With workplace wellbeing becoming a priority for employers, HC Group is playing its part through its recent partnership with Wellnest Retreats, a Geneva-based wellness organization.
Wellnest Retreats offers holistic solutions validated by a scientific and ethics committee and based on the interconnection of four driving pillars: mindfulness, sleep, physical activity, and nutrition. In this interview with Jean-Philippe Jacques, expert in Mindfulness, HC Insider unravels some practical steps to tap the benefits of Flow & Mindfulness in the workplace.
Capacity to focus
Jacques spent a significant part of his career in the academic world in the United States and Switzerland, after completing a Doctorate in Industrial Pharmacy at the University of Toulouse, France and a PhD in molecular biology at the University of Southern California. For years, he also practiced high-performance sports like kayaking, martial arts, tai chi, and meditation. In the early 2010s, he decided to make a career change, in the health, human resources and professional training industry.
Jacques says that typically 90% of the individuals attending the Wellnest Retreats come with a very high level of stress. “We are talking about toxic stress here, not the right type of stress,” he insists. “We are distracted by waves of disruption, working in an increasingly fast-paced environment with more pitfalls that pollute our attentional capacity, our work flow and our ability to feel happy in the workplace.”
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The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated a long-standing yearning for a better work-life balance, and a deeper alignment between professional fulfillment and personal purpose. As illustrated by the still-unfolding ‘Great Resignation’ phenomenon, many have been redefining their priorities and their own measures of professional success and fulfilment, or as Jacques puts it, their own key performance indicators (KPIs). From a collective perspective, new factors such as the wider adoption of remote working in the post-Covid era have led organizations to find fresh ways of management and governance that mobilize employees as a group and maintain teams’ cohesion.
The Long-term Benefits of Flow & Mindfulness
Jacques says the longer-term objectives of improved Flow and Mindfulness are fourfold:
- Effortlessness: developing the capacity to get the best of one’s own talent without the need for additional efforts.
- Selflessness: raising individual and collective awareness of the unique talent of each creates stronger bonds and the capacity to work together for a common goal, as opposed to “working against one another”.
- Timelessness: shifting and expanding perceptions of time and the possibilities offered by the present moment.
- Richness: enriching and improving the quality of perceptions through more meaningful relationships and engagement with oneself, with colleagues and with clients.
Achieving these goals calls on strategies to become their best self and achieve their best in a conscious manner. During a training, Jacques helps attendees reclaim their capacity of attention and to focus, even in a highly distractive environment.
Through breathing, tailor-made meditation and visualization exercises, Wellnest Retreats offers a program where individuals are invited to connect with their own, intrinsic motivations to be able to connect with their unique talent and “who they are”. “There’s a temptation to set KPIs that are based only on extrinsic motivation: people tend to place their focus on attaining external targets or outcome, say how much money or revenue they want to achieve, close such and such a deal, or implement a major internal restructuring,” he says.
One aim is to create proper conditions to enhance a moment-by-moment awareness and realize the power of such an approach. As a result, participants get motivated to keep practicing short meditations as part of their daily routine. We invite you to experience Wellnest's 3-minute meditation video below.
“The common goal of our team of experts across all pillars is to bring scientifically proven and practical tools and work on the human dimension of these corporate groups. Our goal is to help them regain the motivation to continue to take care of themselves and put in place their own strategy based on both intrinsic and extrinsic drivers,” he says. The outcome is clearly a deeper connection with joy and meaning at work, which helps to boost performance.
Many can be faced with resistance when rewriting this narrative about their motivations. A lot depends on using a language that resonates with the profile of individuals and specific population. “Initially, I was apprehensive to perform this exercise with attendees from the trading community who can be seen as ‘high achievers’ or ‘warriors’. But I was able to bridge this gap with my practice of high-class sports and martial arts too. I would use a different language,” Jacques says. “Then they can drop the façade and talk about themselves more easily.”
The need for greater cohesion has been one driver for major companies to resort to Wellnest Retreats, in addition to demonstrating deeper appreciation to their employees following the pandemic.
Jacques says that conventional ways of working that are often driven by external imperatives are showing their limits. Against critical economic, geopolitical and climate-driven challenges, Jacques says more constructive solutions will come not from an ordinary state of consciousness, but thanks to a better connection with ourselves, with others and with essential values. “Those who have been practicing Flow and Mindfulness realize how much colleagues and clients want to work with them more. They feel more seen for their competencies and who they are,” Jacques says. “They are keener to give their best self and that creates a collective mindset where innovation and creativity are more present,” he adds.
The benefits are manifolds: from a healthier work-life balance, better sleep, better relationships to improved performance and revenue. “People realize that everything comes together, which is priceless. We all win in this.” – Fatima Sadouki