“Meditation Rooms” may be Coming to the C-Suite

Embattled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has apparently taken to meditating at the office as part of his management “counseling” program, and it appears to be having great results.

So claims Arianna Huffington, an independent board member at the ride-sharing app company, who’s been heavily involved in helping Kalanick clean up his act.

Kalanik, Huffington said, recognized he made bad decisions after failing to get enough sleep. To compensate, he started meditating.

“It was an amazing moment last week when we were in the office and he said, ‘I really need to go meditate to be in a place to make good decisions right now,” she told the iCONIC conference in New York.

“Literally, Travis returned and you could see the change in the way he was and the way he could process making decisions.”

Kalanick apparently found an empty lactation room and later emerged transformed. “Literally, Travis returned and you could see the change in the way he was and the way he could process making decisions,” Huffington said.

The whole meditation thing won’t just stop with Kalanick, according to the media mogul, who recently launched her own Thrive health and wellness venture. She joined Uber’s board last year, just before the company was rocked by claims of widespread sexual harassment, that was often permitted by senior managers, followed by the release of a video showing Kalanick abusing one of his own drivers.

“I believe every company soon is going to have a meditation-slash-nap room,” Huffington said. “They are going to be as common as conference rooms, because people are recognizing the value.”

Is there a downside?
Are there reasons why managers shouldn’t let staff who are running on empty go take a 20-minute nap?

For one, it could be seen to encourage laziness, or offer somewhere to hide when the going gets tough—as it invariably does when people have to make critical decisions.

On the other hand, Huffington does have a point. Workers failing to admit they’re over-worked and tired could conceivably end up being less, rather than more productive without a break. And she’s not the only one encouraging managers to ensure staff are getting enough rest.

“It’s incumbent upon all of us who run companies to make sure that people can make ends meet and have the ability to get a good night’s sleep,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in December, while helping Huffington launch Thrive.

Facebook and Google are among companies that have installed “nap pods” in their offices.

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Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.

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