Job Design for Mindful Work: The Boosting Effect of Psychosocial Safety Climate

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Abstract

Despite a surge in workplace mindfulness research, virtually nothing is known about how organizations can cultivate everyday mindfulness at work. Using the extended job demands–resources model, we explored daily psychological demands and job control as potential antecedents of daily mindfulness, and the moderating effect of psychosocial safety climate (PSC, which relates to the value organizations place on psychological health at work). We also examined the relationship between mindfulness and learning to augment understanding of the benefits of everyday mindfulness at work. A sample of 57 employees, primarily working in education, health care, and finance, completed a diary for five days within a 2-week period, covering mindfulness, psychological demands, job control, and learning. PSC was measured in a baseline survey, with individual ratings combined with those of up to four colleagues to tap objective (shared) climate. Hierarchical linear modeling showed that daily psychological demands were negatively related to daily mindfulness, and daily job control was positively related to daily mindfulness especially as PSC increased. Additionally, daily mindfulness was positively associated with daily workplace learning. This study is one of the first to identify work-related antecedents to everyday mindfulness. The findings suggest that (a) to support everyday mindfulness at work, jobs must be designed with manageable demands and a variety of tasks that allow for creativity and skill discretion, and (b) the benefits of mindfulness interventions for employee psychological health and well-being may not be sustainable unless employees have influence over when and how they do their work, in the “right” climate.

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