As lockdown measures across the UK ease, and businesses turn to consider the future of work post-pandemic, employee wellbeing remains a prominent area of concern. Work-related stress and anxiety are of course nothing new, but this last year has seen employee burnout reach fever pitch. 46% of UK workers feel ‘more prone to extreme levels of stress’ now than they did in March 2020, while one in five feel they are currently ‘unable to manage stress and pressure in the workplace’.
It is against this backdrop that the practice and simplicity of mindfulness has garnered mainstream appeal.
In this episode of Fundamentals, Aoifinn Devitt, Head of Investment – Ireland, explores the idea of ‘mindful investing’ and its practical implications for investment professionals. Her guest is Gary Greenberg, CFA, Head of Global Emerging Markets, who as a practicing Buddhist with more than 35 years’ experience in the investment industry, brings a wealth of knowledge to the discussion.
“Mindfulness is allowing yourself to be in the now… and that means when you’re in a situation, you monotask rather than multitask”, says Greenberg. Being a present and active meeting participant, for example, means dealing with any personal needs or distractions before entering the room, so that you’re able to give colleagues your full attention.
And for listeners who might find the prospect of meditation a little daunting, Greenberg has the following words of reassurance, “You can start with as little as five minutes a day. There are some very simple practices that one can do, like following one’s breath… The important thing is just to practice and as you practice, you will get better”.
For Greenberg, mindfulness provides a means to step back and approach problems in “a relaxed, clear way”. While it may seem counterintuitive, he accredits meditation with boosting his overall productivity by forcing him to slow down, “There’s an old expression in America: “Measure twice and cut once”. In other words, if you’re just careful, you’ll be more efficient in what you do”.
To find out more about what investment professionals can do to approach the working day more mindfully, tune in to Fundamentals.
Greenberg’s latest piece, “Zen and the art of investment management”, is available now on our website.
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