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Meditation At Work: Why Companies Around The World Are Embracing Mindfulness

Written By Sean Grabowski

A passionate ambassador, educator and student of mindfulness and meditation. Advocate for unique experiences and life long learning.

February 1, 2021

The corporate world is a place that can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be a place with high levels of stress and burnout. In recent years, as our data collection capabilities have improved alongside modern technology, many companies have begun to prioritize the wellness of their employees. The newfound understanding is that when businesses do what they can to help keep their employees in tip-top shape, physically and mentally, they tend to provide a much higher quality of work. They also end up with the added benefit of their employees having a higher satisfaction with their workplace.

Piggy-backing off this wave of transformation is perhaps the most convincing form of employee wellness initiative; corporate mindfulness and meditation. This is in part due to the wellness wave, but also has a lot to do with our growing understanding of the benefits that meditation provides for the human brain. This research is about as conclusive as it comes, and high performers, entrepreneurs, work teams, and more have begun to embrace the practice to help themselves and the people around them be at their very best. Among the companies embracing this practice are Google, Microsoft, Apple, Nike, Lululemon, and many more. To summarize this trend in simple terms, here is a brief list of some of the main reasons companies around the world are bringing mindfulness and meditation to their employees.

Meditation & Mindfulness Reduce Workplace Stress

As you might expect, one of the main things meditation provides the most powerfully is relaxation. This is due to several things that happen with regular meditative sits; the slow breaths that actively lower our heart rate, the shrinking of the amygdala which causes stress and anxiety, and the thickening of grey matter in the brain responsible for emotional regulation. Meditation has been proven to be an effective tool to reduce stress levels by noteworthy percentages time and time again. As corporate employees continue to report higher levels of workplace stress with each passing year, companies are testing out the adoption of mindfulness and meditation for the employees. Nearly all of the companies with regular programming, lessons, or wellness workshops, are reporting decreased levels of stress across the teams that attend the events. For this main reason, many large companies are investing in mindfulness, but there are a host of other benefits to highlight as well.

Meditation Reduces Absenteeism

Stress as we know nowadays is the leading cause of disease and illness as it steals the body’s resources away from the immune system’s ability to heal and maintain. As a result of high stress in the workplace, companies often see high rates of absenteeism due to sick days, stress leave, and sabbaticals. As stated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States’ research paper titled “Stress at Work“, stress costs American companies alone an average of $300 billion dollars in stress-related expenses. The majority of these, due to absenteeism, as well as presenteeism which we will discuss in the next paragraph. Bringing stress-busting tools and techniques to work teams empowers them to fight stress more effectively, which not only benefits their personal lives, but it benefits your company. Employees with less stress are healthier, happier, more effective at work, and of course, they come to work more often. Less stress results in less absenteeism, and this is one of the key reasons why businesses around the globe are bringing mindfulness training to their teams and workers.

Meditation & Mindfulness Practice Improve Focus

The foundational exercise of meditation is on focus. The act itself is the practice of containing our attention, which as a result, combats stress, anxiety, as well as many other mental and physical health issues. As found in countless studies of the benefits and cognitive effects of regular meditation, it has been found that compared to non-meditators, regular meditators possess more control and stability within their ventral posteromedial cortex (vPMC), which is the brain region associated with mind-wandering and focus. Concentration can be enhanced with regular meditation exercises, and this is another main benefit of the practice that many of the businesses bringing this training to their teams are noticing in their staff. Employees who are more focused, are able to increase their productivity threshold, which not only reduces the pressure they feel, it helps the bottom line performance of the company they work for.

Meditation Boosts Creativity & Problem Solving

We all know how valuable creativity can be in the workplace. Creativity not only applies to artists, designers, and creative professions, it applies to pretty much anybody. Individuals with high levels of creativity are able to generate unique solutions and ideas the empower them to be high-level problem-solvers, regardless of their career path of choice. It also allows us to collaborate and communicate effectively, as even linking words and sentences together in a live conversation is inherently a creative talent. One of the key findings of the modern boom in meditation studies is that creativity is not just something we are born with, it is a skill that we can exercise. Previously, most psychologists believed that this exercise was mainly done through the arts, and through practicing creative skills like brainstorming and idea generation. We now know that meditation is another exercise that boosts creativity quite effectively. What we know about the neuroscience of meditation, is that regular meditation both thickens and strengthens the grey matter in the brain, and it strengthens the corpus callosum, the center that connects both hemispheres of the brain. This connectivity allows the methodical left brain to communicate with the creative power of the right brain much more rapidly and effecively. What modern science is revealing to us, is that just as bicep curls strengthen the arms, meditation is a workout for for our mind, and it enhances our cognition and creativity in a variety of ways. The power of this new awareness is helping innovative work teams do what they do best, harness creativity to change companies and the world for the better.

Meditation Improves Communication & Empathy

Humans are a social species. That is pretty much the bottom line. To emphasize this point further, the largest predictive indicator of employee success in the workplace has been found to be their communication skills. This applies not only to employees alone but to entire organizations. Many companies end up highly fragmented, with totally individual teams that rarely collaborate, or even understand what the other groups do on a daily basis. Many companies and businesses are looking to improve the communication and collaboration of their teams by adopting mindfulness and meditation practices. Studies have shown that mindful meditation improves emotional intelligence, which is being found to translate into improved communication at both work and home. Mindful communicators empathize better with their counterparts and collaborate to find results that work for everybody. I’m sure anybody can imagine how powerful this skill can be in a team environment like the workplace.

Meditation At Work Is A Low-Cost Solution To Employee Burnout, Workplace Stress, And Presenteeism.

Although there is no perfect cure to the challenges of employee wellness, mindfulness and meditation are very quickly becoming renowned as some of the most effective solutions to these problems yet to be tested. Companies across North America and the world are seeing the benefits of meditation at work in real-time. Their employees are reporting lower levels of stress, high levels of satisfaction and operations managers are seeing the benefits of these changes in their productivity numbers. All things considered, workplace stress has been said to cost companies a minimum of $600 per employee a year. Considering the size of the majority of work teams, the cost of weekly meditation packages, one time workshops, or custom mindfulness programming is proving to provide an excellent ROI across industries. Happy employees drive results, and they stay with your company, and that is the bottom line. Caring for them is the cornerstone of any business. Get in touch today to get a quote for mindfulness and meditation education for your team.

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