Mindfulness, Mindlessness, and Work

While mindfulness was originally developed as an individual concept, it has been transferred to the organisational level in the context of research into performance in organisations. Below, the author outlines how mindfulness can be beneficial in the work environment and in the organisational context.

Mindlessness at work has become a global touchstone of mockery, and entertainers have enchanted audiences worldwide with comedies featuring mindless managers (including ‘The Office; or ‘Office Space’). Steve Carrell, playing the role of Michael Scott as Regional Manager of a Dunder-Mifflin branch in Scranton, PA epitomises mindless behavior, which is characterised by a reliance on old, often outdated categories and a reduced awareness of one’s social and physical world. While some argue that mindlessness is a necessity in the work environment, a closer examination reveals that mindlessness is rarely, if ever, beneficial because it closes us off to possibility, freezes our responses, and prevents needed change.1,2

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