Mike Serbinis is more than a successful Silicon Valley executive who made it big by growing and selling tech companies. The current founder and CEO of the healthcare company League is also a passionate advocate for mindfulness in the workplace.
These days, you can’t walk into a startup without seeing employees hitting a ping pong ball back-and-forth while sipping a freshly tapped beer. It’s become the signature of today’s hip, millennial organization.
And in most instances, that’s great! Perks like these are an excellent way for hard-working employees to socialize and decompress from daily stressors. But aside from creating a healthy distraction, how do they help the whole of an employee?
Mike thinks leaders should look beyond the fun, quirky extras, and also encourage their team members to look within. He believes that being mindful in the workplace will bring advantages to your business that no foosball table ever could.
Here are Mike’s insights on creating a mindful company and culture, as well as the benefits that wellness will offer every team member.
Bringing Mindfulness into the Office
For Mike, a company’s culture is defined by its values. So, if you want to implement a culture of mindfulness into your organization, how do you start integrating these wellness-based values?
For one, leaders must intentionally integrate mindfulness into the whole of their company. It’s not some occasional, thrown-together event. At a mindful company, workplace wellness is a consistent part of the routine.
At League, Mike and his leadership team have made this routine a priority. “We have Meditation Monday,” Mike says. “It’s exactly what it sounds like. We do meditations in our town hall or different areas around our space.”
In addition to Meditation Mondays, League also facilitates Yoga Wednesdays, Mental Health Fridays, and many more ongoing wellness initiatives. “We started to build these foundational blocks. It puts our team’s health and wellbeing at the center. For us, that’s kind of our thing.”
“It’s not a shtick.”
They’re also up-front about the importance of mindfulness at their organization. If a potential employee isn’t into it, then it’s probably not the right fit.
“In today’s work environment, valuing people’s mental health is not something that you take care of through a claim to your insurer when it’s bad,” says Mike. “It’s something that you take care of all the time. You’re proactive.
“That’s the new foosball table and snack bar.”
The Benefits of a Mindful Workplace
It’s not just Mike that’s uncovered the advantages of a corporate wellness practice. A growing number of high-level business leaders, entrepreneurs, and C-suite executives actively promote meditation at work as well.
For example, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff had meditation rooms built on every floor at his company’s San Francisco headquarters. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey regularly embarks on extended silent retreats. Oprah Winfrey encourages her staff to meditate twice a day.
Though mindful leaders like these can surely state countless benefits, there are a few that Mike personally notices more than others.
Collaboration and Creativity
One pivotal lesson within the meditation world is about always living with a beginner’s mind. In essence, this means being open to continuous learning, whether you’re the intern or the CEO.
Mike encourages his entire team to show up with that mentality. With a beginner’s mind, all team members feel encouraged to come to the table with their personal life experiences.
“It’s amazing,” he says. “I’ve been able to learn about different health practices and ways of working. This leads to immense collaboration and creative ideas that would’ve never emerged if the idea only stayed on top.
“[At League], it doesn’t matter if you’re in marketing or data science or whatever. You have a role in helping us create this healthier future,” says Mike.
With daily meditation, you provide yourself the opportunity for consistent self-reflection. Here, you can thoroughly analyze your past successes and failures. With this clarity, you’ll be able to better plan and tackle your future goals.
The routine also creates a place to pause and reflect. It’s a leader’s safe headspace to go to when things don’t go quite right, or if you’re unsure of the next move.
“I’m a big planner and performance-minded goal-setter,” Mike says. “It’s not that I want to hit every goal. It’s not that at all. It’s the process. I think of it as an important part of the journey.”
By promoting mindfulness at work, the entire team can reflect on what matters most. From here, they can prioritize the totality of their lives and create a healthy work-life balance.
For example, when it comes to online communication channels like email and Slack, Mike encourages his employees to log off and fully live their lives outside of the office. “We’re pretty diligent about not asking—but telling people to put it on snooze,” he says. “We just don’t need the mental trauma right before bed.”
No matter how much we love our jobs, who will look back on life wishing they spent more time responding to messages at midnight? “We have limited time,” he says. “I could get hit by a bus tomorrow, so I want to make the most of my time.” And he knows his team members want the same.
Since League launched its workplace wellness and mindfulness initiatives, these values have become an integral part of the company’s core.
“It’s rooted in who we are, and it’s taken on a life of its own in a million different ways,” Mike says. “We enact it. We live it.”
You’ll learn more about his early successes in Silicon Valley, why he believes workplace mindfulness isn’t just a trend, what life and leadership lessons he’s learned as a tech entrepreneur, and so much more.
I’d love to connect with you on Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as have you keep up with my company imageOne. Learn about my mission to show business leaders how mindfulness can transform you and your business in my book donothing. Visit www.donothingbook.com for more information.