Spirituality at Workplace

Lack of spirituality more than religiosity is the root cause of corruption and scams. Nobody is corrupt with their own family. Corruption is happening because there is no sense of belonging. Spirituality enhances the sense of belongingness among people, so that there is natural tendency to be honest and to take care for each others. Corruption, manipulation, dishonesty, hatred, etc. becomes impossible in these cases. - Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, founder of The Art of Living

The recent reports on various scams and corruption rate in India have puzzled all Indians. The violence at Maruti Suzuki Plant in Manesar, Haryana on 18th July has further vitiated the image of India as an emerging economy in the world. Praful Bidwai writes in his article on 'Lessons from Maruti Violence' published in Lokmat Times – 'The Maruti-Suzuki violence marks a watershed. However similar conditions and employer-labor tensions exist in many other Indian factories. There is growing frustration among workers at their declining real wages and rising job insecurity. Wages share in manufacturing value addition has dropped from 30 percent to under 12 per cent over 30 years, while the share of profits has more than doubled from 23 to 56 per cent.'

Whatever may be the reason for such violence at workplace, corruption, scams etc., various social and economic changes and shift in demographics of the workforce raise the necessity of practicing spirituality at workplace. The contributing factors for such necessity include layoffs, mergers and amalgamation, technological advancements, unethical corporate behavior, more dependence on contract labor, workplace violence, threats of terrorism, decline in job satisfaction, job insecurity, stress and burnout, etc. Research in USA shows that only 50% of Americans are happy with their jobs, down by 9% from 59% in 1995. In these turbulent times, it is only natural that workers turn to spirituality for remedies, security and inner peace.

In America, survey in the workplaces shows that interest in workplace spirituality has increased steadily over the last decade of the twentieth century and into new millennium. Unfortunately in India no such survey has taken place officially and hence the impact of practicing spirituality at the workplace is still unknown. However, Maruti-Suzuki's incident as well as their effort to do Vastu Shanti, inviting psychiatrists & psychologists, trainers etc. to restart the factory shows that at least there is modest beginning of giving place to spirituality at the workplace for creating conducive work environment.

This piece is an attempt to bring about awareness about the vast role that spirituality can play in improving workplace culture and its effects on people's lives.