Businesses are becoming more interested in meditation, it’s increasingly seen as a practical method for stress reduction.

More and more businesses and managers are becoming interested in meditation. The word no longer conjures images of vagueness or flakiness, but is increasingly seen as a practical method for stress reduction. And that’s hardly a luxury in our seemingly ever turbulent modern world.

R.W. “Buck” Montgomery is a long-time believer in the business benefits of meditation. He instituted regular meditation sessions at his Detroit chemical manufacturing firm in 1983. Within three years, 52 of the company’s workers, from upper management to production line employees, were meditating 20 minutes before they came to work and 20 minutes in the afternoon on company time. Within three years, absenteeism fell by 85 percent, productivity rose by 120 percent, injuries dropped by 70 percent, sick days fell by 16 percent—and profit soared by 520 percent. “People enjoyed their work; they were more creative and more productive” as a result of the meditation breaks, Montgomery says. “I tell companies, ‘If you do this, you’ll get a return on your investment in one year.’”

By some estimates, 10 million people meditate daily in the U.S. No hard figures exist on the number of businesses that offer meditation. However, organizations such as Google, Deutsche Bank, AOL Time Warner and Apple let workers meditate. Meditation’s role in maintaining physical and mental health is also increasingly backed up by scientific research. Research shows that meditation leads to lower blood pressure and less insomnia, it boosts the immune system, lowers heart rates and improves circulation. Managers in particular report that meditation helps them achieve greater insights and make better decisions.

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