Editor's pick: Originally published June 3.
Move over unlimited free sushi and shuttle buses to work; just maybe the emerging hot employee perk is meditation which, you are right, is mostly emptying your mind and concentrating on, well, nothing.
That is easy to say but hard to do - and yet when it is done right, payoffs are plentiful, said multiple sources.
Just ask Brandon Atkinson, chief people officer at New York based online advertising company AppNexus on why meditation is the rage. "It's a reaction to the always-on workplace," he said. "A lot of employees are feeling frazzled and finding it harder to focus. Mindfulness is about being present. In an always on culture that is important."
Think of it as an off switch in a world that always is on and, right there, its value is plain.
In the tech world, too, Atkinson noted the "competition for talent is extraordinary." He believes employees who feel their employers are investing in them are happier employees, and meditation is such an investment.
AppNexus twice weekly offers a guided meditation session in its New York office and, said Atkinson, the half-hour session usually is attended by 10 to 15 people. The company also has a designated meditation room at its satellite offices.Many other companies are climbing aboard. At group messenger app developer Blend in San Francisco's SoMa, co-founder Matt Geiger said he personally pushed for a daily meditation session at 4 p.m.., around 10 to 15 minutes daily. Geiger mixes up the sessions - some are guided, some are breath based, some are out of the Eastern tradition. He estimated that daily about 40% of the 18 person staff does the meditation and, he said, a payoff is reduced stress.
It's not just tech companies either. At communications and marketing agency Peppercomm in San Francisco, meditation is also on the to-do list. "We host three, 23-minute sessions, back-to-back, twice a month," said Sara Whitman, managing director and chief culture czar for Peppercomm. "Employees can join one or all three. But, it's really about more than that. The idea is to help people learn techniques they can apply on their own to feel and focus better. The in-person sessions provide the opportunity for learning and to help form a habit."