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MomentCo's CEO Fiona speaks with HappyHQ about Moments at work

MomentCo's CEO Fiona speaks with HappyHQ about Moments at work

Through the lens: The importance of taking a moment at work

When was the last time you took a moment?  

We all have times of overwhelm, frustration, stress, or anxiety during our working day, but many of us aren’t paying enough conscious attention to ourselves. We’re not equipped with ways to reduce the negative emotions, let alone understand simple actions that can improve them.  

Emotional peaks are commonly viewed as a normal part of the working cycle. Yet little thought is given to how this might be affecting our physical and mental health.   

There has been considerable research into the benefits of mindfulness, within the workplace, to improve wellbeing and reduce stress. Studies using MRI scans have shown an increase in the grey matter within the hippocampus (associated with memory and learning); whilst also decreasing grey matter in the brain’s amygdala (associated with emotional responses; including stress and anxiety).  

So, how can companies introduce and embed mindfulness into everyday workplace practice?  

To get to grips with why and how we can implement mindfulness to benefit the wider workplace culture and its people, HappyHQ caught up with Fiona McKinnon, Co-Founder and CEO of Moment Company.  

Q: Tell us about Moment Company and its mission? 

Moment company creates wellbeing products to help people stop and take mindful breaks during the working day, by anchoring mindfulness, breathwork, and habit formation techniques. Our mission is to empower millions of people to recognise they have the power to shift their mindset in as little as 30 seconds, or a moment.  

Q: What was the inspiration behind the Moment Company?  

The idea for the Moment Company came from the lived experienced of stress and burnout that myself and Co-Founders, Alex, and Charlie had all felt over many years.   

Whilst I had developed meditation practices, I found it became harder to dedicate time to it during the day as things got busier again – even though that’s when I needed it the most! I have meditation apps on my phone, but I wanted something that wasn’t linked to technology, as for most of us, the mobile phone is the problem not the solution to reducing stress.  

So, our design brief was simple – create something that was quick in time to do, not connected to a phone, tactile, portable, made of natural materials, and a little bit magical… And so, the idea of the Moment Pebble was born in 2018.  

The Pebble is a natural stone device that uses light to visually guide you through a cardiac coherent breathing pattern. By breathing in as the light increases, and out as it decreases, it creates balance between your sympathetic (alert state) and your parasympathetic (resting state) nervous systems creating a sense of calm. As it’s both tactile and visual, you can feel the benefits by simply seeing it on your desk or touching it in your pocket.  

Q: What is the ‘Moment Method’ and why is it so important?  

The Moment Method is an online program that, when used with the Moment Pebble, introduces simple mindfulness, meditation, and breathwork techniques through a series of guided sessions.   

Our aim is to introduce our followers to different types of practices that can help them take control of their mental wellbeing, in a way that feels right to them. 

We are all unique, some people feel the most benefit from dynamic activities such as breathing, running, or yoga; for others it’s meditation or simple journaling practices.  

How would you define mindfulness at work?   

What it isn’t is eyes closed meditation. I would define mindfulness as being 100% focused on what you are doing – without distraction or self-judgment.   

Q: What is the positive effect of taking a moment?  

As we have mentioned, taking a moment helps you reduce the feelings of stress and anxiety. It can also, increase focus, creativity, and energy. There are multiple benefits depending on the situation you are in and the techniques you use in that Moment.    

Q: How do you personally bring more moments into your daily routine? What difference has it made?  

Introducing a mindfulness and meditation routine into my day has changed my life! I can feel how differently I approach stressful situations now, compared to 3-4 years ago. I am calmer, happier, and more aware of how I feel which led me to quit alcohol. Big change! 

I set myself up for the day before I get out of bed with a morning meditation and then write a gratitude journal before my head hits the pillow at night. I live near the beach; so, hearing the waves and seeing the horizon are also great mindful moments for me.  

From a work perspective, Alex and I might start a meeting with a simple grounding meditation or some rounds of breath to create energy and clarity for a brainstorming session. This has been of huge benefit to us during these months of remote working, as it has helped us create connections when we can’t be in the same room.  

Q: When did you realise that companies should encourage and embed more mindfulness practices for employees?  

Stress is a huge global health problem affecting the lives of over 1 billion people. 79% of UK workforce say they felt some form of stress during 2020. Meaning that corporations have increased awareness and responsibility to support the mental wellbeing of their employees, in the same way they have traditionally supported physical health.  

Mindfulness is a proven, subtle, and inexpensive way to help employees regulate stress and create a positive perspective. It can improve communication skills within teams, scenario planning, focus, and productivity. As with regular practice, mindfulness creates an increased awareness of the language we use, our decision-making processes, and how we interact with others.    

It’s not expensive to introduce mindfulness into a workplace, it just takes an open mind! 

Q: What recommendations can you give to people who want to introduce mindful initiatives into their daily working routine?  

Small steps over time add up. It’s almost impossible to think yourself out of stress; change comes from the body first. So, taking 3 rounds of deep breaths will reduce your heart rate, allow you to take a pause, and move forward with more clarity.   

Simple actions like standing up, looking up, walking, or stretching between meetings (remember body first), are mindful actions that allow you to create moments in your day to get away from screens. The action of looking up triggers your alpha brain waves, which is the more creative part of the brain – try it when you next need some inspiration.  

Q: Finally, where can people go for more information?   

You can find out more about us at https://momentcompany.co/ which includes some short Moment Method exercises you can try.  

We also host weekly live sessions on our Instagram page (@momentcompany.co) on a Monday and Friday which help guide you through that week to weekend transition.

See previous episodes here

Moment Company and PlanetK2 Partnership

Moment Company and PlanetK2 Partnership
PlanetK2, the world’s most accessible source of human performance expertise and Moment Company, creators of the products and experiences that support employee wellbeing, have today announced a partnership aimed at making moments of pause a consistent feature of high performance for people in the workplace who are serious about seeing how good they can be.

A magical glowing rock in your hand is awesome!

A magical glowing rock in your hand is awesome!

For those of you that have been following our journey for a while you will know that the road to creating the perfect pebble has been longer and more winding than we had hoped!  

That is why we are so excited to announce that we have launched and that our early supporters and backers have their pebbles, and most importantly to us, they are well used and loved already. 

Rather than hearing from us we wanted to share with you an unedited review by one of our early backers Sabina who has captured everything we set out to achieve so beautifully. Over to you Sabina…….

“My pebble arrived yesterday and I absolutely LOVE it. I had honestly basically given up hope of ever getting it and just wrote the whole thing off, but! I'm so happy you guys pushed through. My package arrived safely, in good condition.

At first glance, the finish on the pebble was much more shiny than expected, in that uncanny kind of kills your suspension of disbelief way. HOWEVER-once I took it out of the box, I discovered the feel in hand was PERFECT. It's not the too smooth, too slick feel of plastic, but a very pleasant kind of smooth. Given that this is a tactile sensory experience, the hand feel is absolutely essential. The more I held the pebble, the more I enjoyed it. I don't know if it's the oil from my skin after a day or handling or some kind of emotional optical illusion, but the finish seems slightly more matte now.

The charging stone is GREAT and exactly the kind of finish I initially expected from the pebble. It's pleasantly sturdy, heavier than anticipated (in a good way), and mine is beautifully unbranded and sleek. I love, love the shape and the aesthetics of the charging stone. The curves are perfect and gently rounded. The surface isn't flawlessly smooth, so it feels very organic. It's an absolute pleasure to look at, and, honestly, in terms of looks, I find the charging stone plus pebble on my nightstand charming.

Now! The function. It's SO bright. You guys. You are not prepared for how bright this is. It feels MAGICAL. I know this product got a lot of flack and people made fun of it for being an overpriced rock, but by god, if you have no romance in your soul and can't imagine why a MAGICAL GLOWING ROCK in your hand is awesome--get out of my face. This thing is GORGEOUS when it's all lit up. It's exactly what I pictured and wanted.

The sequence of brightness and darkness is soothing, as expected. I find it a little difficult to gauge when exactly the dimming starts, so my inhales are way longer than my exhales unless I time it. Nonetheless, I find this very comfortable, although I am also aware that my standards might be skewed from years of gym going/yoga/whatever.

So yes, it works. And aesthetically, it's a hit. My pebble has very, very little of the black/grey marble swirl, which makes it look very different from most product photos, and it does make me feel, like, yes, my pebble is special and unique, hahah.

Which brings me to the most important part of this experience: the psychological and emotional trickery we are deliberately engaging in for our own betterment. The way the pebble looks, how it feels, how it responds to our (highly specified tap three times) touch, how we sync ourselves to its rhythm--all these things work together to make us feel like something familiar and comforting is happening. There is, dare say, a certain emotional bond between the user and their special glowing rock. The accompanying booklet refers to the pebble as a "companion." This is, of course, absolutely ridiculous and in no way actually true--except for how it feels like it is exactly true.

Like, I'm not gonna lie. I'm already bonded to this fake rock. I'm all in on "this is MY magical glowing rock." I will be distressed whenever I first accidentally drop it. I kept it by my laptop as I worked. I've carried it around the house with me, 'cause it's not like I'm going anywhere right now. I have shown it to my dog, who does not remotely care about it but politely sniffed it because he knows I'm excited.

I'm a lifelong insomniac with an adulthood ADHD diagnosis, and I feel asleep with this thing clutched in my hand last night. Was it still 2 AM? Yeah, but that's a lot better than 4 AM, so it's a win.

This is a niche product and I know not everyone will appreciate it, but if you can't stand still without some outside input, AND your phone/tablet/laptop whatever is the worst thing for a mindful pause because there's always 329,842,984 things to do, and if each time you open a guided meditation tab the meditation does undone because you can't, you really, actually, factually just CANNOT make yourself sit still for the painfully long time it takes some youtube guru to finally talk at an excruciatingly slow pace, if you need to be exhausted by 90 minutes of hot yoga before you can meditate, if boredom causes you pain...then this might be the perfect product for you. There is nothing else out there like it. I know. I checked. The timeline was pushed back so many times that I had plenty of opportunities to buy light up alarms, vibration alarms, tons of apps, solar powered "rocks" meant for your garden...I tried all kinds of things and nothing comes anywhere close to understanding the factors I need to actually slow down for a moment and breathe.

In conclusion: I love it. Thanks for not giving up on the product, Pebble Team. I hope the other backers get theirs soon, and everybody loves it as much as I do.”

Thank you Sabina!