours (onsite) over the course of 2 months
  • One final day (offsite)
  • During the training each participant is encouraged/required to practice mindfulness practices at least 10 minutes each day and to record their practice

Further details to the contents of the training are available here under the WorkingMIND training.

Project evaluation

The project was supervised and evaluated by Prof Kohls of the GRP Institute / University of Munich and University of Applied Sciences Coburg.

The following were assessed:

  • Core components – Cognitive tests (Attention Network Test) and self-assessments based on validated question sets (PSQ, Tedium Measure etc) coupled with the tracking of one’s personal practice through a Smartphone App
  • Biochemical stress parameters – detailed medical assessments based on validated bio-markers including cortisol, heart rate variability assessment and even telomer length assessment. This is executed by our partners Mednetwork

The results of the project were presented at the Mindfulness Forum in October 2014 in Bensberg near Cologne.

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