Workplace meditation reaches from Canada to South Africa

canada to south africa map

One of the times I just love technology . . . to be able to meet people half way around the world is truly grand.

Recently at the wee hour of 3:00am, I did a Skype session with a large company in South Africa with 25 of their change managers.  After watching my video ‘Meditation – a Powerful Change Management Tool‘, they wanted to speak to me to learn more about the concept of how to apply meditation and change management into their workplace.

In a company of 24,000 employees, this progressive change management team was buzzing after the session, sparking conversations about how they could start implementing mindfulness meditation into their organization to help their employees through change.

I would like to share some of their insightful questions they had of me:

  • Q:  What was your senior management’s reaction?  Did they support the workplace meditation program?
  • A:   I was fortunate that 2 of our senior executives took part in my initial pilot group in early 2011. This showed very important support for the practice, and they immediately saw the benefits within themselves and the others. I ensured I shared participant feedback with all of senior management regularly. Now we have 6 out of 8 executives participating when they can.
  • Q:  What type of resistance did you experience when implementing the program?
  • A:  As I look back, the first resistance I saw was my own, or I should call it ‘fear’ of offering the class openly to the entire organization, because back in 2011, doing meditation at work just wasn’t something organizations did. I didn’t want to be seen as weird, but I was pleasantly surprised how open some people were and it just grew from there. We now have 190 people (out of 730 employees, which represents 26% of the organization) attending classes on a drop-in basis.
  • In rare occasions, I do see that some people of deep religious faith tell me that they are opposed to meditation and they feel that people shouldn’t be doing this.  I know that this practice isn’t for everyone, and it certainly should never be imposed on anyone.
  • Q:  How does someone become a meditation facilitator at work?
  • A:   I offer a workplace meditation program. Currently it is delivered in person or via Skype, but I am working towards offering an online workshop and certification program for people wanting to learn to become successful meditation facilitators. Stay tuned  🙂

The manager of this group is a excellent leader who has the insight and spirit to be innovative, and positioned this in a way to get her team excited about this idea. She wrapped up the session by asking each person to provide how they felt about our session in one word.  What a wonderful facilitation tip to use that is succinct and quick.  Here is what the participants said:

  • Inspired
  • Amazing
  • Insightful
  • Mindful
  • Experiences
  • Reassuring
  • Motivated
  • Inspirational
  • Provoked
  • Thoughtful
  • Challenging
  • Calming
  • Enlightening
  • Peaceful
  • Awesome
  • Amazing

This was a fun and special experience for me, and I felt compelled to write about it because it is inspiring to see the increasing wave of interest to implement mindfulness meditation into the workplace. I have been contacted by people from around the world. With technology today, we can make meaningful connections with people around the globe.

To read the journey of how I implemented workplace meditation and layered on change management principles into the program, please read the white paper here.  It resulted in increased resiliency and reduced stress in the workplace through a major organizational transformation.

Have a wonderful day,

~Wendy Quan


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