With the effects of stress costing USA workplaces an estimated $300 Billion per year (up to $2,000 per employee), many companies are creating programs and policies that reduce these costs and assist employees in their journeys toward wellness.
Some workplaces hire massage therapists, or bring in speakers that remind employees not to sweat the small stuff, to exercise daily, etc. Other employers are a little more innovative.
You’re going to learn about the practice of meditation rooms and wellness hours policies and a case study that proves it to be an impeccable workplace wellness program. Read the article, watch the video or both.
A meditation room, also known as a serenity room, is a place where employees can take mini-retreats for prayer, yoga, meditation or a few minutes of silence.
Some meditation rooms may have incense, cushions and guided meditation CD’s. Others may have a variety of scriptures depending on who their employees are. Sometimes secular is better. Regardless, they are places for reconnection, rejuvenation and refocusing.
Meditation rooms are not yet very common in the business world, but they are quickly becoming more popular with companies such as Apple. Meditation breaks are somewhat common, but the overall workplace culture does not necessarily support this practice.
The offering of employee wellness hours is a strategy for encouraging meditation at work. The concept is very simple. Each employee gets a particular amount of time each week to stop what they’re doing and do something positive for the spirit or the body. Quite often, this means meditation breaks.
The employee can leave the office at any time and go to the meditation room for stretching, prayer, contemplative activities and more. They just need to keep track of how much time they use and not go over the weekly allotted time.
A meditation break isn’t the only activity employees can use their wellness hours for, as we shall see in the following case study.
A Meditation at Work Case Study
A couple years ago, I spoke with a few people from an employee engagement company called Tribe Inc. Tribe Inc creates programs for their corporate clients such as Coca Cola. They strengthen the internal cultures of their clients’ workplaces with leadership training and a wide variety of other activities and programs.
Then company President Jennifer Bull loved to make sure her employees were happy and healthy. Each employee received three “wellness hours” per week on company time that they used for meditation, physical activity or anything healthy.
There was a meditation room in the workplace with guided meditation CD’s. There was also a river outside the office, and even a rink for ice hockey.
“Employees feel like they’re being treated like grown adults when they are managing their own time and productivity,” said Jennifer. She also said that employees get more done and become much happier as a result of this policy.
Tribe employee Wyatt Jefferies had this to say:
“I’ve worked at a lot of companies that claim to understand the need to engage employees and provide a work-life balance. But they always missed the mark because it was never authentic — just lip service. At Tribe, we drink our own champagne. We embody the culture and values we advocate for our clients.”
“When I first started at Tribe, the whole meditation thing seemed weird. But after a few sessions, I noticed that, no matter how underwater I felt before meditating, I would always return to my work feeling renewed and redirected. For a company to care enough about my well-being to invest in it is a big deal to me. And I do feel more productive.”
Lindsay Podrid, Tribe’s Creative Director, loved to play ice hockey during her wellness hours. Lindsay said that she felt more focused on her tasks, and she never had to worry about running to a gym after work. It was definitely a time saver.
Lindsay also meditated on occasion and claimed that it really helps. Sometimes she used her wellness time to hop on a treadmill, or stroll along the banks of the river in quietude.
If you really want a better explanation of who Tribe Inc is, you can visit their website at www.tribeinc.com. They tend to explain it better.
Businesses are about getting things done, right? Well, perhaps the understanding of this concept is beginning to change in the business culture as companies realize the importance of true burnout prevention in the workplace.
Rumor has it that Apple’s Cupertino, CA headquarters also features a meditation room and a total of 2.5 meditation/prayer hours per employee per week. This is unconfirmed. Their wellness director never responded to me.
Leave a comment if you know anything about this. For extra points: If you can confirm that Apple has similar programs for Chinese workplaces, I will personally do cartwheels on YouTube in celebration. That’s a promise. Hold me to it.
Other companies that encourage meditation, at work and at home, include Google, Yahoo, Nike, Toyota, IBM and Monsanto. Some of them have classes, and others just encourage such activities within their culture. Companies that do this usually boast a return on investment.
A Call to Action
Here are your marching orders if you choose to accept them.
Peace, wellness and bottom line really do go hand in hand. Maybe the best way to change the culture is to embody this principle, and prove it, like Tribe Inc employees and others have done.
We must normalize meditation at work and normalize wellness hours. No one should feel apprehensive about building a momentum of peace that flows through the entirety of the day, especially if it helps their productivity in the long run.
Jennifer from Tribe Inc said that there never was any awkwardness at her workplace when an employee slipped out for a refocusing session. This is because everyone was actively encouraged to participate in this practice.
Talk to HR and pitch a meditation room and a wellness hours policy. If you’re a boss, implement one of these programs and offer your workplace to researchers so that others may be inspired by your measurable results.
Once we get past anecdotes and get plenty of real numbers and stats, I truly believe that more companies will follow. Meditation in the workplace is an idea whose time has come.
Tom Von Deck is a meditation trainer, corporate speaker and author of Oceanic Mind – The Deeper Meditation Training Course. Tom specializes in making meditation a much easier and more customized journey for busy and non-busy people from all backgrounds and paths. He is the Mackdaddy of The Deeper Meditation Blog and DeeperMeditation.Net.
Do you meditate at work? Does your company have a meditation room and wellness hours policy? Share your experiences and ideas in the comments below.