August/September 2016 (vol. 13/2)

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Research Plus

Workplace mindfulness

A workplace mindfulness intervention failed to improve work engagement, job satisfaction and work ability, and was not cost effective, according to this randomised controlled trial involving 257 employees of two Dutch research institutions. The six-month intervention comprised eight weekly, 90-minute, group-training sessions in mindfulness, supported by online mindfulness coaching, the provision of fruit and vegetables, lunchtime walking routes, and a ‘buddy’ system where participants paired up to discuss homework exercises. Control-group participants were emailed a link to online information about health promotion offered by their employer. At 12- month follow up, work engagement was slightly higher (but of no clinical relevance) in the control group, but there were no significant differences in job satisfaction, work ability or general vitality. Cost-effectiveness and return on investment were measured by considering the costs of the intervention and monetised estimates of outcomes – eg occupational health utilisation, absence and presenteeism. There were no differences in absence or use of OH, but control group participants had slightly lower mean costs associated with presenteeism (p <0.05). The intervention did not give a positive return on investment for the employer.


  1. Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine 2016; 58(6): 550–560. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000736.


Occupational Health at Work August/September 2016 (vol. 13/2) pp41