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How Meditation in the Workplace Unlocks Greater Productivity

Meditation has gone mainstream. According to one study by the CDC, the percentage of adults practicing meditation in the U.S. leapt from 4.1% in 2012 to 14.2% in 2017.

While meditation has long been relatively common in private homes, spirituality and the workplace are not usually considered a natural pair. However, studies show that implementing meditation at work can be good for personal productivity and organizational culture. Ultimately, it may even boost your business’ bottom line.

Here’s a look at the potential benefits of meditation program in your workplace, and how to implement one.

The benefits of meditation in the workplace

Meditation is a practice in which individuals use a variety of techniques to train their attention and awareness to achieve a calm, focused state. These techniques might include mindfulness and focus on a particular object or activity, such as breathing. The practice has a number of benefits, many of which can have a positive impact in the workplace:

Decreased stress

Mental strain causes the body to release the stress hormone cortisol, which can set off a chain of chemical reactions that disrupt sleep, cause depression, increase anxiety and cause cloudy thinking. Meditation can help control the release of cortisol, reducing stress. Employees who are less stressed are able to be more productive and less likely to experience burnout that might result in missing work.

Improved culture

Meditation can strengthen organizational culture as well. The practice has been shown to promote compassion and reduce prejudice and retaliation. Employees who meditate can be more accepting of one another and open to each other’s ideas, improving professional relationships. 

Increased focus

Meditation practices have been shown to improve both cognition and people’s ability to sustain attention. They can help employees control emotional impulses and temptations to become distracted. What’s more, meditation can improve memory and information retention. Together these benefits help employees manage their time better, stay on task longer and make better decisions.

Better problem solving

Working in a business environment requires individuals to be creative and come up with solutions to problems. Meditation can reduce cognitive rigidity—the tendency to get stuck in a certain pattern of thought—which can translate into more creative problem solving.

How to introduce meditation in the workplace

There are a variety of ways to practice meditation, giving employers a lot of flexibility in how they implement a meditation program.

Start by getting your employees onboard. Explain the benefits of meditation and why you think it would be good for company culture. You may even consider offering some sort of incentive to participate in the program.

Once you have employee buy-in, dive in to the logistics of a program. Consider setting aside time once a week, or even every day, when employees can practice. It can be helpful to designate a quiet space where employees can go, such as a conference room or break room.

Next, decide whether you want a live facilitator to guide the meditations. If a professional meditation teacher isn’t available, an enthusiastic employee who is familiar with the practice can lead the group.

You may also want to recommend free meditation apps that everyone can use on their phones. Using an app can have the added benefit of allowing employees to bring the practice home with them.

Finally, create a system for feedback that allows employees to let you know what is working for them and what isn’t. Adjust your program based on this feedback if necessary.

Meditation in the workplace is still a relatively new phenomenon, but businesses that adopt a program sooner rather than later stand to gain a competitive edge.