Sit down.

Relax.

… But … tickets!

Breathe deeply.

Clear your mind.

In the fast-paced world of IT services, workplace meditation can seem counterintuitive. After all, there’s a lot of work to be done and only so many hours in the day. Sitting around and saying “oooooommmm” doesn’t get a major client’s network back online.

But what it can do, at least according to growing research, is improve work productivity and brain power.

Meditation might just make the difference between a good team and a great team.

C’mon… meditation? Really?

There are successful, respected, hard-working companies implementing some form of meditation or mindfulness with their employees right now.

Do you own any Nike shoes? Are you reading this article on an Apple product? Then you’re supporting a company that embraces meditation.

Soma, a water bottle manufacturer, offers its employees weekly guided meditations as one of its office perks. Soma employees are also encouraged to meditate daily on their own. Co-founder Mike Del Ponte says practicing mindfulness in this way has led to focused, relaxed, and happy workers.

In fact, almost a quarter of of Fortune 500 companies will be using some form of mindfulness or brain training by the end of 2017 as a way to improve employee health, productivity, and quality of life, says a report from Fidelity Investments and the National Business Group on Health.

If your company implements a meditation program, you won’t be alone. And you won’t be experimenting with some fringe science. You’ll be implementing a trusted practice that’s currently used by many successful companies all across the country.

workplace meditation tech engineers

Intel engineers meditating / Intel Free Press on Flickr

Science says…

Meditation makes you smarter and better at problem solving. A study from the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback found that people who meditated increase their IQ by an average of 23%.

Following up on the survey participants a year later, researchers discovered they were still reaping the benefits of meditation, retaining significant gains in creativity and concentration.

Another study from Consciousness and Cognition found that just 20 minutes of daily meditation improved memory and lowered stress levels. Participants who meditated scored an astonishing 10 times better on working memory tasks.

Smarter, better memory and creativity… but do these gains translate into greater productivity? A University of Washington study says yes. The study found that HR workers who participated in an eight-week meditation program concentrated better and stayed energized for longer periods.

Still not convinced? This analysis of more than 100 scientific studies on meditation outlines 76 benefits from practicing mindfulness, everything from regulating moods to reducing the risk of stroke.

Employees say…

An overwhelming majority of employees at BlackRock, a financial services company, believe meditation practices improve the company’s culture. More than half say it helps them manage themselves better at work.

Tara Brach, co-developer of an app called Mindfulness Daily at Work, echoes those findings: “It changes the culture of the workplace. … You see a whole new level of collaboration, productivity, and wellbeing.”

workplace meditation water drop

Photo: Pexels

Implementing a meditation program

If you don’t get buy-in from your staff, you won’t have a lot of success. So take a bit of time upfront to educate them on the many benefits of regular meditation. These tips from Golbie Kamarei, who implemented the program at BlackRock, can help.

From there, implementing a meditation practice in your company doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming. That’s because meditation can be effective in very small doses.

As little as 12 minutes a day can help you and your team start to see the benefits. It’s really not about counting hours, it’s about doing it regularly. Even remembering to take a few deep breaths periodically throughout the day can help you slip into a different state of mind.

Your team members might appreciate an app to help them stay on track. Headspace provides guided meditation and attempts to enhance mindfulness. The app offers “bite-size meditations for busy schedules,” which could make it ideal for scrambling IT teams.

Another helpful app is Buddhify, which offers guided meditations suited to a variety of daily situations (feeling stressed, walking around, eating, etc) and keeps track of how long and how often you meditate.

workplace meditation apps

Meditation apps: Headspace (left), Buddhify

If you’re really squeezed for time, you can show your team how to take advantage of these three-minute meditation techniques from Deepak Chopra. Remember, even a little bit helps.

Your turn

What do you think about workplace meditation as a productivity tool? Have you implemented a meditation practice in your MSP? Or have you worked somewhere where meditation guidance was offered? Leave a comment and let us know about your experiences.