By Emma Green, originally posted at The Atlantic

Why are more and more companies offering access to chaplains as an employee benefit?

Pastors have long hung out with workers. During the Industrial Revolution, they would preach from factory floors. Nineteenth-century Catholic teachings declared it the Church’s duty to support the working poor. And in the Great Depression, industry titans hired chaplains to visit workers on the Hoover Dam.

But in recent years, a number of companies have gone one step further: They’ve hired spiritual leaders to serve on their staffs. Though slightly less trendy than nap rooms and yoga classes, workplace chaplaincies are another attempt to make workers more productive by catering to their “whole” selves. Sometimes, these chaplains serve as spiritual social workers, advising staffers about everything from divorce to cancer. They might conduct weddings or funerals; they’ll often refer people to local churches and, at times, professional psychologists.

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