Anne Krog Iversen: Being Mindful of the World Around US

Anne Krog Iversen | Chief DNA & Culture Officer | TimeXtender | Business Magazine | CIOLook

Many of us actually devote more time at work than we do at home.

And even when we leave work for the comforts of home life, we often find ourselves spending time on office work that we brought with us. When we’re done with corporate tasks, we carry out household chores or family obligations, leaving little time for ourselves.

All this responsibility can be mentally taxing. And while we typically look forward to vacation to recharge, we now know that we shouldn’t wait for that annual get a way to recover. Rather, we should soothe our minds daily. And many of us are doing just that by practicing mindfulness to strengthen our brain fitness, emotional intelligence, and mental and physical wellbeing. But the challenge can be dedicating the time to make it a daily occurrence. Despite the fact that we recognize that we need to combat how overwhelmed we are with life’s responsibilities, we just keep plugging away, trying to keep up, with no relief in sight.

With that, progressive business leaders in the corporate world are now tackling this epidemic to help their valued employees reduce stress, anxiety and low energy. They’re doing so by carving out time at the corporate workplace to practice mindfulness. One of those executives who’s at the forefront of this movement is Anne Krog Iversen from TimeXtender. We spoke with Anne to get an understanding about her corporate mindfulness program and the impact it has had on her colleagues.

Can you tell us about your background? 

I’m the Chief People, DNA & Culture Officer and co-founder of TimeXtender. At TimeXtender, we inspire businesses to make quality business decisions with data, mind and heart. This can be done by using our flagship technology platform Discovery Hub®, a high-performance data management platform. We do this for one simple reason: because time matters.

Before taking on this responsibility, I was head of both Human Resources and Marketing. I’m happy to say that at that time, I contributed in helping us strategically grow from a startup in Denmark to one of the fastest growing private tech companies in the world. Over the years, we’ve grown to more than 3,000 customers worldwide and built a comprehensive global network of partners to help service our customer base. Six years ago, we opened a second headquarters for North America in Bellevue, Washington. It’s been a tremendous journey, but there’s much more to accomplish.

What was one of your biggest challenges in managing this rapid growth? 

As TimeXtender began to expand, we experienced trauma by losing a key executive and close colleague. Then, as the company began to experience high-paced, international growth, I determined we needed a people program to cope with our loss and help employees identify with each other by sharing a common purpose greater than work items, our ambitious growth goals and life’s demands.

In 2015, we rolled out our multi-faceted corporate mindfulness program with The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People created by Dr. Stephen R. Covey as a cornerstone. Corporate mindfulness is now a chief component of our corporate DNA and who we truly are as ‘X-People’ (what we call ourselves at TimeXtender), as our leaders and employees daily aim is to create win-win-wins.

The results of our mindfulness program have been a game-changing journey for the organization. Our employees have been given a source of energy, focus and creativeness. Being more mindful helps us become more effective and gives us the life skill tools for better self-management and decision making. We encourage staff to practice mindfulness daily, with only seven minutes a day needed to keep your brain balanced, but we really enjoy practicing mindfulness at work. We host voluntary weekly recharge sessions for employees that can include meditation, yoga, breathing, mindful walks, or discussion. Employees enjoy and look forward to weekly recharge, as evidenced by up to 50% turnout. On Fridays, we have team breakfast to socialize and engage. We call our way of work ‘calm effectiveness’ as it helps us focus and calm to achieve our goals and deal with demanding workdays. Offering mindfulness during work is wonderful as it’s a welcomed diversion from our daily grind to help us heal, find inner peace and focus.

We also implemented a minute of silence to help attendees regroup, recharge and refocus prior to meeting commencement. The feedback from people who participate in a minute of silence has been overwhelmingly positive. I can’t tell you how many people have said ‘thank you,’ stating that participating in that one minute of silence helped them find inner peace and provided a boost. After witnessing the power of silence, we’ve become strong advocates for telling others about the health benefits derived from silence.

As part of our reinvigorated DNA campaign in 2015, we spent a lot of time designing the interior of TimeXtender offices to ensure harmony, peace and tranquility. Our office artifacts and symbols foster a more mindful business climate and support effectiveness and innovative energy. I’m proud to say that our interior design was named ‘one of the six coolest offices in Europe’ by Inc.com.

Is TimeXtender’s Discovery Hub® and mindfulness congruent in any way? 

Interestingly, when people discover that we have a corporate mindfulness program they often ask about our software vis-à-vis our mindfulness culture. The linking factor is that Discovery Hub® and mindfulness both free up your mind and creativity so that you can make superior business decisions closely connected to your data, mind and heart. Even more, both help you become more productive and efficient which is very important because time matters.

TimeXtender’s Discovery Hub® reduces the number of tedious, repetitive tasks, freeing up the intellects of IT staff, developers and BI specialists so that they can shift their attention to game-changing initiatives that add greater value to an organization. With this in mind, TimeXtender has developed into the software, as it’s automating the coding, visible motivational quotes such as ‘Time to breathe,’ or ‘Time to praise a colleague’ and a lotus flower that the user can follow while breathing calmly.

Similarly, mindfulness removes the clutter in your mind so you can be aware of the present moment. It’s a state of mind in which you’re paying full attention to whatever is happening in the here and now and it reduces the state-negative effect. Mindfulness helps you filter out mental chatter to better tune into your intuition to make superior decisions for your team, organization, and yourself. It enhances creativity by encouraging divergent thinking and clarity.

What do you hope to personally accomplish in the years ahead? 

I’ve been fortunate to be able to share my understanding of corporate mindfulness on the global stage. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be a corporate blogger, a contributor in various magazines such as Forbes, and an event speaker. I also network with leaders in the mindfulness community and host events for employees. And employees also get paid a ‘Karma Day’ to do charity work.

We enjoy supporting community initiatives and charitable efforts and hope to do more in the future. While there are many instances where time is king, there’s no domain more focused on time than motorsports. It’s for this reason that we sponsor the Danish Motorsport driver, Mikkel O. Pedersen, in his Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup journey, as he fights to be a Porsche Factory Driver and to secure a seat at Le Mans.

TimeXtender is delighted to support this young talent in living his heartfelt purpose in life in the motorsport world where time really matters. For TimeXtender, Mikkel is not only a sponsorship, but a symbol of our company’s brand and the way we view our partnerships, technology and DNA.

In addition, Mikkel designed a ‘Super Hero’ troll to lend support to the Danish Cancer Foundation. These super hero trolls were a childhood favorite of his, and designing a modern troll truly came from his heart. A number of proceeds resulting from the purchase of his troll have been contributed to the Foundation. This is a great cause and serves as a pleasant reminder that we can all be a superhero to someone in need. We’re proud to play a role in this effort.

Every year, we also sponsor the Danish Kids hospital clowns. This is a wonderful program that helps encourage and uplift the spirits of Danish kids who are admitted to hospitals. The power of laughing and having fun can provide a source of encouragement and healing for those who need medical care. And finally, we’re pleased to contribute Discovery Hub and to provide technical support to the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization Direct Relief. With this donation, we’re able to assist Direct Relief in their global efforts to help people affected by poverty and emergency around the world. We take great pride in knowing that our technology is part of a worldwide effort to help others in need. And in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about … having a bigger purpose and being mindful of the world around us?

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