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Monday, 1 November 2010

Does Spirituality Belong in the Workplace?

by Nancy R. Smith

Jobs Vacancy, Employment, Employment Jobs

Did you know that spirituality and spirituality in the workplace have become popular buzzwords these days? As a movement, spirituality in the workplace does not focus on God or theology.

Instead, it looks to the morality and ethics that are common to most of the world’s religions. Creating sacred space in your cubicle or office. Social responsibility. Environmental awareness. Tutoring students. Yoga in addition to aerobics. Meditating at work (along with an even more recent acceptance of napping at work).

One Dallas-based store tells its workers that they have a moral obligation to provide help to their customers, not just to sell to them. A large business in Atlanta now uses only recycled materials in its work and draws its energy only from renewable sources. A symposium on business and spirituality is helped each spring at Babson College in Boston. Websites listed in the links below are new examples and results of this movement.

Is this religion? New age stuff? Quasi-religion? A substitute for faith? An expanded consciousness? A movement toward accepting a diversity of religious beliefs, faiths, and practices and valuing their contributions in the workplace?

Or, is this a maneuver on the part of businesses to get their workers even more dedicated to the workplace, more willing to work even longer hours, and more willing to give up time that might otherwise be spent in recreation, with family, in community or charitable work, or in religious practice?

If a company is based on noble principles, will it feel more self-righteous when layoffs come? Is the workplace where people should be looking for spiritual fulfillment? Can business deliver? Or should it avoid trying to meet spiritual needs and simply allow individual spiritual expression (as long as it does not interfere with the rights or needs or another)?


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