Employee Wellness: Spirituality in the Workplace

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    Spirituality in the Workplace – What is Spirituality at Work?

    © Copyright Linda Ferguson

    In my travels around the country providing workshops on the topic of working spiritually, I’ve found consistently that people are looking for ways to have their work make a difference and to feel energized in a richer way in their work. I want to explore here a few ways that you might examine spirituality in your work.

    I provide a framework in my first book, “Path for Greatness”, for aligning your gifts, passion and purpose so you can be of service for the world. (to see more about my book on Spirituality at Work go to: http://www.amazon.com/Path-Greatness-Work-Spiritual-Service/dp/1552124983/

    First idea to explore is – what feeds you spiritually? You need to continually till your spiritual soil so that you can keep energized and inspired. Take some time now and write down 3 things you do each week or every day to renew yourself.

    Second, what does spirituality mean to you? What three words do you use to describe times when you feel spiritual? See how you can integrate those words and ideas into your work day. In my workshop I have people write out all the words they can to describe a spiritual experience. Those words may include joy, peace, bliss, serenity etc. I then ask, ‘Would you like to work in a place that has this?’ To a person, they all say yes.

    OK then, how do you help create this in your work? What small step can you take to bring such feelings into your workplace? Please share your ideas here on this post of how you work spiritually or how you’ve seen others do this.

    Three words that I like to use for working spiritually are: wholeness, meaning and connection. When we feel a sense of our own wholeness, we come from a place of greater authenticity and energy. We generally find greater meaning in what we do when we are doing it for a larger purpose than feeding ourselves or our organization. Think of how you can be your best FOR the world.

    Finally, when we connect to others in a deeper way, we often feel greater compassion or joy in our relationship with them. We can strengthen all that we do when we connect with our own Source of inspiration, in whatever ways we connect with this Source.

    Value of Spirituality in the Workplace

    © Copyright Janae Bower

    Research shows the impact spirit in the workplace can have for individuals and organizations. Here are five key outcomes that everyone can benefit from:

    Boosts morale. Engaging in practices that support spirit in the workplace can uplift the spirits of everyone involved.

    Influences satisfaction. Since spirit in the workplace encourages each individual to bring their whole self to both work and home, it increases the satisfaction level in both areas.

    Strengthens commitment. Being aligned with an organization that fosters the essence of who you are enables you to feel and display a tremendous sense of loyalty.

    Increases productivity. When you feel a greater sense of connection to your work, you are more motivated to produce good work. Which in turn increases the overall productivity of an organization.

    Improves the bottom line. According to a nation-wide study on spirituality in the workplace, organizations which integrate another bottom-line into its practices – like spirituality – actually increase  the financial bottom-line. These organizations believe that spirituality could ultimately be the greatest competitive advantage.

    For example, Southwest Airlines is often described in terms that would identify it as a spirit-driven organization. This was the only airline to be profitable after the September 11th tragedy that had an incredible financial impact on the airline industry and continues to remain profitable. They have a triple bottom line – People, Performance & Planet. “It takes a lot of dedication, perseverance, and hard work to do the right thing for our Customers, Employees, and Planet. We began operations in 1971 with a revolutionary idea that everyone should be able to afford to fly instead of drive and to enjoy the Safety,  comfort, and convenience of air travel. For the past 38 years, we have devoted ourselves to meeting that goal. ”

    Since 1987, when the Department of Transportation began tracking Customer Satisfaction statistics, Southwest has consistently led the entire airline industry with the lowest ratio of complaints per passengers boarded. Many airlines have tried to copy Southwest’s business model, and the Culture of Southwest is admired and emulated by corporations and organizations in all walks of life.

    According to their Southwest Cares Report: Doing the Right Thing, “To better understand why we at Southwest try to do the right thing, it is important to understand how we do business and how we integrate our Core Values into everything we do. It is the Southwest Culture that sets us apart.

    The 35,000+ Employees of Southwest Airlines are the heart and soul of our Company. Doing the right thing for these Employees includes providing them with a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth. As we “Live the Southwest Way,” our Employees are  recognized through several Employee recognition programs for the hard work and caring Spirit they show to each other and our Customers. Not only do we work hard with what we call a Warrior Spirit, we work smart.” Part of living the Southwest way is also by having a servant’s heart and a fun LUVing attitude.

    Reasons for the Spirituality in the Workplace Movement

    © Copyright Janae Bower

    There are many reasons that contribute to this movement around spirit in the workplace. Here are a few reasons I’ve found on why it began.

    Employees want more from their organizations and organizations demand more from their employees. With all the corporate downsizing and restructuring, employees who are left tend to work longer hours. As a result, they want to bring more of their outside self to work. As organizations continue to struggle to find and keep talented employees, they need to offer more than just “a job.” Employees yearn to feel part of a mission, to add value and to contribute in a meaningful way.

    Previous movements in the 1980’s and 1990’s such as the new age, work/life balance, simplicity and others have paved the way for this one as well as newer ones like the green movement.

    Different generations are contributing to it as well. The majority of the population, 78 million baby boomers, are reaching mid-life and looking at spiritual issues such as: What is my legacy? What is my purpose? What is really important to me? Generation Xers are driven toward a what’s-in-it-for-me mentality and are willing to make organizational changes to meet those needs for work-life balance. Generation Y is the other dominate generation with 76 million. This value-based, team-focused generation is influencing the workplace in many positive ways, one being wanting flexible workplaces that provide meaning and growth opportunities.

    In general it is also a reflective time in society as we experienced the first decade of the millennium. As we are living this momentous time in history, society as a whole is reflecting on matters related to spirituality, ethics and humanity.

    Numerous Resources About Spirituality in the Workplace

    Spirituality Beyond the Workplace – Getting to What Matter Most

    © Copyright Janae Bower

    Have you figured out how to get the heart of what matters most amidst the chaos of our overstuffed lives? Lately I’ve been using this affirmation as a reminder in my pursuit of what is most important in my work and life. “I make time for what matters most.” This affirmation helps me to know that while I can’t get to everything that I want to on my daily to do list, I am intentionally carving out time for those most critical things each day. Sometimes that includes making time for being and not doing. Stephen Covey refers to this concept as his third habit to put first things first. For Brendon Burchard, author of Life’s Golden Ticket, it’s about living each day fully by being able to say yes to these three questions. “Did I live? Did I love? Did I matter?” Val Kinjerski, PhD, shares another perspective of how important it is to fight for what really matters. Check her out as she speaks about it on YouTube.

    Here’s how I determine what matters most:

    • Finding IT: How to Lead with your Heart. First you have to discover what matters most to YOU by finding the deeper meaning, joy, and purpose of life.
    • Living IT: How to Create and Live an Inspired Life. Next you need to decide how you’ll live. When you understand how to live the inspired life principles from the inside out, you will learn how to live your life the way you ought to be; full and richly.
    • Giving IT Away: How to Make a Difference. The final aspect is to determine your legacy. How will you be inspired to leave your mark by giving away your time, talent and treasures to serve others and be part of something larger than yourself?

    Numerous Resources About Spirituality Beyond the Workplace

    Aspects of Spirituality — an Alphabet Series

    In the following “alphabet series,” Janae Bower takes the reader through a broad survey of the many aspects of spirituality — not just in the workplace.

    People in Spirituality — an Alphabet Series

    For the Category of Personal Wellness:

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