Stack of pebbles on a workplace desktop - workplace spirituality.

The importance of spirituality in the workplace

Cassidy Jakovickas

May 15, 2024

Spirituality is an essential aspect of human life that encompasses our beliefs, values, and sense of purpose. Spirituality is not just limited to our personal lives but is also essential to our professional lives. More and more people have started to seek a balance between their personal beliefs and values and the work they do. This has given rise to the concept of workplace spirituality. 

What does spirituality in the workplace mean?

While spirituality is often used interchangeably with religion, I’m referring to spirituality in a more general sense. A 2020 survey from McKinsey showed 82% of employees believe it’s important their company has a purpose that contributes to society and creates meaningful work. In 2022, another survey from McKinsey showed that 70% of employees believe their work comprises part of their sense of purpose. When people do work that aligns with their values, they’re likely to feel a sense of belonging and community with their coworkers and be more loyal to their company. 

But workplace spirituality is about more than aligning work with values. It’s also about creating space in the workplace for people to maintain their mental and emotional health with spiritual practices like prayer, meditation, or other expressions of their faith or spiritual self.

The benefits of allowing for spirituality in the workplace

Spiritual practices can have a significant impact on our lives, and this impact extends beyond our personal lives into our work lives as well. Many people find that when they are able to bring their spiritual beliefs and practices into the workplace, it creates a more fulfilling and meaningful work experience. Workplace spirituality can lead to increased job satisfaction, engagement, and productivity, as well as improved relationships with colleagues and clients. 

  1. Improved employee satisfaction and engagement: When employees feel that their work aligns with their personal values and beliefs, they are more likely to feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment in their job. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, which can in turn lead to higher levels of engagement and productivity.
  2. Increased sense of community and belonging: Workplace spirituality can create a sense of community and belonging among employees. When employees feel that they are part of a workplace that values their whole selves, including their spiritual beliefs, they are more likely to feel connected to their colleagues and to the organization as a whole. This sense of community and belonging can lead to increased loyalty and commitment to the organization.
  3. Sense of meaning and significance in work: Workplace spirituality can provide employees with a sense of meaning and significance in their work. When employees are able to see the impact of their work on others, whether it be through helping others, contributing to a greater good, or making a difference in the world, they are more likely to feel that their work has meaning beyond just a paycheck. This can lead to increased motivation and engagement, as employees are more likely to be committed to work that they feel has a purpose and is making a difference.
  4. Better teamwork and communication: Spiritually healthy practices such as mindfulness and empathy can improve communication and teamwork among employees. Mindfulness helps individuals focus and stay present in the moment, which can lead to better listening and understanding during conversations. Empathy allows individuals to put themselves in others’ shoes and understand their perspectives, leading to more effective collaboration and teamwork.
  5. Improved workplace culture: Workplace spirituality can help create a more positive and inclusive workplace culture. When employees feel that they are part of an organization that values their spiritual beliefs and allows them to bring their whole selves to work, they are more likely to feel accepted and valued. This can lead to a more positive and supportive workplace culture, which can benefit both individual employees and the organization as a whole.
  6. Greater job loyalty and commitment: When employees feel that their workplace supports their spiritual beliefs and values, they are more likely to feel connected to their job and to the organization as a whole. This can lead to greater job satisfaction and a sense of loyalty and commitment to the company, resulting in reduced turnover rates and increased employee retention.
  7. Improved creativity and problem-solving abilities: When employees are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work, including their spiritual beliefs and practices, it can lead to greater creativity and problem-solving abilities. Spiritual practices such as meditation and mindfulness can help employees tap into their intuition and creativity, leading to innovative ideas and solutions to workplace challenges.
  8. Enhanced decision-making and ethics in the workplace: Spirituality can help employees develop a strong moral compass and a sense of personal responsibility. This can lead to enhanced decision-making and ethical behavior in the workplace, as employees are more likely to make decisions that align with their personal values and beliefs.
  9. Improved customer and client relationships: When employees are spiritually healthy and fulfilled, they are more likely to interact with customers and clients in a positive and compassionate manner. This can lead to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as stronger business relationships.
  10. Increased motivation and productivity: Spirituality can provide employees with a sense of purpose and meaning in their work, leading to increased motivation and productivity. When employees feel that their work is meaningful and contributes to the greater good, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their job. This can lead to increased productivity, as well as improved business outcomes.

The different aspects of spirituality

Workplace spirituality involves a commitment to your values, beliefs, and purpose and an intentional effort to integrate them into your work life. The different aspects of workplace spirituality include:

  1. Meaning and Purpose: This aspect involves finding meaning and purpose in one’s work and feeling that their work has a positive impact on the world.
  2. Ethical Behavior: Ethical behavior involves doing the right thing, treating others with respect, and demonstrating integrity in the workplace.
  3. Compassion and Empathy: Compassion and empathy involve understanding and responding to the needs of others in the workplace, fostering positive relationships, and demonstrating care and concern.
  4. Mindfulness and Reflection: This aspect involves practicing mindfulness and reflection to reduce stress, increase focus and creativity, and promote well-being in the workplace.
  5. Personal Growth and Development: Personal growth and development involve pursuing learning and development opportunities in the workplace to enhance personal and professional growth and contribute to the success of the organization.
  6. Community and Connection: Community and connection involve building a sense of community in the workplace, creating a supportive work environment, and promoting teamwork and collaboration.

These different aspects of workplace spirituality are interconnected and contribute to an individual’s overall sense of well-being and fulfillment in the workplace.

How to improve your spiritual health at work

Spiritual practices can also improve customer and client relationships, as employees are more likely to approach their work with a positive and empathetic mindset. Overall, incorporating spiritually healthy practices into the workplace can create a more positive and productive work environment, benefitting both employees and the organization as a whole.

1. Connect your work to your value system

Connecting your work to your value system is important because it ensures that you are doing work that aligns with your core beliefs. This makes it easier to find purpose and fulfillment in what you do. Additionally, it allows you to bring your authentic self to work, which can improve your overall job satisfaction and well-being. When you do work that is meaningful to you, you are more likely to be engaged, productive, and motivated. If you’re planning your career path, you can connect your work to your values by:

  • Making a list of your core values and identify how your current job aligns with them
  • Researching companies that share your values and apply for positions there
  • Asking about the company’s mission statement, values, and how they contribute to the community
  • Discussing with your manager how you can incorporate your values into your job responsibilities
  • Participating in company volunteering events that align with your values

2. Look at things positively

Focusing on the good instead of the bad can help you approach difficult situations with a more constructive attitude, and can make it easier to find solutions to problems. Additionally, maintaining a positive attitude can improve your relationships with your colleagues and create a more pleasant work environment overall. When you exude positivity, it can be contagious and inspire others to do the same. Here is how to adopt a more positive attitude:

  • Practice gratitude by listing three things you’re thankful for at the beginning or end of each workday
  • When dealing with a difficult situation, take a step back and identify the positive aspects
  • Practice reframing negative thoughts into positive ones
  • Share positive news or successes with colleagues and celebrate together
  • Avoid gossip or negative talk about colleagues or the company

3. Treat others well

When you treat others with kindness and respect, it can help create a positive work environment where people feel valued and appreciated. This can lead to increased job satisfaction and improved employee morale. Additionally, treating others well can help foster strong relationships with coworkers and create a sense of unity within the workplace.

By saying “please” and “thank you,” expressing appreciation for the work that others do, and offering compliments, you can bring kindness to the workplace and create a ripple effect of positivity. These simple acts of kindness can be contagious, leading others to treat each other with more respect and compassion. Ultimately, treating others well can help create a more harmonious and productive work environment where everyone can thrive.

  • Practice active listening when communicating with colleagues and clients
  • Offer help or support to colleagues who are struggling
  • Give credit where it’s due and acknowledge colleagues’ successes
  • Offer sincere compliments to colleagues
  • Use respectful and professional language in all communications

4. Take some time for yourself

As occupational health psychologist Erin Eatough, PhD points out, occasional solitude gives you space “to decide for yourself how you’ll react rather than being swept up in a habitual current of thoughts that feed emotions that feed yet more thoughts.” 

Moments of silence throughout the day can help you clear your head, and incorporating meditation or prayer can help you tap into your spirituality and stay centered. By prioritizing time for yourself, you can improve your ability to handle challenging situations at work, make better decisions, and increase your creativity and productivity. Additionally, taking breaks throughout the day has been shown to improve job satisfaction and overall happiness at work:

  • Practice mindfulness techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or visualization
  • Take short breaks throughout the day to stretch or go for a walk outside
  • Bring in personal items to your workspace that bring you joy and remind you of your spirituality, such as a plant or a photo
  • Use a journal to write down thoughts, feelings, and reflections throughout the day
  • Create a work-life balance by setting boundaries and avoiding overworking

5. Get to know your coworkers

Getting along with your coworkers is important for several reasons. It promotes a more cohesive work environment. When you know your coworkers well, you can build stronger relationships with them, which makes it easier to work together and collaborate on projects.

Knowing your coworkers on a personal level can help you understand their strengths and weaknesses, which can help you assign tasks more effectively and work more efficiently as a team. Getting to know your coworkers can also help you understand their communication styles, which can help you communicate more effectively with them.

When you have a good relationship with your coworkers, it can help boost morale and create a positive work environment, which can ultimately lead to higher job satisfaction and employee retention Here is how to build team camaraderie:

  • Participate in team-building activities or social events
  • Have lunch or coffee with colleagues to get to know them better
  • Show interest in colleagues’ personal lives and ask about their hobbies or interests
  • Use active listening techniques to show that you’re engaged in conversations
  • Avoid judgment or assumptions about colleagues based on their background or beliefs

6. Be mindful

Practicing mindfulness in the workplace is important for several reasons. First, it can help you to stay focused and avoid distractions, allowing you to be more productive and efficient in your work. By being present and fully engaged in the tasks at hand, you can also produce higher-quality work and make better decisions.

In addition, practicing mindfulness can help you to manage stress and reduce feelings of anxiety or overwhelm. By paying attention to your thoughts and emotions, you can learn to recognize and regulate your responses to challenging situations, allowing you to stay calm and centered even in the face of adversity.

Mindfulness can also help you to improve your communication skills and build better relationships with your coworkers. By being present and fully engaged in your interactions, you can listen more effectively and respond more empathetically, creating a more positive and supportive work environment for everyone.

Overall, practicing mindfulness in the workplace can help you to be more productive, resilient, and emotionally intelligent, making you a more valuable and effective member of your team.

  • Practice self-awareness by reflecting on your actions and their impact on others
  • Use active listening and empathy to understand others’ perspectives
  • Avoid making assumptions or generalizations about others
  • Be aware of your tone and body language in communication
  • Use conflict resolution techniques to address conflicts in a respectful and constructive manner

7. Put people first

Putting people first in the workplace involves prioritizing the needs, feelings, and well-being of colleagues, customers, and suppliers. This approach can improve workplace culture in several ways:

  • Creates a positive work environment: When people feel valued and appreciated, they tend to be happier and more satisfied with their work. A positive work environment can lead to better teamwork, communication, and overall productivity.
  • Builds trust and loyalty: Prioritizing people’s needs can help build trust and loyalty in the workplace. When employees feel that their employer cares about them and their well-being, they are more likely to be loyal to the company and work harder to achieve its goals.
  • Fosters a culture of empathy and compassion: When people are treated with kindness and respect, they are more likely to extend that same kindness and respect to others. This can create a culture of empathy and compassion, where colleagues support and help each other.
  • Enhances customer service: When customers feel valued and appreciated, they are more likely to be satisfied with the service they receive. This can lead to increased customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth advertising, and ultimately, more business for the company.

Overall, putting people first can create a workplace culture that is positive, supportive, and empathetic. This can lead to happier, more engaged employees and a more successful business.

  • Practice servant leadership by prioritizing the needs and well-being of your colleagues
  • Show empathy and understanding towards clients or customers
  • Celebrate colleagues’ successes and milestones
  • Encourage open communication and feedback from colleagues
  • Create a positive and inclusive work environment by respecting and valuing diversity

8. Find others who feel the same

It is important to build community among like-minded coworkers in the workplace because it can foster a positive and supportive environment, and create a sense of belonging and shared purpose. When people feel connected to their colleagues, they are more likely to collaborate effectively, communicate better, and support each other in achieving common goals.

One way to build community among like-minded coworkers is to start a group or club related to your shared values or interests. This can be an informal group that meets during lunch or after work to discuss shared topics, or a more formal group that has regular meetings and events. The group could be centered around a specific practice, such as meditation or yoga, or it could focus on a cause or issue that you care about, such as sustainability or social justice.

Another way to build community is to organize team-building activities or events that promote teamwork, communication, and shared experiences. This could be anything from a volunteer project in the community to a team-building retreat, or even a simple social gathering outside of work hours.

It’s also important to create opportunities for open communication and feedback among coworkers, as this can help to build trust and mutual respect. Encouraging open dialogue, active listening, and constructive feedback can help to create a culture of transparency and accountability, and foster a sense of community and shared responsibility.

By building community among like-minded coworkers, you can create a more positive and supportive workplace culture that fosters collaboration, communication, and shared values. This can lead to higher employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity, and ultimately contribute to the success of the organization.

  • Identify colleagues who share similar values or beliefs
  • Participate in or create a workplace spirituality group or club
  • Attend events or workshops related to your spirituality outside of work and network with others
  • Connect with colleagues on social media or professional networking sites to discuss your spirituality
  • Be respectful of others’ beliefs and avoid judgment or criticism

9. Slow down and live in the moment

Slowing down and being in the moment at work can have several benefits. It allows you to be more present and engaged with the task at hand, leading to increased productivity and a higher quality of work. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, allowing you to approach tasks with a clear and focused mind. It can also improve your decision-making abilities by giving you the time to consider all options and potential consequences before taking action.

Taking breaks throughout the day, practicing mindfulness or meditation, and delegating tasks when necessary are all ways to slow down and be more present at work. By doing so, you can create a healthier work-life balance and improve your overall well-being.

  • Practice time management techniques like prioritization and delegation
  • Avoid multitasking and focus on one task at a time
  • Take short breaks throughout the day to recharge and refocus
  • Use mindfulness techniques to reduce stress and improve focus

Keep your employees in good spirits by promoting spirituality 

By aligning personal values and beliefs with work, employees are more likely to find meaning and purpose in their work, leading to increased job satisfaction and commitment to the organization. When employees feel supported and valued as whole individuals, including their spiritual beliefs, they are more likely to be productive, creative, and ethical in their work. Ultimately, promoting spiritual health in the workplace is an important aspect of retaining employees and creating a positive and productive work environment.