Prayer and meditation are excellent for increasing wellbeing and for helping individuals to feel grounded, calmer and happier in themselves. You might expect that employers would therefore support spirituality, meditation and prayer in the workplace – yet traditionally, many corporations have steered well away from religion and spirituality in the workplace, perhaps on the basis that ‘religion causes wars’ and lest one person’s spiritual practices should offend another’s.
Yet by cutting all spiritual practices out of the workplace, this can create a sterile environment without a heart. Avoiding allowing religion and spirituality can also cause confusion and ostracization of religious colleagues who wear religious clothing or a turban, for example, or those who do feel the need to pray during the day. Where should they go to pray? Who can they ask? Is religion a no-go topic of conversation?
In recent years, things have begun to change. For example, some companies have begun to hold corporate-wide celebrations of Ramadan and Eid, as a means of better educating non-Muslim colleagues, and many offices now include chapels and prayer rooms within their facilities, as well as the gym. By increasing a sense of freedom for people to be who they naturally are and bring their whole selves to work, it is hoped that this might lead to a happier, more fulfilled workforce. This, in turn will lead to a higher rate of retention, higher motivation and a greater sense of wellbeing among employees.
As a result, we are seeing companies experimenting with all kinds of policies to make spiritual practice more acceptable and encouraged in the workplace.
What could you do to increase spiritual practices in your own organisation? Here are a few ideas of the steps that other employers are taking, to help inspire you on your way:
- Educating employees about the benefits of spiritual practice
- Improving employee conduct regarding spirituality and creating a welcoming environment
- Offering meditation, yoga classes and reiki healing to workers
- Allowing bracelets of spiritual nature to be worn at the office
- Encouraging employees to spend more time engaged in life-affirming activities
- Creating quieter areas and chill out zones in the office environment
- Hiring people who understand spiritual practices and placing them strategically throughout the company
- Setting up Employee Resource Groups to help support religious minorities
- Holding workshops on spirituality, mental health, meditation practices and wellbeing