MADISON, Wis. – As a half-dozen women filter into a yoga studio on a recent afternoon, passing glowing candles and Buddhist statuary, they absorb the ethereal voice of a woman crooning praises to the earth via a boombox set on a bare wooden floor. They sit on yoga mats, gaze toward foliage outside and draw in a collective breath, echoing the instructor leading this midday meditation class.
They are not here on vacation. Nor are they at a spa or a gym. For the women gathered here, this is part of the workday at Promega Corp., a biotech company on the outskirts of this university town. They are here on company time, paying rates heavily subsidized by their employer, because the people running Promega have concluded that meditation classes — along with yoga, ubiquitous fitness centers, workspaces infused with natural light, and healthy meals — contribute to a happier, healthier working experience. And happier, healthier workers make for a stronger business.