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24
Mar 2014

How to start a meditation program at your organization

5 steps to improving your workplace with meditation.

How to start a meditation program at your organization

No doubt you’ve heard plenty of buzz about the positive benefits of meditation in the workplace. Implementing an in-office meditation program can help decrease stress and lead to higher levels of happiness, engagement and productivity, as well as better relationships between employees.

But, how do you go about implementing a mediation program at your organization?

I reached out to some workplace wellness and meditation experts to get their advice.

Check for cultural fit

When starting a meditation program at your organization, first check how it will fit with your organization’s current culture. Ask yourself, “Do the internalized values and expectations of the organization overlap with a program such as meditation? How can meditation adapt to the culture?,” says Leah Wolfe, founder and occupational therapist at Wellness at the Workplace.

“From an HR perspective, some of the more challenging parts of creating a mediation program come from employees not having the patience for meditation or not being motivated to change their current work life,” she explains.

Communicate and educate

To get your employees on board with the program, share information about why the company is adopting the program and the benefits of meditation suggests Bob Faw, chief energizing officer at Matchbox Group workplace consultants. “Some people might be interested immediately, but others may need some education first.”

It can take several exposures to new information before someone absorbs it, says Wolfe. “Fliers on the bulletin board, brochures in the breakroom, a fun email, or a YouTube video are all ways to engage staff on the subject.”

Bring in a pro

Find a professional meditation teacher in your area to help create the program, says Jona Genova, meditation teacher and founder of Samadhi for Peace. “Keep in mind that yoga and yoga teachers are great but that's a different discipline. If possible, find someone who specializes in meditation and has experience creating programs for groups and is willing to customize a program for your needs.”

“A course that lasts at least eight weeks is best. That's because it takes eight weeks to see a measurable difference in our biochemistry and in eights weeks time, most people are able to both establish a foundation and build a habit that yields the wonderful benefits meditation offers,” Genova suggests.

Pick a time and set a structure

When mapping out a schedule for your program, start by looking at trends and patterns within the office, suggests Wolfe. “Do people come in at different times? Is there a monthly report that causes more stress? Be strategic about the time you schedule the meditations.”

Make sure you have a designated space for the meditation practice. “It doesn't have to be an empty room or a yoga studio; you just need space for several employees and a comfortable area for them to sit and relax. A conference room is a great option,” says Faw.

Define and measure success

Before you roll out your mediation program, map out KPIs to determine the program’s success. “Is it the number of people attending each class? Is it over all productivity or company environment?,” says Faw. “By identifying these goals beforehand, you will have a benchmark to determine if the program is working."

Ask your meditation program participants to offer feedback about the program. “At the end of the class, have participants fill out an anonymous form or online evaluation to get their feedback, says Richard Geller, president and founder of MedWorks Corporate Meditation Programs. “This will give you insight to develop a broader program that fits the needs of your particular workplace.”
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