One of the few good things about 2022 is that the general public has started talking about ways to integrate wellness practices into the workplace post-Covid 19.
According to research conducted by the Pew Research Center, one-third of Americans have said that they experienced high forms of psychological distress during the pandemic. Moreover, women in the workplace have reported feeling an increase in depression and anxiety.
A survey by Total Brain shows that since February, there has been a 52 percent increase in anxiety among females and a 29 percent increase among men in the workplace. According to this survey, depression in working women has increased by 83 percent as compared to 36 percent.
The need for mental health practices, such as meditation and better office furniture, especially standing desks, is crucial for a healthy workplace. Regular meditation practices have long-lasting benefits, from creating stronger bonds between employees to increase productivity.
Here are some incredible workplace benefits of meditation:
Helps Lower Prejudice
For years, meditation has been known to increase compassion and empathy. Current research shows that it has a wonderful effect on prosocial behaviors, which in turn has led to a decrease in prejudice at the workplace. Even though research is still relatively new, it seems promising.
More and more research is pointing to the idea that group meditation helps build communication, compassion, and a sense of community at the workplace. This kind of self-awareness is crucial if you want to manage a team and ensure that smart business decisions are being made. After all, these decisions affect your business and society.
According to a study done by the University of California, Davis, Center for Mind and Brain in 2018, and found in the Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, the practice of meditation helps increase the ability to pay attention for longer periods of time.
When this study scheduled a follow-up interview with its participants, it found that the benefits were still present. Improved cognition helps strengthen the brain's problem-solving as well as decision-making skills. In turn, this improves crisis management, as well as critical thinking.
Counters Burnout and Stress
For years, it has been known that an immediate benefit of meditation is that it reduces the amount of stress in the body. This is done by reducing the cortisol produced in the body and brain. According to a study done by the Center of Mind and Brain at UC Davis in 2013, there is a strong connection between cortisol and mindfulness. The study showed that participants were able to see major benefits and changes in just a couple of weeks of meditation.
One of the biggest workplace benefits of meditation is that it produces lasting and instantaneous results. Hence, we recommend incorporating daily meditation practices in corporate settings.
Group Meditation Increases Collaboration
All over the world, workplaces are using group meditation to increase the quality of work produced, as well as to improve innovation and collaboration among employees. Even though workplaces were practicing meditation in pre-pandemic times, more and more corporate businesses are figuring out how to include mindfulness practices in the daily lives of employees.
As we move forward, we do not know when the world will return back to its pre-pandemic state. Hence, employers have been urging employees to practice mindfulness at home to curb stress and increase work quality.
Helps Control Emotional Outbursts
To build compassionate leadership, it is important to control strong emotional outbursts and to stay focused at all times. This does not mean that mindfulness discourages emotions. It means that rather than letting anger and stress get the better of you, it teaches one to let go and think of solutions. This leads to increased focus, which is crucial for compassionate leadership.
A study produced by APA showed that individuals who practiced mindfulness and meditated regularly were more likely to disengage from content that was emotionally upsetting. They found it relatively easy to focus on their work, as opposed to individuals who were exposed to the same content but did not practice meditation.
The practice of mindfulness improves problem-solving skills, as well as the skill to think outside the box. According to research conducted by the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, there has been a link between creativity and mindfulness.
This link has shown that practicing meditation at the workplace makes it easier to solve problems as there is lower cognitive rigidity. The more a person practices mindfulness at the workplace, the more likely they are to have creative and bold ideas that will change their future and greatly benefit the workplace.
Strengthens Immune Systems
Meditation has loads of benefits on human health. One of its greatest benefits is that it helps boost the immune system. This is done by causing increased activity in some parts of the brain that are command centers for the immune system.
Higher immunity is a great asset to have at the workplace. It ensures that your employees remain healthy and that their bodies are less vulnerable to infections and diseases. Moreover, having a strong immune system is extremely important during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
How to Get Your Employees to Meditate at the Workplace
Meditation is simple. You do not need any special equipment or instructions to get your employees to practice meditation at the workplace.
Here are some ways to get started:
Pick an Appropriate Time
The idea is that your employees should get into the habit of meditating every single day at the same time. This will help them associate that time period with the practice of meditation and will ensure that they learn to schedule work around it.
Studies show that the morning is the best time to practice mindfulness. It will help your employees get ready for a difficult work at day, ensuring that they can cope with anything thrown their way.
Choose a Peaceful Setting
Take a poll and ask your employees what part of the office they find the most peaceful. Meditate in the area that wins the most votes and make it a part of their routine. The idea is to pick a spot that is free from distractions and noises so that your employees can learn to relax.
It is very important that meditation is not conducted in a loud environment or in a place where other employees continue to work. Not only will this waste time since individuals will not be able to focus on meditation, but it will also cause a sense of urgency as they will look at their fellow colleagues and feel like they are missing out on important work and deadlines during this time.
Give Basic Instructions
There are loads of workplace benefits of meditation, but the key is to follow the correct techniques. Don't worry; it is not rocket science. Your employees do not need to learn complicated steps and procedures to reap the benefits of mindfulness.
Encourage your employees to meditate at work by giving them these instructions:
Step 1: Find a comfortable spot to sit and keep your eyes closed.
Step 2: Slowly inhale. Take a long, deep breath through your nose.
Step 3: Slowly exhale through your mouth.
Step 4: Repeat steps 2 and 3 a couple of times. Try to block out exterior distractions and noises. Focus only on your breathing.
Step 5: Slowly open your eyes and look around you. Give yourself a couple of seconds to take everything in before you get back to work. You may even stretch or crack your back to feel more relaxed. This will get you ready for a long, stressful day at work without taking a toll on your mental health.
There are incredible workplace benefits to meditation. However, before you can get your employees to practice this form of mindfulness, you need to educate them on the benefits of meditation and help them understand how it will affect their personal and work lives.
We would also recommend hiring a professional meditation instructor who can come down to your in-office meditation sessions and correctly help employees learn how to meditate. If you do not have the resources for this, you can appoint one individual to learn meditation techniques using guides videos available online. This person can then lead fellow employees.
You also need to determine how frequently you want these meditation sessions to take place and how long they should be. You must ensure that these sessions are set based on your employees' schedules so that every individual can attend them without feeling overwhelmed with the work they left behind.