If you asked an employer a few years ago if workplace meditation classes were offered to employees as part of their wellness program, the answer would likely have been no. But fast forward to 2017, and you’re likely to get a different answer.
According to Fortune.com, the meditation and mindfulness industry took in close to $1 billion in 2015. Last year, about 25% of employers offered mindfulness training. And according to a survey from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health, that percentage could climb this year to nearly 50%.
Last year, about 20% of employers offered mindfulness training. And according to a survey from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health, that percentage could climb this year to nearly 50%.
So why are so many employers embracing workplace meditation? Because research shows there are many benefits to practicing meditation and mindfulness.
Let’s look at how meditating can help change the mind and body, and how it can be practiced at the workplace.
What are the Benefits?
Research shows that meditating just a few minutes a day can do wonders for the body and mind. Some say it even changes the way brain operates. Below are some of the benefits that meditation can bring to the workplace, according to Elba Mueller, author and meditation expert with The Chopra Center:
Clarity and Focus
Mueller says most people face a ‘fight or flight’ situation about 12 times every day. This is a state that triggers acute stress, which can negatively impact heart and respiratory rates and digestive and immune systems. A by-product of meditation is inner calm and peace, which brings with it clarity and the ability to focus on goals that can bring greater success at work.
When employers offer meditation programs or set up a meditation space for employees, worker loyalty and ultimately worker retention can increase. Mueller says loyal employees also feel that their company’s success is directly related to their own successes, and they contribute more to help reach the company’s goals.
The clear mind that meditation helps create brings better communication to the workplace. And we all know that clear and effective communication is a must at all levels of an organization.
Because meditation helps individuals better manage their stress levels, they find themselves in a healthier state with less risk of heart disease, stroke, depression and other mental or physical issues. In turn, employers enjoy lower employee absenteeism due to illness.
By offering meditation practice as part of their wellness/employee development programs, Mueller says companies both large and small can reap the benefit of increased employee productivity. “When productivity improves at the individual level, overall productivity of the company improves, too…which leads to increased profits and a healthier bottom line,” says Mueller.
How to Get Started
There are several ways that an employer can promote workplace meditation:
-Designate a space where employees can practice meditation.
-Bring an expert in to speak about the benefits of meditation and how to start practicing.
-Offer a weekly meditation class. Employees can practice as a group, then practice individually at home or at their workspace.
-Provide resource materials for employees, such as books and articles about how to practice meditation. There are also many popular apps out there (many are free) that people everywhere are downloading; share these apps with employees. Here’s a list of some of the best.
Has your company implemented any meditation practices for employees? Share with us!