It’s no secret that work is stressful. Employers, however, have the ability to proactively try to help manage stress levels for employees. One option employers have been turning to in recent years is promoting and encouraging mindfulness and meditation as a form of stress relief and a way to improve employee well-being.
If this is something your organization is considering, take a look at some of the reasons employers promote meditation for employees:
- It can reduce employee stress. Meditation can help keep stress and tension in check. Reduction in stress and tension can actually lead to a clearer head and the ability to make better decisions.
- It can reduce the likelihood of interpersonal conflicts. Meditation has been shown to help reduce frustration levels in general. Overall, people who meditate have tools to better regulate their emotional responses to stressors.
- It can increase productivity levels due to the ability to focus better. Consistent meditation can help people focus better and be distracted less often, which can allow them to get more done.
- Meditation can lead to mental health improvements. It can help decrease anxiety and depression, as well as increase feelings of resiliency, allowing people to cope better when problems arise.
- It may inspire creativity and innovation by helping employees focus better.
- It may help employees be happier and more satisfied at work.
While there are clearly a lot of benefits to encouraging employees to meditate, there may be downsides, as well. Here are some considerations:
- Some employees may not respond to the idea of meditation and feel it isn’t a good fit for them. Some may believe it’s too “hippie” or “touchy feely” and not something that will work for them.
- It will work best if the organizational culture supports it, which can take a lot of effort to make happen.
- An argument can be made that the notion of acceptance (which is widely promoted in meditative practices) may eventually reduce employee motivation to change the things that bother them and instead accept those things as they are.
How Employers Can Promote Meditation for Employees
If you’re sold on the benefits of promoting meditation for employees, here are a few possible ways to do so:
- Send out or provide access to guided meditation videos.
- Offer paid memberships to studios that offer yoga and meditation.
- Encourage meditation as part of an employee wellness program.
- Offer to pay for or subsidize the cost of meditation apps or programs for employees to use.
- Offer a “silent” room in the workplace that can be booked for short increments to allow employees to have a quiet space to practice meditation as a break during the workday. (Be aware this may take soundproofing efforts and the addition of white noise to ensure there are minimal disruptions.)
- Consider offering an in-person, guided meditation session at the start of the workday (or by live video if you prefer or if your team members are widely dispersed).
If you’ve encouraged employees to practice meditation in the past, what has your experience been?
Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.