Lifestyle

Mindfulness at Work in Schneider Electric: Self-Care and Optimal Performance

At Schneider Electric, cultivating a corporate culture of high-performance is key for all levels of the organization. The ambition of creating a culture of high-performance that employees experience and exemplify in a consistent and sustainable manner is inextricably tied to, and supported by, our Well-Being internal company campaign, which focuses on the physical, mental, emotional, and social dimensions of wellness.

As someone who in the past practiced Zen meditation daily for years and has recently re-committed to a daily practice, I was pleased to see the teaching of mindfulness as part of the well-being and high-performance agendas, and that Schneider Electricunderstands the value of incorporating a contemplative or meditative practice into one’s daily life, not just to improve performance, concentration, decision-making, and productivity, but to support optimal stress/emotional management and self-care. Our Schneider Electric internal page on well-being defines the Mindfulness at Work initiative as “(…) being focused in the present moment and aware of thoughts, feelings, emotions, observing and accepting them without judgment. Mindfulness is living the moment instead of letting life pass by, and experiencing more clarity in the moment.”

I recently attended a Mindfulness Discovery Training webinar that gave a basic introduction to mindfulness and served as the starting point for employees to check out the complementary Mindfulness Labs, the bi-weekly Global Guided Mindfulness Practice Sessions, and the selection of videos and reading material on mindfulness. The articles included research done on the subject, which detailed the benefits of mindfulness in terms of concentration, stress-reduction, and emotional regulation that result from a regular practice. Other available resources were the mindfulness app suggestions and the booklets: “Mindfulness Rituals for Daily Life at Work and at Home,” and “Mindfulness Tools & Techniques.” As I reviewed the material, I was pleased to see that Schneider Electric explicitly promotes practicing meditation, whether it be mindfulness or another kind of meditative practice.

Considering that the teaching of mindfulness is presented within the framework of a Well-Being Campaign that is tied to a culture of high-performance, the purpose of teaching mindfulness within said framework is clearly its practical results. As the description of the webinar highlighted, research has shown that mindfulness meditation can increase resilience, employee satisfaction, concentration, social and emotional intelligence, as well as improve team collaboration.

In a fast-paced and demanding work environment such as that of Schneider Electric, it is evidently of great benefit to practice mindfulness and/or another kind of meditation for purposes of cultivating health and well-being. Employees are encouraged to integrate the practice of mindfulness into their daily lives by, for example, answering messages mindfully and avoiding “emotional emails;” being present during meetings by turning off cellphones and allocating sufficient time beforehand to prepare mentally and emotionally; and as a general matter during the workday, by allowing themselves to stop and renew their energy every 90-120 minutes, set priorities, avoid multi-tasking and distractions, and practice mindful breathing to connect with the present moment.

I’m glad and appreciative that, as a company, Schneider Electric understands that its people are its key asset and that it promotes employee self-care and well-beingfor optimal performance. Moreover, I hope that the introduction of mindfulness into our corporate culture will serve as an invitation, for those inclined, to delve deeper into this subject and discover the value of a meditative or contemplative practice firsthand (be it mindfulness or another), regardless of its practical benefits.

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About the Author

Mariana C. Gonzalez joined Schneider Electric in 2011. She is a Relocation Counselor and part of the North America HR Shared Services Organization. Since 2011, Mariana has overseen hundreds of relocations, which have included intra-US and intra-Canada moves, as well as international relocations between the US and Canada, and from Mexico, China, India, Europe, and the Middle East to the US or Canada. As of October 2017, her scope is domestic intra-US and intra-Canada relocations. She is a vegan primarily for moral reasons and secondly for environmental reasons. In her free time, Mariana enjoys making art with an animal rights message and engages in creative, abolitionist vegan advocacy. Feel free to check out her artwork at www.facebook.com/mcg.artwork and www.instagram.com/mcg.artwork/

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