The office environment has evolved quite a bit since the days of tiny cubicles and headache-inducing fluorescent lights. The concept of cultivating a healthy work environment has skyrocketed in popularity in the past few years, and for good reason – workers really do benefit from a relaxed office atmosphere.
How are these healthy environments cultivated, exactly? Different offices have different methods – frommeal stipends to Summer Fridays – but the most recent (and dare we say, most popular) change has been the utilization ofmeditation in the workplace.
Incorporating meditation at work is a relatively new idea that emphasizes boosted productivity as a result of a relaxed mindset and increased mindfulness.
Let’s dive into the major elements of mindfulness: From creating a space to crafting new habits, we’ll show you how to use meditation in the workplace to create an ideal work environment.
Understanding the Importance of Meditation in the Workplace
Working a typical 9-to-5 can be draining for even the most well-balanced office employees. With few breaks and lots of time hunched over staring at a screen, mental, emotional, and physical fatigue is common, as well as high stress levels.
Stress Levels and Employee Performance
Workplace stress is on the rise in almost every part of the United States. There are a lot of reasons for this (repercussions of the pandemic, economic factors, workload, low pay, etc.), and all of them result in a decrease in workplace productivity.
The American Institute of Stress offers us some shocking numbers:
- Over 62% of surveyed office workers reported extremely high levels of workplace stress, extreme fatigue, and a lack of control
- 42% of surveyed office workers reported at least 15-30+ minutes per day of lost productivity due to stress
- 54% of surveyed office workers reported missing over 2 days of work due to stress-related burnout
While there is no cure-all answer to eradicating high office stress levels completely, incorporating guided meditation into the work environment has been shown to be a significantly successful way to reduce the amount of mind wandering, fatigue, and lack of focus in the office.
Benefits of Meditation at Work
Aside from having a happier workforce, there are many reasons why regular meditation practice in the office is so successful – most of them relating back to mental health:
More Mindfulness, Less Stress
Stress comes from all kinds of places, and work is no exception. A Stanford study shows us that incorporating mindfulness meditation can yield up to a 30% reduction in stress (especially among employees already struggling with serious illness).
Meditation Boosts Self Confidence
A lack of confidence in the office doesn’t just stress people out – it can sometimes affect one's leadership abilities, mood, and overall productivity. A few minutes of meditation each day allows us moments of introspection, self-awareness, and observation, leading to a better understanding of our strengths.
Meditation Can Ease Workplace Tension
Miscommunications and misunderstandings can be inevitable in stressed environments. The good news is that meditation has been shown to ease that stress and frustration between workers and promote constructive problem solving, even during disagreements.
Meditation Improves Wellbeing
The Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine published a groundbreaking study in which a group of employees were divided (one group taking an online guided meditation course, the other not). The results showed a massive division: After six months, the wellbeing of the participatory group was overwhelmingly higher than those who did not participate.
Implementing Meditation in the Office
Promote a Supportive Culture
Group meditation can be a little vulnerable for some people. Taking a moment to stretch, breathe, and be mindful is a pretty emotional practice, after all! This is why we recommend ensuring your office maintains an inclusive, open mind about practicing mindfulness. Encourage participation and support for all who want to join and emphasize that all skill levels are welcome.
You can also start with very small increments, like 5-minute classes per day (this can help those who are tight on time feel that they can participate).
Incorporate Meditation Breaks
You may notice that even after adding a guided meditation course to the office schedule, attendance is low. This happens and is often because many employees simply feel that they don’t have time for a break between workloads (especially during certain times of the year).
To combat this, try to add meditation breaks into everyone’s schedule. Whether these breaks be online or in-person, having them on the work schedule allows employees to feel like that time is allotted specifically for meditation!
Organizing meditation workshops for employees is the perfect way to foster a culture of mindfulness and well-being. These workshops can be scheduled regularly, providing dedicated time for employees to engage in meditation practices that promote relaxation, focus, and stress reduction.
We suggest collaborating with experienced meditation instructors or mindfulness experts to lead these sessions, ensuring that employees receive the guidance and support they need to thrive in their practice.
Tap Into Resources
There are so many resources and apps available to support individuals in their meditation and mindfulness journey! Here are a few of our favorites:
For more information, we’ve got a great blog post that goes into the pros, cons, and details of the most popular mental health apps.
Allow for Flexibility
Finally, one of the best ways to implement meditation in the workplace is to foster an environment that allows for flexibility and empowers employees to choose the technique that resonates with them the most (I.e., some employees may prefer mindfulness meditation, while others may find guided visualization more appealing. We’ll get into these in just a moment).
Recognizing that different individuals have unique preferences and needs when it comes to meditation is key, as offering a variety of options is great for inclusivity and maximizing participation. By providing access to diverse meditation practices, employees can explore and find the approach that best suits their personality, comfort level, and goals.
Types of Workplace Meditation Techniques
Meditation comes in many forms, from deep breathing to guided visualization. Here are some of the best meditation practices for the office environment:
Suitable Meditation for the Office
- Breathing Meditation: The easiest to implement (and one of the most effective), breathing meditation is a simple practice to get in touch with the present moment. To implement this exercise, find a quiet space (Ideally you should find a quiet space for this, but sitting at a desk works too). Instruct everyone to close their eyes, inhale through their nose for 3 seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and exhale through the mouth for 4 seconds. Repeat for about a minute at a time.
- Guided Visualization: As an imagination-heavy practice, this type of meditation is best led by a trained meditation practitioner, but it’s not required. To begin, find a quiet room (this can be a spare office or conference room)
- Mindfulness Meditation: This is a practice that involves cultivating a state of non-judgmental awareness and focused attention on the present moment. A centuries-old technique rooted in Buddhist traditions, the concept of practicing mindful meditation has gained widespread popularity in recent years due to the numerous benefits (both mental and physical). During mindfulness meditation, individuals are encouraged to observe their thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations without attaching judgment or getting caught up in them.
Measuring the Impact
Evaluating the effectiveness of meditation programs in the workplace is crucial, as it provides valuable insights into whether the program is achieving its intended goals and delivering the desired outcomes.
By monitoring the impact of meditation on employee well-being, mental health, workplace stress, job satisfaction, and productivity, you can determine and show whether the investment in such programs is justified.Moreover, measuring the impact of meditation helps in identifying areas for improvement and refining program design. Here are some great options:
A fantastic way to measure the impact of regular meditation practice is to design surveys that capture relevant aspects of employee well-being and job performance. These surveys can include questions about stress levels, job satisfaction, focus and concentration, interpersonal relationships, and overall work-life balance.
To take it further, you can also add specific questions to gauge the frequency and duration of meditation practice, perceived benefits, and any challenges faced. We suggest administering these surveys both before and after the introduction of a meditation program to assess changes over time!
Many companies already track these metrics regularly, but it’s good to note! Productivity levels can be assessed by measuring individual or team output (completed tasks, projects, or sales targets). This can be done through regular progress reports, performance evaluations, or project management tools.
Additionally, employee satisfaction surveys or feedback mechanisms can gauge the overall happiness and engagement, providing insights into their perception of their work environment and its impact on their productivity.
Take a Deep Dive into Meditation
We hope this blog has helped you incorporate mindfulness into your workspace! For those looking to expand their journey into mindfulness even further, we suggest enrolling in our Chopra Meditation Certification – you’ll get an in-depth, immersive look at meditation research from all sides.
With an expansive toolkit, this course focuses on training students to share their knowledge on Primordial Sound Meditation and eventually earn their meditation teacher certification.