Group Guided Meditation in the Workplace
We have all heard the typical benefits of meditation ad nauseam. Corporations & businesses across the country have taken notice too. Executives have seen levels of stress & anxiety rising amongst their employees and know that meditation at work is part of the solution.
Tech companies are setting aside space for corporate meditation rooms and many are hiring in-house meditation teachers & facilitators.
However, there are many applications of meditation in the corporate world that go far beyond stress relief & the present moment. And few companies have realized them.
So, in this article, I hope to shed some light on the more interesting uses of group guided meditation at work, and why meditation is important in the workplace, not only to reduce stress but also to increase profits.
Benefits of Meditation in the Workplace
Most corporations & executives understand only a limited scope of applications & benefits of meditation in the workplace. Many think of meditation as boring and see little use in “clearing your mind” in the corporate world.
And I don’t blame them!
This is due in large part to the popularity of mindfulness meditation, a practice of meditation derived from Buddhism that centers around non-attachment to one’s thoughts, clearing the mind & focusing on the present moment.
While there is a ton of scientific research to support the benefit of mindfulness meditation for employee’s mental health, it has few applications outside of stress & anxiety reduction.
In fact, the Harvard Business Review recently published an article discussing a study that found, while it can increase productivity & relaxation, mindfulness is actually a demotivator! Participants in this study found their enthusiasm for their work decline after engaging in mindfulness meditation. But this shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering mindfulness is about detaching and simply observing one’s thoughts & actions.
Fortunately for business owners, applications & benefits of meditation at work go far beyond mindfulness & existentialism.
When used in a targeted, goal-oriented way, guided meditation can be used to increase focus & creative problem-solving ability. By getting in-house facilitators proper guided meditation training, focused on practical applications, meditation can serve as a motivator in the workplace & still provide the stress relief afforded by mindfulness.
Guided meditation can be used to increase productivity, cooperation & profits in the corporate world when focus on helping employees & executives access the higher cognitive functions necessary to make the decisions and move the needle on business objectives.
So, let’s discuss what that would look like in practice.
Opening a Business Meeting with a Meditation
Meditation has been proven to produce flow, an electrochemical brain state that produces rapid-fire decision making & problem-solving ability. Using meditation to open a meeting can help employees enter this beneficial frame of mind and drastically increase the efficiency of this all too often inefficient use of time & resources.
So, what’s the reasoning behind this claim?
Well, there are many, but here are a few:
1. Flow electrochemistry reduces fear of judgement
While in a flow state, blood is sent away from the parts of the brain which control our self-criticism & supplied to the areas of the brain associated with creative thinking. This means employees, management & executives will feel more inclined to participate in discussion and formulate & share their ideas. This means a quick meditation can shift the focus of a business meeting toward the objectives of the group, and reduce inhibition of introverted employees to state their opinions.
2. Meditation puts everyone “on the same wavelength”
It only takes about 6 to 10 minutes of meditation to shift our brainwaves from beta (typical during waking consciousness) to alpha. In an alpha state, we are able to think more methodically, learn more efficiently, and simultaneously be more calm & mentally alert. Because each individual comes into a meeting with varying levels of stress, energy, and focus, using a meditation to open a meeting can, literally, put all participants on the same brain wavelength & improve collective cooperation.
3. Guided meditation increases focus
Digital distraction is an issue plaguing all businesses bottom line today. Employees are often bouncing between emails, social media & the task at hand. These frantic, scattered & inefficient workflows ultimately have a dramatic negative impact on company performance when multiplied across an entire organization. A meditation at the beginning of a meeting will reduce activity in the default mode network (the neural network we use to daydream & worry) & activate the neural network we use to focus & get things done (the Task Positive Network).
In-House Guided Meditation for Executives
Executives are tasked with the responsibility of making decisions. Clarity of mind, perspective, and balanced nervous system activity are essential when taking actions that affect the health of an entire organization.
An in-house guided meditation facilitator can use meditation to help executives improve cognitive function, explore the outcomes of different decisions & find creative solutions to difficult problems.
If your facilitator has experience with targeted, pragmatic applications of guided meditation for executive decision making, 1-on-1 office meditations can become an invaluable component of the daily/weekly schedules of your C-Suite execs.
Corporate Meditation Team-Building Events
Team-building events rarely add any real value to employees, other than a brief reprieve from the pressures of work. Hosting a corporate meditation event can change that.
Guided meditation experiences are inherently personal and are both efficient and effective at delivering unique value to each individual at scale.
That being said, be sure not to hire a stereotypical meditation teacher who will inspire a collective eye roll in a business setting. Also, I would avoid mindfulness teachers for reasons I explained above, and frankly, because it’s boring.
Ensure the facilitator has experience leading other corporate meditation team-building events and training in a guided meditation methodology that focuses on guided imagery & visualization.
These are just a few ways meditation in the workplace can benefit an entire organization from intern to executive. If you’re interested in learning more or training a current or future in-house guided meditation facilitator for your company, feel free to check out our meditation teacher training curriculum.