Harvard Business Review recently reported that meditation and intuition were two of the most important business tools for the 21st century.
There's a bunch of articles out there about businesses incorporating mindfulness into their development programmes or repurposing meeting rooms into spaces for meditation. And for good reason.... meditation and applying the principles of mindfulness can have big pay offs for business.
So why is meditation so good for business?
1. We make better decisions
Various internet sources say that the average adult makes about 35,000 decisions a day! That is literally mind blowing. Of course many of them are relatively simple such as what to eat or what to wear (though if you've ever stood in front of a wardrobe feeling like you have absolutely nothing to wear you'll know that can be a complex & fraught process!). But many decisions - particularly in our business lives - can have serious consequences; for ourselves, our clients, our colleagues... and our communities.
When we're stressed and anxious, our bodies full of adrenalin (further internet research will tell you at least 12 times a day we are faced with a 'flight or fight decision creating a surge of adrenalin and putting our whole system on a state of high alert), and our minds racing our ability to make good decisions is massively compromised.
A mentor of mine uses an analogy of a jar of water filled with gravel, sand and stones. When that jar is shaken it's murky. There is no clarity. But when the jar is put on the table and allowed to rest the particles fall to the bottom. The water becomes clear. There is clarity.
Our minds are a bit like that jar. They need to be given a chance to settle and calm... and then we can get clarity and make good decisions.
2. Improved Communication
Similar to making better decisions, a clear mind enables us to communicate more effectively, and communication is the foundation for all our business relationships. Internally with our teams, externally with our customers. Meditation supports us in both the communication of our message and more importantly in our ability to listen! Learning to be present and to really hear what another is saying can remove hours of lost productivity in resolving customer complaints or managing internal errors through miscommunication.
3. Reduced absenteeism
Stress is a fact of life in our fast paced world. However, meditation and other mindfulness practices help us effectively deal with stress, leading to improved health and wellbeing, improving our immunity and reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, clinical depression, and a myriad of other conditions that cause employee absenteeism.
4. Engaged employees are less likely to leave you
The Center for America Progress suggest the cost of losing an employee can be anywhere from 16% of their salary for hourly, unsalaried employees, to 213% of the salary for a highly trained position. So the higher up the food chain we go, the bigger the cost of turnover.
Actively supporting your employees wellbeing through a meditation programme (along side a culture that truly supports health & happiness) will build increased loyalty, engagement and commitment reducing your turnover.
5. Engaged, happy employees perform better
The only thing worse than high turnover is a team of disengaged and unhappy team members who stay! The mere fact that your organisation promotes employee wellbeing is a big win.
Shaw Anchor in his book "The Happiness Advantage" states that "happiness is the pre-cursor to success, not the result". If we want high performing business we need high performing individuals... and happy people perform better. Meditation is one tool to increase the happiness of your people and give them - and your business - a performance enhancing boost!
Incorporating meditation or any other employee wellbeing programme (in my view) should never be purely for economic gain. That completely misses the point!
Chirp only works with businesses that have a genuine intention around doing good for their people. If you want to use meditation to extract that last few drops of productivity from your team members or give them a panacea so they can survive the toxic environment or culture within the business - fix that first!
Chirp's "Focus" workshop explores the science behind why meditation works and incorporates practical exercises to help you focus your mind, calm your nervous system and use mindfulness to improve your productivity, your relationships and your happiness. Chirp can also arrange workplace meditation sessions with some of the best teacher's available!