To think deeply or focus one’s mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting, for religious or spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.
Did you know that U.S. companies have seen an loss of over $200 billion annually on stress-related employee issues including absenteeism and lack of productivity? Even more startling is the fact that, according to the American Psychological Association, over $500 billion dollars is lost to general workplace stress.
In order to tackle an epidemic as great as workplace stress, companies and organizations must first look to the core root of the problem. While the workplace certainly has business demands that cannot be compromised, finding ways to encourage healthy workplace practices is the key to finding the balance between work and overall mental health.
When was the last time you felt as if you truly took a break from everything you were doing at work? Depending on the industry, it may have been a very long time. From working lunches, to mobile work emails, to the stress of an upcoming project, the vast majority of individuals are unable to truly break from all that their professional life is throwing at them. What does a true break feel like and what can it do for your overall performance?
Tackling workplace stress is on the priority list of many, many companies. With things such as absenteeism, turnover, and overall productivity on the line, it should be number one on a list of things to work on. Through meditation, companies have found tremendous success in these areas and beyond to better their employee’s overall health and well-being.
In fact, in 2003, Transport for London introduced a stress management course following an internal review. After this course, which included meditation techniques, the company found:
- Absenteeism caused by stress, anxiety, and depression dropped by 71%
- 84% of participants said they were relating to others better
- 82% saw an increase in the amount of exercise they did
- 77% said they saw an improvement in their diet or tackled drinking/smoking problems
- 54% saw an improvement in their sleeping patterns
A study conducted at the University of Washington found that those who had meditation training in the workplace were able to stay on task longer and were less distracted. Meditation also improved memory and alleviated stress in those that participated in the study.
The success of meditation within organizations can be found far and wide; a Detroit based chemical plant posted the following results three years after implementing meditation into their daily and weekly routines:
- Employee absenteeism fell by 85%
- Employee productivity rose 120%
- Injuries dropped 70%
- Profits increased 520%
Finding ways to implement meditation strategies into your company’s day-to-day lives can help set them up for success within your organization. Companies across the world have found the benefits of doing so and are seeing tremendous results within their teams.
Utilizing meditation techniques and practices isn’t necessarily closing your eyes, putting your fingers together, and saying “ohm” until you feel more relaxed. There are countless ways to take a few moments for yourself during the day to focus and recenter yourself, it’s just about setting your employees up for success in the workplace by providing them with healthy solutions to workplace stress.
Stats On the Importance of Meditation within the Workplace:
- Research on creativity suggests that we come up with our greatest insights and biggest breakthroughs when we are in a more meditative and relaxed state of mind. (Source)
- Meditation helps you focus. Research has shown that our minds have a tendency to wander about 50% of the time. Add in work interruptions, text messages, IMs, phone calls, and emails, and it’s no surprise that employees have a hard time staying focused. But studies show that meditation training can help curb our tendency for distraction, strengthening our ability to stay focused and even boosting memory. (Source)
- But R.W. (Buck) Montgomery found meditation improved the health of his company. He instituted it at his Detroit chemical manufacturing firm in 1983. Within three years, he said, 52 of the company’s 70 workers–ranging from upper management to production line employees–were meditating for 20 minutes before they came to work and 20 minutes in the afternoon, on company time. Over the next three years, absenteeism fell by 85%, productivity rose 120%, quality control rose 240%, injuries dropped 70%, sick days fell by 76%, and profit soared 520%, Montgomery said. (Source)
- Research on creativity suggests that we come up with our greatest insights and biggest breakthroughs when we are in a more meditative and relaxed state of mind. That is when we have “eureka” moments. This is likely because meditation encourages divergent thinking (i.e. coming up with the greatest number of possible solutions to a problem), a key component of creativity. (Source)
- Those trained in meditation stayed on tasks longer and made fewer task switches, as well as reporting less negative emotion after task performance, as compared with the other two groups. In addition, both the meditation and the relaxation groups showed improved memory for the tasks they performed.” (Source)