The Benefits of Meditation in the Workplace
Companies are facing new and different challenges that were never considered in the past. Employee retention, increased government regulation, increased cost of legal compliance, global competition, political uncertainty and many other factors have created issues that owners have been forced to confront in an ever-changing business landscape.
However, in order to remain competitive in today’s market, successful companies need:
- To establish clear goals
- To be innovative
- To provide leadership
- To foster and promote teamwork
Focus on People
Multibillion-dollar business owner Marcus Lemonis, the star of CNBC’s TV program, The Profit, preaches about his three-part evaluation process, in which he breaks down any business into these three key components: people, product and process.
This article focuses on one topic that can assist with the “people” component.
Studies have shown that stress is the no. 1 epidemic of our civilization. Stress has been directly and indirectly linked to conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, fear, cardiovascular illness, inflammation in the body, heart disease and autoimmune illnesses. All of us experience varying degrees of stress throughout the day, which include spending long hours trying to manage project deadlines, presentations, full email inboxes, and dealing with difficult co-workers and bosses.
In the past, workers would ignore stress, possibly allowing it to fester and would simply plow ahead. Consider how much of our working day is wasted by lack of focus, stress and general negativity.
Today, many corporations have become aware of another way for employees to deal with stress that yields better results, both for the person and the company: meditation.
Meditation has been proven to be a very effective way to start tackling this problem. Meditation has been around for thousands of years, and studies show that it actually works.
Benefits of Meditation
Studies at companies such as Google, which has offered meditation courses since 2007, have shown that meditation can result in workplace benefits such as:
- Improved employee focus
Regular meditation helps train the mind to focus fully on whatever is happening in the present moment. A person who meditates regularly is trained to recognize when their mind starts to wander, and to bring themselves back to the present.
- Reduced employee stress
Workplace stress has been proven to negatively impact employee productivity.
- Improved teamwork
Regular meditation has been proven to encourage feelings of empathy and acceptance and can help employees to become better team players.
- Increased ability to prioritize effectively
The increased ability to focus has the added effect of helping employees to prioritize tasks that need to be done.
- Improved listening and decision-making
In addition to alertness and stress reduction, studies have shown that bringing meditation to the workplace also improves listening and decision-making skills, as well as improving employee engagement.
- Health benefits
In a study published in 2014, the researchers found that people who underwent a meditation-based stress reduction program did significantly better than others in managing chronic pain and appeared to have more vitality.
Where do we start?
Just like with any other corporate initiative, I would suggest that companies interested in considering implementing a meditation program start with baby steps.
Some companies that I have spoken to have hired outside consultants that have come into their offices on a weekly or monthly basis to meet with their employees and teach them how to meditate. Some other companies have hosted a one-time seminar for their employees on meditation and have created meditation breaks within the work day. It is not a one-size-fits-all process.
Maspons Advisory Services hired an executive coach that worked with us on establishing, among other things, a meditation program that started with weekly coaching sessions that began with a short meditation. We were encouraged to download a meditation app that we tried to use daily or at least several days a week. The goal was to learn how to meditate on our own. Meditation is not something that you ever master. The key to meditation is to be aware of when your mind wanders and to try to bring it back without judging yourself.
The results for our firm were amazing. Although we continue to face challenges associated with the demands of our profession, meditation has provided us with a new tool to deal with the every-day stresses that we all face.