How Mindfulness and Situational Awareness Training Help Workers

Mindfulness and situational awareness may seem like industry buzzwords, but they’re words to which a benefits planner should start paying attention. These concepts can be understood in two key ways for workforces of all sizes.

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. It’s more than yoga and meditation; it’s being aware of one’s own internal health and wellness—something benefits planners put a lot of time and energy into fostering among their workforces.

A healthy employee has a healthy mind as well as a healthy. Mindfulness describes a comprehensive, integrated approach toward improving health and productivity in our work environments. It allows employers to help employees become more aware of their overall health status and risk factors and provides them with tools, resources and coaching to take control of their lives and make healthy changes and choices.

When used proactively with other wellness and benefits tactics, it can boost employee resiliency and reduce the prevalence of gaps caused by absenteeism.

Situational awareness is an external application of that same mindfulness. It’s the ability to frame one’s mind to know what is going on in workplace surroundings, to identify any deviations from the norm or standard processes, and to address unsafe conditions, environments and potential risks before they become problematic.

The military and security-related fields for decades have focused on this type of mindfulness about the work environment. Today, it’s becoming more and more important for experts in occupational health and safety, department leadership and human resources, including benefits management.


Reproduced with permission from Benefits Magazine, Volume 53 Number 3, pages 30-33, March 2016, published by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (, Brookfield, Wisconsin. All rights reserved. Statements or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of the International Foundation, its officers, directors or staff. No further transmission or electronic distribution of this material is permitted. Subscriptions are available for purchase by contacting us at 888-334-3327, option 4 or

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