9 Benefits of Meditation in the Workplace and How to Get Started

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Three and a half years ago, in September 2020, I was thrilled to accept a job offer at UKG. This was a new turn of events for me after having worked in the field – standing all day – as a filmmaker for most of my career. Despite a great ergonomic setup for my remote workspace and knowing I should stand every 20-30 minutes; I did not anticipate getting lost in time and sitting for hours. One day my back seized up, went into spasms, and I started to feel twangs I had never felt before. My physical therapist suggested meditation as a way to “meet and release the pain.” I have been meditating for the past 15 years and I know it has incredible benefits for the mind. However, I had never realized it can also help us navigate and overcome physical pain. New research now backs this fact and thankfully the meditation has helped. As an employee, this means I can get my work done and I am more engaged when not distracted by muscle spasms and trying to remember whether I can take more ibuprofen.  

Meditation can benefit everyone in the workplace, not just those in physical pain. The benefits have been discussed at least as far back as the 1980s and, according to the Harvard Business Review, as of 2022, more than half of American businesses include meditation in their wellness programs. As we are learning to navigate a new era of business – remote and hybrid work environments, the focus on people-centered management, and even the mainstreaming of AI – now may be the time for businesses that haven’t yet embraced meditation to look into the benefits of this ancient practice to help improve culture and the bottom line alongside some of the new technologies that are so rapidly evolving.  

As we are learning to navigate a new era of business, now may be the time for businesses that haven’t yet embraced meditation to look into the benefits of this ancient practice to help improve culture and the bottom line.  



What is meditation? 


Some believe that meditation – from the Latin meditari, meaning “to ponder” – may be as old as humankind. There is archeological evidence of meditation being used in various religious practices as far back as 5000 BCE. But the formalized practice of meditation – centered on connecting with the deep inner self – originated in India during the Vedic period (1500-500 BCE).  

Today, the most common form of modernized meditation is the act of sitting and quieting the mind, but it can also be many things. For example:   

  • Written meditation can be done like writing in a journal  
  • Walking meditation wherein you mindfully experience the subtle sensations that happen while walking 
  • Cleaning can be meditative and support focus 
  • The discipline of listening to a piece of music or an audio book 

Overall, meditation can be many acts of mindfulness and awareness building. 

The Benefits of Meditation in the Workplace 


How do the health and wellness benefits of meditation translate to the workplace? As the modern workplace looks to focus on culture, incorporating a practice that supports mindfulness, helps to relieve stress and anxiety, and boosts creativity is a natural fit. 

According to The Mayo Clinic, benefits of meditation include 

1. Stress management skills  

Through regular meditation, individuals can learn techniques to calm the mind, relax the body, and cultivate a sense of inner peace. In addition to reducing immediate effects of stress, it also helps build resilience over time, allowing them to handle challenging situations with greater ease. 

2. Increased self-awareness 

Meditation promotes self-awareness by encouraging people to observe their own thoughts, emotions, and body without judgement. This increased awareness allows for self-reflection on patterns of behavior, beliefs, and reactions to foster personal growth and development. 

3. Reduction of negative emotions 

Meditation fosters mindfulness and emotional regulation which can lead to a decrease in emotional reactivity, situational anxiety, and depression, while developing a greater emotional resilience and more stable moods.  As individuals develop a deeper understanding of their own emotions and reactions, they become more capable of maintaining composure in difficult situations. 

4. Increased imagination and creativity 

By quieting the mind and allowing space for new ideas to emerge, meditation can unlock creativity and inspire fresh perspectives on problem-solving and decision-making. 

5. Improved focus, cognition, and memory 

Through mindful meditation, individuals can train their minds to stay present and focused, which can lead to improvements in attention, cognitive function, and memory. In turn, it’s possible to see an increase in productivity.  

6. Increased productivity and quality of work engagement 

Meditation helps in the development of greater focus, resilience, and emotional intelligence resulting in more engagement and productivity in work. By reducing distractions and enhancing cognitive abilities, meditation allows employees to perform more efficiently and produce higher-quality work. 

7. Direct counteracting of stress and burnout 

Meditation serves as a remedy for stress and burnout by promoting relaxation, stress reduction, and emotional well-being. Integrating it into daily routines can help counteract the adverse effects of chronic stress, leading to increased job satisfaction and overall well-being. 

8. Improved coping and problem-solving skills 

Meditation empowers individuals with coping skills and problem-solving abilities, fostering resilience, clarity of mind, and emotional balance, thus enabling them to tackle challenges with creativity, flexibility, and resourcefulness. 

9. More effective collaboration 

As individuals develop greater self-awareness, empathy, compassion, and interpersonal skills, they become better communicators, listeners, and collaborators, leading to more harmonious and productive working relationships. 

What is clear is that meditation has a myriad of beneficial uses and the workplace from improved employee experience and work culture to potentially increasing the bottom line.  

In an example from 1983, the owner of a chemical plant encouraged meditation time for his employees – before work and in the afternoon while at work. He shared his findings a little over a decade later in an article for the LA Times. This was not a formal study, and the statistics were shared years later, but if the actual results were even half of what he has quoted they were astounding:  

  • absenteeism fell by 85%  
  • productivity rose 120% 
  • quality control rose 240%  
  • and profits soared 520%

An example of findings from a more recent and formal study shows that participants reported improvement in both emotional intelligence and mindfulness. They experienced positive personal changes in themselves and many of these changes were translated into their job roles. Currently the metrics about meditation in the workplace are more qualitative in nature but are being normalized and acknowledged more and more.   

Are You Using the Right Form of Meditation for the Situation?  


Everyone is unique and nothing is one-size-fits-all. This is also true with meditation. Research by Harvard Business Review confirms this; for meditation to be effective, it must be the right type of practice for the person and the situation.  

Businesses looking to introduce meditation into their workplaces should take the time to understand different techniques so they can match the correct practice to a given situation and their employees.  

How to Introduce Basic Meditation in Your Workplace  


  • Offer opportunities to not only practice but to learn at work: especially if the workplace has suggested meditation, businesses should provide time and support to learn at work. This could be workshops with teachers or other time to use online classes.  
  • Provide suggestions and materials if learning during work hours isn’t possible: for example, if your workforce is primarily frontline employees with different schedules, or creating time for learning at work is not an option, provide access to materials and tools (an in-person class, online classrooms, etc.) 
  • Create safe spaces to practice: a quick meditation can often be done at an employee desk but often requires more privacy – either for quiet or peace of mind. And frontline workers do not have this option. Converting a space into a meditation room will help encourage the practice and support a psychologically safe work culture. If that isn’t possible, permission to use a conference room or unused office with a privacy sign is a great start.  
  • Allow for meditation breaks — formal and informal: You can set aside formal times for meditation throughout the day, but also encourage and support employees who may need to practice at a particular moment. Perhaps before a presentation or meeting, or simply because they are having a particularly stressful day.  
  • Always make it a choice: No one should be pressured to meditate. Especially as it might be part of the religious experience for some or go against the practices of others.  
  • Give access to meditation apps: Some apps cost money. A way to support meditation is to take care of those costs, even if small, for your employees.  

As your company focuses on building culture, consider meditation as part of your strategy. There is a reason more than 50% of companies have already integrated the practice into their workplace. The proven medical benefits will support healthier employees, the focus on mindfulness and emotional intelligence will help support your workplace culture, and the boost to creativity and productivity can only be beneficial to your bottom line.