Workplace mindfulness training programs can help workers manage stress and improve memory and focus. Training can be delivered in a number of ways including in-person and online, and according to a 2016 study by the National Business Group on Health and Fidelity Investments, 22 percent of companies have mindfulness training programs. Plus, 21 percent of them are considering adding one in 2017.

Companies want to improve productivity and performance. They also want to lower healthcare costs and absenteeism. But David Brendel wrote in the Harvard Business Review that companies should proceed with caution as they consider mindfulness training. “At times, it appears that we are witnessing the development of a ‘cult of mindfulness’ that, if not appropriately recognized and moderated, may result in an unfortunate backlash against it,” Brendel wrote.

Avoidance risk is a possibility if mindfulness training isn’t handled properly, as is the risk of groupthink.

Some people have used mindfulness strategies to avoid looking rationally at work challenges. In other cases, Brendel wrote that people made the training too regimented, too guided, or it was required, which induces stress and bad feelings rather than alleviating them. Instead, mindfulness practices need to be presented as one of many options people can choose to help them cope with stress, think effectively, make sound decisions and achieve fulfillment.

Burton said companies that are seriously thinking about mindfulness programming should keep in mind that the training should be nonspiritual, nonreligious as well as delivered by an expert with appropriate credentials who has spent time working inside corporations.

Source: Bravetta Hassellis a Chief Learning Officer associate editor.