Ford offers workers peace, quiet

Spirituality is moving into the workplace at Ford Motor Co.

The company is converting little-used spaces into meditation rooms available to employees during personal time such as lunch hours.

Ford offers two meditation rooms in Dearborn, Mich., one in England and one in Germany. More are coming.

'It is for individuals or groups to utilize for meditation, prayer, contemplative thought or a mental break to reduce stress,' said Rob Matras, diversity and worklife coordinator for Ford's product development organization. 'It's not a break room. It's not for a lunch break. It is a quiet space.'

Ford converted a former executive dining room in one building into a soothing space of mauve and forest green. In another, a conference room became a quiet haven.

The rooms have open space for religious observations, such as the noon prayers practiced by Muslims. Bible study groups also use the rooms. But the intent is not to cater to a specific religious group, Matras said. 'The rooms are spiritually neutral so as many people as possible feel comfortable.

'The company is trying to recognize the whole person,' he said. 'Our diversity vision includes elements beyond the standard race, sex and ethnicity.'

Some Ford employees have questioned the use of the rooms, assuming colleagues are taking breaks on company time. Not so, Matras said. 'People use their personal time.'

Mona Abdelall, a safety manager in Ford's automotive safety office, said the meditation rooms make the workplace comfortable and welcoming.

Tags: Labor Ford

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