How Businesses Use Mindfulness and Meditation for Productivity and Health
Whatever your career or position, stress can make it difficult to think, complete tasks, or enjoy your job. Ongoing tension can quickly lead to employee burnout, too. Many companies search for ways to help workers be more productive while mitigating the effects of stress. Some savvy employers have discovered that meditation can improve their employees’ health, productivity, and happiness.
Why Use Meditation in the Workplace?
Wellness programs for workers are popular, and many companies are adding amenities like on-site gyms and healthy lunch initiatives for their employees. If your business doesn’t have the budget for a dedicated yoga room, meditation is a great no-frills option for the workplace.
Mindful meditation is a quiet activity that allows your employees to step away from workday tension and take time to breathe, center themselves, and refocus. Also, this practice is easy to accommodate, as workers just need a quiet space and a place to sit. The overall benefits of meditation on performance and productivity are worth the downtime, too.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state achieved through meditation that shifts mental focus from worry and anxious thoughts into experiencing the present moment. When people practice mindfulness, they become more conscious of their thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. Daily meditation hones this ability and promotes a more relaxed, happy and productive outlook.
8 Companies that Encourage Meditation at Work
It’s no secret that healthy minds and bodies offer better productivity. Companies that recognize this concept encourage mindfulness as part of their corporate mission by providing their employees a dedicated meditation space or offering classes. The following companies are just a few that encourage employees to de-stress with on-site meditation:
Apple’s former CEO Steve Jobs enjoyed meditation retreats, celebrated the culture surrounding the practice, and wanted his love of mindfulness to carry over to the workplace. As a result, Apple allows workers 30 minutes each day to meditate and provides classes for mindfulness and yoga inside a dedicated room.
Google offers its employees benefits that go beyond those of many other corporations. Recognizing that hard work and deadlines create stress, the head of personal growth created a meditation and mindfulness program for workers to unwind and interact with fellow employees.
During a corporate-wide transformation, the medical insurance company Aetna offered their lowest-paid employees salary increases and established free yoga and meditation classes. The company saved millions in healthcare costs and enabled workers to de-stress mentally and physically while boosting productivity.
Like other tech companies, Yahoo offers free on-site meditation classes and quiet rooms where employees can relax and practice mindfulness. The corporation also encourages workers to engage with others who share similar interests to promote a healthy employee community.
Designed to let calm, creative minds thrive, Facebook’s work environment includes in-house meditation sessions and informal weekly meetings to boost employee morale. The social media giant recognizes that happier employees are healthier, more innovative, and generally more inclined to collaborate with others.
At General Mills, employees can participate in a 7-week mindfulness and meditation program. The course aims to help workers find ways to optimize their productivity. Students also can improve their decision-making skills and become better listeners by taking the class with coworkers.
Proctor & Gamble
A multinational consumer goods company, Proctor & Gamble offers health and fitness programs as well as meditation classes for employees. The CEO has his own meditation practice and believes that all P & G employees can benefit from mindfulness.
Employees at Nike have access to relaxation rooms where they can nap, pray, meditate or just have some quiet time to themselves. The company offers workers classes for meditation and yoga that they can take without leaving the office. During their workday, employees can engage in mindful meditation whenever they wish.
How Meditation Works
Meditation quiets the mind by letting you focus solely on your breathing and helps you manage work tasks by encouraging you to fully focus on one job at a time without being taken off course by distractions. Just five to ten minutes of deep breathing during meditation allows the mind and body to relax significantly, which reduces stress.
Meditation works by training your mind to stay in the present moment. Breathing meditation centers on inhaling and exhaling slowly, observing any distracting thoughts that occur, and refocusing on your breath whenever your mind wanders. Daily meditation reinforces a practitioner’s ability to refocus on the present instead of worrying about the future or revisiting events from the past.
Benefits of Meditation for Employees and Employers
Companies that encourage mindfulness and employees who take advantage of on-site meditation rooms or classes both gain from this practice. Wellness programs that include meditation often reduce healthcare costs, too. Some other benefits of meditation at work include:
- Reduced employee burnout and turnover.
- Increased creativity and collaboration.
- More effective communication.
- Greater self-awareness, positivity, and patience.
- Better listening, critical thinking and decision-making skills.
- Improved employee engagement and work satisfaction.
Incorporating Meditation into your Routine
Whether you work at a company that promotes employee wellness programs or not, everyone can experience the benefits of mindful meditation. To incorporate this practice into your professional or personal life, consider adding mindfulness to your routine in the following ways:
- Use Your Commute: Whether you drive to work or take the bus or train, your commute is an excellent opportunity for meditation. If you’re driving, focus on your breath and be aware of your body’s position and movements as you mindfully navigate traffic. Getting a ride to work? Use your phone timer or an app to get a meditation session in.
- A Quiet Space: If you have a private office, close the door and dim the lights to create a meditation space. Don’t have an office? Keep an eye on the break room to see when it’s empty during the day, and plan your meditation accordingly.
- Breaks and Lunches: Skip the cafeteria and head out to your car for a mindfulness break. A five-minute session can work wonders when you’re feeling stressed. A daily 10- or 15-minute practice at lunch lets you add meditation to your day without cutting into your morning routine or evening plans.
- Morning and Night: If you find it difficult to meditate during your workday, try practicing mindfulness as soon as you wake up and before you go to bed. Start with 5 minutes and adjust your schedule as you increase your meditation time.