Every Monday morning at 11:30, a reminder pops up on Katie Buchta’s Outlook calendar: Meditation.
Buchta heads down the hall to a quiet room where incense floats through the air and a contemplative Buddha statue sits overlooking an oriental rug. Space that once served as an office has been converted into Hollister Staffing’s meditation room, where guided sessions are held twice a week.
“I walk in the room and step into a totally different universe,” said Buchta, 28, a recruiter at the Boston human resources company. “When e-mails are piling up and phone calls ringing, meditation is one of the main things I do to de-stress.”
Hollister counts itself among companies that believe meditation yields tangible benefits.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” said chief executive Kip Hollister, a certified meditation instructor. “I think it’s the neuroscience behind meditation [that] makes it not an ‘out there hippy movement’ but the real deal.”
The company’s office suites on the 16th floor of 75 State St. were being remodeled two years ago, soon after Kip Hollister returned from a spiritual retreat where she made an intense commitment to mind-body well-being.
Instead of meditating in a conference room, she decided to create a quiet place for employees to shut out distractions.
Guided meditation sessions are led by Hollister, with about a dozen participants following her lead as she starts with a ‘clearing,’ getting thoughts to quiet, and doing mantras, then setting some intentions. “My intention last week was to find three candidates for a high-level executive assistant position we needed to fill,” said Buchta.
About half of the company’s employees have at least dabbled in mindfulness. Steve Rock, 45, a technology recruiting manager, said he is a converted skeptic. “I am more present and more productive,” said Rock, who attributes his highest billings last year to meditation practice.
Hollister said she is trying to quantify the effects of meditation by creating a survey to measure physiological and psychological changes in employees before and after participation. She wants to prove what she already believes: Meditation is good not just for the soul, but good for the bottom line.
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