Let's be real. Work can be stressful, and today’s employees are taking on more responsibilities than ever before. While we all know stress can’t be eliminated entirely, many companies are recognizing that they can help their employees manage stress and even become more productive by offering on-site meditation and yoga programs.
Don’t write meditation off as some mysterious, mystical practice, reserved for temples and hippies. Research has shown that practicing meditation actually changes the way the brain processes stress, decreasing the effects of stress, mild depression, and anxiety. This research also found that the meditators were calmer and happier in general than before the study. And guess what? Happier, calmer employees are in general more productive and efficient.
So it's not all that surprising that many big companies are bringing meditation into the workplace as a practical method of stress reduction and making it part of their corporate culture. Read on to learn more about how 5 top high-profile businesses are changing the game by... well, taking some time to just sit in silence.
If you know even a little about Apple’s corporate culture and Steve Jobs, you'll know that meditation and yoga have long been a part of work life at Apple. Steve Jobs not only attended regular meditation retreats, he was married in a Zen ceremony in 1991, and called several Buddhist monks lifelong friends.
Jobs referred to meditation as “practicing discipline” and some say this mindfulness and mental control is what helped him create such world-changing, innovative products. Jobs brought this love of mindfulness and meditation into the workplace, where employees are given 30 minutes each day to meditate, use a dedicated meditation room, or even slip into an on-site yoga or meditation class.
It’s no secret that “Googlers” are given some of the most amazing benefits of any company. But even with the awesome perks, working at a tech giant like Google can still bring on some stress. Chade-Meng Tan, one of Google’s early engineers (now holding the super cool title of Head of Personal Growth) brought meditation to the Google campus.
In 2007, Tan created a program called “Search Inside Yourself”, helping Googlers learn to breathe mindfully, calm the mind, develop focus and increase their emotional intelligence.
The company offers regular meditation space and meditation courses like “Search Inside Yourself” with the belief that meditation and mindfulness is not only great for the Googlers, it’s also great for Google’s bottom line.
This sports megabrand is another company actively incorporating meditation and mindfulness into the corporate culture. Nike employs a mindfulness and meditation coach who leads “mindful leadership” workshops for employees. Regular yoga and meditation classes are also available on-site, as well as special relaxation rooms where employees are encouraged to nap if they need to, and of course, meditate.
4. AOL Time Warner
The past 20 years have seen huge changes for the media giant: mergers, management changes, and yes – meditation. In 2000, AOL Time Warner reduced its sales and marketing force by one-third, leaving the remaining 500 to deal with 12 hour workdays and a high stress load. The company added meditation classes and quiet meditation and relaxation space for employees to help refresh and de-stress during those long marathon work days.
Some companies, like pharmaceutical heavy-hitter, AstraZeneca, are using meditation to break up super tedious day-long meetings. The company now offers meditation courses during and after these regular meeting marathons as a more refreshing, less sugar coma-inducing alternative to the usual coffee and danish break.
We realize that these companies are huge global companies that offer tons of perks and benefits to their teams. But that doesn't mean small and medium size companies can’t offer meditation breaks as well as other wellness programs as well. Meditation programs are easy to implement for any company that wants to reap the benefits of more balanced, less stressed team members.
If you’re ready to add mindfulness, reduced stress and increased productivity to your corporate wellness program? Let Fitspot help you get started today! Our team will be happy to have a conversation with you to give you all the details.