Improved Work Engagement is Associated with Mindfulness

Improved Work Engagement is Associated with Mindfulness


By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.


mindfulness exerts its positive effect on work engagement by increasing positive affect, hope, and optimism, which on their own and in combination enhance work engagement.” – Peter Malinowski


Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. But, more than half of employees in the U.S. and nearly 2/3 worldwide are unhappy at work. This is partially due to work-related stress which is epidemic in the western workplace. Almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. This stress can result in impaired health and can result in burnout; producing fatigue, cynicism, and professional inefficacy.


To help overcome unhappiness, stress, and burnoutmindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace. Indeed, mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. As a result, it has become very trendy for business to incorporate meditation into the workday to help improve employee well-being, health, and productivity. It seems reasonable that mindfulness would be associated with greater engagement in work.


In today’s Research News article “The Influence of Individual and Team Mindfulness on Work Engagement.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at:, Liu and colleagues recruited employees of service companies and had them complete questionnaires at 3 different occasions. First, they completed measures of mindfulness, recovery, and work engagement. Three months later they completed measures of team mindfulness and recovery level. Three months later they completed a measure of work engagement. Recovery is the degree to which the individual recovers from stress or boredom.


They found significant relationships such that the higher the level of individual mindfulness the higher the levels of team mindfulness, recovery, and work engagement, and the higher the levels of recovery the higher the levels of work engagement. A confirmatory factor analysis revealed that mindfulness was directly related to higher levels of work engagement. Mindfulness was also indirectly related with work engagement via recovery such that mindfulness was related to higher levels of recovery which was in turn related to higher levels of work engagement.


The study did not manipulate mindfulness or recovery, so causation cannot be absolutely determined. But the results suggest an important role for mindfulness in the workplace. Work engagement is important for employee performance. Hence, the present results suggest that mindfulness is important for this performance. It is so by being directly related and also by being related to recovery which then is related to work engagement.


Mindfulness practices have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This would allow for rapid recovery from the stress. Mindfulness appears to promote the ability to bounce back from stress and boredom and that this skill facilitates engagement in work. This suggests that that a mindful employee is a less stressed, better employee.


So, improved work engagement is associated with mindfulness.


Better employee engagement is only one of the benefits of practicing mindfulness in the workplace. The additional advantages you can expect from it are the following: Better employee retention: Workers are less inclined to look for another job as mindfulness helps lower their emotional exhaustion at work. Better health of employees results in lower incidences of absences and healthcare costs. Better productivity¾because employees are happier and healthier!” –  Cheryl Chandola


CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies


This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ and on Twitter @MindfulResearch


Study Summary


Liu S, Xin H, Shen L, He J and Liu J (2020) The Influence of Individual and Team Mindfulness on Work Engagement. Front. Psychol. 10:2928. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02928


Mindfulness metacognitive practice that can be performed in the workplace. Drawing on the theory of conservation of resources, we test a moderated mediating model of how and when employee mindfulness has a positive effect on work engagement. Via analysis of data from 311 employees from 83 teams at different times, this study investigates the relationship between employee mindfulness and work engagement as well as the moderating effect of team mindfulness and the mediating effect of recovery level. The results from this multi-wave field study show that the mindfulness of the individual employee has a positive influence on work engagement and that recovery level plays a mediating role. Team mindfulness positively moderates the relationship between individual mindfulness and work engagement. This conclusion may bridge the relationship between mindfulness and work engagement theory.


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