2020 may go down in history as one of the most challenging years of this century. Of course, there is still plenty of time for more things to occur, but 2020 has offered numerous challenges that are now affecting the mental health of average Americans. It would be surprising if employers were not taking notice.
Meditation has been suggested as one means of helping stressed employees cope. In fact, Forbes recently profiled a company that now offers a virtual meditation platform that employers can incorporate into the workplace. The platform could be part of a broad strategy to provide mental health benefits alongside health insurance and retirement plans.
Already on the Horizon
Coronavirus may be adding to anxiety and stress, but mental health benefits were already on the horizon at the start of the year. Dallas-based BenefitMall published a blog post back in April citing CDC data that show mental health issues among workers. BenefitMall went on to offer some tips that employers could use to improve mental health at work. Among them are:
- improving workplace culture
- promoting a better work-life balance
- encouraging employee reporting
- encouraging employees to disconnect
- offering mental health and wellness benefits.
The last item in the list brings us back to the topic of meditation. Companies can offer a range of mental health benefits like access to low-cost mental health services and on-site counseling and therapy. A meditation platform available during work hours could also prove beneficial.
Benefits of Regular Meditation
Forbes contributor Laura Sage discussed six benefits of workplace meditation in her piece. At the top of the list is the suggestion that meditation might reduce bias by improving social interaction among team members. She cites a study that suggests meditation promotes a community mindset and encourages employees to treat one another with compassion.
Sage says that meditation can also improve cognition. As the thinking goes, meditation helps a person learn to focus his or her mind. Of course, this benefit is commensurate with formal meditation training rather than just casual practice. The more employees are trained to focus on the meditation environment, the greater the chances that overall workplace cognition will increase.
Other benefits Sage talked about include:
- better group collaboration
- enhanced memory capabilities
- less stress and burnout
- fewer emotional reactions.
It is important to note that the science on meditation is not hard and fast. Multiple studies do promote the idea that meditation can be an exceptionally good thing for most people. But everyone reacts differently to similar stimuli. Meditation may be very good for 50% of a company’s employees but very unhelpful to the other 50%.
One of Several Mental Health Benefits
A virtual meditation platform could be just the thing a company is looking for in its quest to help improve employee mental health. Such a platform could be encouraged by ownership and management. Employees could be invited to use the platform every day for a set amount of time, or at least a few times per week.
That said, meditation is just one of several mental health benefits that companies can entertain. Meditation would not, in and of itself, be the only means of helping employees maintain mental health wellness. The challenge for employers is to come up with a good benefits package that helps most employees as often as possible.
Mental health is a big priority for employers these days. They know it, as do their insurance brokers and carriers. To the extent that benefits packages can be modified to address mental health, employees will be bet