The mainstream business world has come to understand that employee stress can reduce productivity and morale, and increase health care costs and absenteeism. Stress in the workplace threatens the bottom line, and mindfulness exercises can reduce stress.
Mindfulness includes meditation practice, yoga, exercise, prayer, and many other practices. Having a dedicated space for mindfulness practice, in addition to natural lighting in the workplace and healthy meals, gives employees the understanding that leadership cares about their health and happiness.
Apple has meditation rooms, and Prentice-Hall has quiet rooms. Nike has relaxation rooms. Whatever they are called, employees are given work time to meditate, relax, nap, or just close their eyes and focus on their breathing. Some companies are providing classes and some just the space and time.
Design basics for a meditation space include sound-proofing and quiet. Various furniture options for sitting, reclining or napping, and space to do yoga or stretches on the floor are standard. Natural light is always beneficial, as is an attached outdoor meditation space or walking path. It is common practice to leave phones and other personal electronics out of the room.
Color can be soothing neutrals without bold contrasts and textures that are considered invigorating in other spaces. A quiet sweep of wall in one neutral, nature-based color is preferable over typical workplace wall art. Empty wall spaces can provide areas of focus for meditation practice.
A dedicated space for mindfulness practices can improve employee engagement and give the workforce a place to sharpen focus and reduce stress during the workday.