Whether it's due to family challenges at home, external stressors like finances or the economy, or something entirely job-related, stress is the enemy of a happy and productive workforce.
Meditation is the most well-known (and proven) activity for stress relief. And, since it's relatively easy and low-cost to implement, it works wonders in a corporate setting.
As an employer, you can encourage meditation to help your employees reduce their stress and improve their well-being. That's what corporate meditation programs are for.
What is a corporate meditation program?
A corporate meditation program is an organized effort to introduce meditation practices into the workplace. It's a structured approach aimed at promoting mindfulness and reducing stress among your employees.
Depending on your company's culture, size, and resources, meditation programs could take various forms. Generally, they involve incorporating a variety of meditation activities and techniques into the workday or arranging a fixed daily/weekly meditation time that employees can participate in.
Meditation practice could be a game-changer for your work environment.
83% of US employees deal with workplace stress, according to a new report published by the American Institute of Stress. Of those who do, 25% say work is far and away the number-one cause of their stress-related symptoms.
There's a strong, well-documented connection between mental health and task performance at work. So, prioritizing employee mental health should be at the top of the list for every business leader.
Regular meditation practice offers untold benefits for the workplace.
Whether it's an in-person or virtual meditation program, there are several ways that employees and companies can benefit from incorporating mindfulness into their work routines.
- A healthier workplace. Incorporating meditation techniques into the workday means reduced stress levels and better overall employee well-being. According to Mayo Clinic, other health benefits of meditation include better heart health, lower blood pressure, better sleep quality, and a lower risk of illnesses like cancer and depression.
- Improved focus and concentration. Better sleep + lower stress in the workplace = increased energy and mental clarity.
- Enhanced creativity. Research points to meditation's ability to alter the brain's structure and connectivity in a way that increases activity in the brain's default mode network, which is responsible for creative thinking and working memory capacity.
- Better teamwork. Regular meditation fosters empathy and understanding, leading to better interpersonal relationships among team members.
- Improved job satisfaction. When employees are less stressed and more focused, they tend to be happier with their work. In addition to better work performance, this also reduces absenteeism and turnover associated with low satisfaction levels.
Aside from that, it's a relatively inexpensive way to support your employees' mental health. For a skilled mindfulness meditation facilitator, you're normally only looking at a few hundred dollars per session.
Corporate meditation is an inclusive employee benefit.
Meditation is certainly more common in certain demographic categories and cultures, but it's a universal activity that can benefit anyone. By offering your employees access to meditation programs at their workplace, you're making a diversity-centric wellness decision.
Corporate meditation programs are available for any worker regardless of age, gender identity, or physical abilities. They make the practice accessible and beneficial for all employees, regardless of their prior experience or knowledge.
As an employer, you give your employees a valuable tool to help them reduce stress and stimulate creativity and productivity. Done successfully, you're also creating an outlet for team building — those who participate develop a sense of camaraderie.
Education on the topic can make all the difference.
Over the last decade, the number of Americans who meditate has tripled. Aside from those who practice mindfulness meditation, there are millions more who are aware of its benefits.
But many give up fairly quickly. According to Dr. Gary Soffer of Yale Medicine, that's because "they think they aren’t doing it properly."
While he further explains there's no 'right' or 'wrong' way to practice meditation, a corporate program can provide the necessary education and support for employees to develop a consistent practice. This could lead to lasting benefits both in and out of the workplace.
Before creating a corporate meditation program...
...you'll need a few things:
- proof there's a reason for it, so you can get buy-in from senior leadership.
- research on the best practices and techniques that you should be implementing
- a plan to create an inclusive program that covers the different needs of all employees
- a measure for success (how can you tell if your corporate meditation program is working?)
Start by running an employee benefits survey. Ask your employees basic questions about their work-related stress, mental health, and overall interest in joining meditation classes through the company.
If employees largely favor the program, use the data from your survey to get leadership buy-in. Then, work together to track enrollment levels and overall work performance/engagement.
Ways to implement a meditation program at your company
There are plenty of ways to get your team involved in mindfulness meditation, no matter if they're on-site or entirely remote.
Here's a look at your different options for corporate mindfulness meditation (and how much they cost).
On-site meditation classes
On-site corporate meditation classes are popular for larger businesses with dedicated office space.
These types of classes can have several different structures:
- A certified meditation facilitator visits the office to lead group meditation sessions
- A specialist in corporate mindfulness curates a package based on your needs and company size
- In addition to meditation, the specialist hosts workshops for stress management or mindful leadership.
Cost: These classes can vary based on the instructor's experience, your office location (e.g., New York will be on the higher end), and the duration and frequency of sessions. You can expect to spend anywhere from $200-$1,000 per 60-minute session or several thousand for the total course or session package.
Virtual meditation sessions
For those working with remote teams, virtual meditation classes are a fantastic alternative to on-site options. They offer the same benefits as in-person classes and are usually led by certified instructors with experience with online meditation sessions.
The perfect remote employee perk!
Cost: Virtual meditation sessions generally cost less. $200-$600 per meditation session is standard, depending on the instructor's experience and the group size.
Company-sponsored meditation app subscriptions
This is the easiest and lowest-cost option for employers. You're giving employees access to wellness benefits they can use on their own terms.
There are plenty of apps you can consider offering your team members:
- Insight Timer
- Ten Percent Happier
- Simple Habit
Cost: Meditation apps generally cost between $50 and $75 per user per year. As a business, you might be able to work with the app developers to negotiate a price break for a large number of employee subscriptions.
A designated meditation room in the office
Like on-site meditation, this is really meant for large companies. Google's and YouTube's headquarters in the San Francisco Bay Area are the perfect example.
Their 'meditation chambers' (pictured above) are immersive spaces employees are free to use throughout the workday. The doors are always open whether they need one-time stress relief or a 30-minute daily meditation practice.
Sensory deprivation, light shows, and sound insulation are a few things that make these spaces so cool. They offer a quiet reprieve from loud office environments and the other noises of city life.
Cost: Cost is subjective as office space can be expensive (Google probably spent millions on these, but they also, clearly, went above and beyond). If you're considering repurposing a space in your current office, it would depend on available resources and how much renovation work is needed. Another option would be renting an office or providing access to a coworking space with a meditation room.
Off-site retreats are much more immersive. They can be a welcomed change of pace for employees because they take place somewhere away from work (and life), such as in the Colorado mountains or Costa Rican jungle.
A retreat would typically include:
- Activities like yoga, hiking, or spa treatments (in addition to meditation)
- Workshops on stress management and mindful leadership
Cost: A company retreat can be expensive, depending on how elaborate you want it to be. All-inclusive packages generally start around $5,000 to $20,000 for a weekend retreat. Usually, employees still pay a small portion.
1:1 mindfulness training
High-level executives might benefit from personalized mindfulness training. Execs almost always work in a high-stress work environment and don't have much time to practice mindfulness independently.
Unlike other options, 1:1 mindfulness training is less an employee perk and more a tool to support executive performance.
Cost: The cost of this kind of coaching can range anywhere from $500 per session to upwards of $5,000, depending on the expertise of the coach and value perception from the exec.
Combat stress in the workplace with a Health and Wellness Stipend.
While a meditation app or meditation class membership can go a long way toward promoting employee wellness, every team is made up of individuals with different preferred outlets to relieve stress: exercise, meditation, time with family, etc.
By offering a health and wellness stipend, employees can find balance however in the way that works best for them, which means a healthier, happier workforce.
Webflow uses Compt to offer employees $200/month health and wellness stipends. They're 100% tax-compliant, easy to account for, and can help you achieve engagement rates as high as 90%. See how you can do the same.