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)
a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.
Through our research, we have looked deep into the heart of companies to find ways in which their employees can become more engaged and enthralled in their day-to-day lives in a professional setting. “Stress is the no. 1 epidemic of our civilization,” according to author Deepak Chopra. “Indirectly or directly, it’s related to things like insomnia, anxiety, fear, but [also] cardiovascular illness, inflammation in the body, heart disease, autoimmune illnesses. So meditation is a very effective way to start tackling this problem, this epidemic of stress.”
Think to the last time you were sitting at your desk at work, that may even be right now. Now think of how often your mind wandered or how often you were distracted by things like text messages, personal (and professional) emails, phone calls, social media, and the like. It’s probably much more than you may realize. In fact, research has shown that our minds wander 50% of the time which can have a detrimental effect on everything from productivity to stress levels.
What’s a company or even employee supposed to do to remain productive throughout their day and focused on their day-to-day tasks? For some, it can seem as if this is an impossible feat in the age of technology. However, this isn’t the case, it’s even more so the opposite. Mindfulness has been proven to boost everything from morale to productivity to many things in between.
Countless studies have been done regarding the effects of mindfulness in the workplace and beyond. According one study, after two weeks of mindfulness training, participants found an “increased sense of well-being, decreased emotional exhaustion at work, and even increased job satisfaction.” The benefits of mindfulness have been proven time and time again; some statistics on people who practice it have included results like:
- Heart rate, respiration, blood pressure and oxygen consumption are all decreased.
- People who deliberated daily were less fearful of death.
- Production of the stress hormone Cortisol is greatly decreased, thus making it possible for those people to deal with stress better when it occurs.
- Women with PMS showed symptom improvements after 5 months of steady daily rumination and reflection.
- Thickness of the artery walls decreased which effectively lowers the risk of heart attack or stroke by 8% to 15%.
- Relaxation therapy was helpful in chronic pain patients.
- 60% of anxiety prone people showed marked improvements in anxiety levels after 6-9 months.
These benefits aren’t solely personal either. In fact, many companies have found tremendous success in the workplace by providing their employees with opportunities and practice mindfulness throughout their day.
Organizations and businesses alike have an incredible opportunity to develop a life-changing experience for their employees by giving them the tools for success and helping them succeed both in and outside of the workplace. We have found that when companies actively participate in their employee’s goals both personally and professionally, the results can be staggering.
Through daily and weekly mindfulness practices, you can elevate your company to its fullest potential and provide your employees with a desire to push themselves and the company further.
Stats On the Importance of Mindfulness within the Workplace:
- The connection between mindfulness and well-being has been a consistent finding in almost 10 years of research. One study found that two weeks of mindfulness training increased well-being, decreased emotional exhaustion at work, and even increased job satisfaction. (Source)
- Use mindfulness to help clients: become more self-aware (70%); be calmer or less anxious (59%); manage stress (55%); be more centred (55%); manage reactions or responses (51%); gain clarity (47%); improve their wellbeing (45%); be more emotionally intelligent (39%); and see the bigger picture (36%), among other reasons. (Source)
- Aetna estimates that since instituting its mindfulness program, it has saved about $2,000 per employee in healthcare costs, and gained about $3,000 per employee in productivity. (Source)