Could One Simple Tool Bend the Curve on Employee Stress?

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“What $300B problem has US companies struggling to find a real, sustainable solution?”


Workplace stress. Employee disengagement, turnover rates, and the number of sick days taken continue to rise at a fast clip. Negative stress—the type that is never-ending and demotivating in the long term—has become endemic, placing not only the health of the employees, but the future of their businesses at risk. Company leaders trying different types of interventions have recently started implementing mindfulness programs and “zones” as a solution.

Isn’t Stress at Work Just the Norm?

We all expect some level of stress at work. In the right dose, it helps us get more done, be more creative, or accomplish something we’ve never been able to before. But stress at work has become “always-on,” with expectations to come in early, leave late, and work weekends while delivering innovative thinking.

Workplace Options conducted a study in 2016 that showed a growing trend in employee usage of employee assistance programs (EAP) for stress:

  • Between the years 2012-2014, EAP cases for stress rose 28%.
  • In 2014, 83% of all EAP cases were associated with stress, depression, and anxiety.

Chronic stress over the long-term can lead to a number of negative health issues like weight gain and heart disease. In a study conducted by Paychex in 2017, 60% of employees reported feeling stressed at work most of the week, increasing the likelihood of burnout. Research indicates that US companies lose over $30 billion in stress-related sick days alone. According to the 2015-2016 Global Benefit Attitudes Survey, high stress-related absences rose to 4.1 days per year.

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Stressed employees are less productive, creative, and rational, negatively impacting those around them.


Turning the tide on workplace stress is a necessity, now.

Do Employees Really Benefit From Being More Mindful at Work?

Could mindfulness meditation be the answer? Researchers at the Wellness Institute at the Cleveland Clinic seem to think so. They conducted an 8-week study at a busy debt collection call center in Cleveland, and the results were promising: Wellness specialists trained the participants on mindfulness meditation techniques for eight weeks. One year after receiving the training, an aggregation of participant data showed a 31% decrease in feelings of stress, and a 28% increase in daily energy. Similar intervention at Aetna also showed a positive, long-lasting benefit.

Wisdom Labs partnered with HopeLab to conduct a 12-week study called Mindful Workday . Participants’ genes were tested for inflammation activation before and after a 12-week training cycle that involved mindfulness and meditation.

Besides reporting improvement in their mental state and sense of social well-being, researchers saw “significantly lower expression of inflammatory genes, and greater expression of genes boosting immunity.” Where most conversations about stress and its impact tend to focus on hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, this study shows that well-thought-out interventions can make a more long-lasting impact at the cellular level.

Could a Mindfulness Space at Work Be the Answer?

In the second decade of the 21st century, more companies, even airports, are adding meditative and quiet areas to their spaces. In this year’s “Best Places to Work,” Fortune highlights its #1 company, Salesforce, has dedicated mindfulness rooms as a unique and powerful symbol of it culture.

To create a mindfulness zone for your employees, start with a quiet space and comfortable furniture.

However, you don’t need to be a huge organization to offer the benefits of brain breaks to help individuals focus and recenter. Even providing one or two meditation spaces for your employees to use for 10-15 minutes at a time is enough to provide tangible benefits for them and the company.

What’s the ROI on an Office Meditation Room?

You don’t have to spend thousands on a workplace meditation room for it to be effective. You can repurpose an available room or outdoor space to suit your company’s needs. While the furniture should be comfortable, it doesn’t have to be “meditation furniture”.

Meditation programs all over the business world are returning tangible dividends for the companies that invest in them. When Aetna implemented a mindfulness program, they reported $2,000 in healthcare cost savings and $3,000 gained per employee in productivity. What would it mean for your company to gain $3,000 worth of productivity for each of your employees?

Why Not Just Get App Subscriptions For Employees?

App subscriptions don’t run up a high bill individually. Most range from $4.99 to almost $15 per month for their premium versions. If you have 50 employees, and you purchase 50 subscriptions, you’ll pay about $250 per month for guided meditations. Considering your potential ROI, that isn’t a lot.

BUT what if there was a more cost effective way to provide quality meditations for your employees? Not only that, but what if those meditations helped them through tough workplace situations?

Wisdom Labs is launching Wise@Work Radio , the first-of-it's-kind workplace meditation radio service. One subscription of Wise@Work Radio can help several people depending on the size of your meditation space, providing more ROI and impact than an individual app subscription.

If you’re ready to provide science-backed, workplace focused mediations to your employees and improve your company culture, click here to learn more.

Meghna Majmudar

Meghna is an experienced marketing and business development leader and executive coach. She is committed to working with organizations and leaders that are improving themselves and the world. You can connect with her on Twitter @meghnaspeaks or on Linkedin.

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