Corporate wellness is becoming more common as companies recognize that healthier, happier employees result in a better bottom line. But companies should be embracing wellness because they care about employees, not just the end result.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety, stress-related ailments cost companies about $200 to $300 billion annually in increased absenteeism, tardiness, and the loss of talented workers. Seventy to 90% of employee hospital visits are linked to stress.
An Ohio State University 2009 study found that employees who engaged in 20 minutes of meditation and yoga per day combined with an hour group meeting once a week for six weeks reported having less stress and better sleeping patterns. Meditation and yoga leave employees feeling more confident, more productive, and with increased job satisfaction. Employees are better able to relax and concentrate, and have a heightened morale, with the added benefits of decreased stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
Studies show that our brains are not wired to multi-task and our bodies are not designed to sit for extended periods of time in the same position, yet both of these things are what occur daily across the corporate world.
This article from the Washington Post in January 2014 highlights the risks associated with prolonged sitting and the effects on our spine and body. Experts are now even recommending yoga poses to ease spinal flexion and extension in the back.
Human resources should be concerned with the following issues on their staff:
- RSI (repetitive strain injury)
- Chronic headaches
- Strained neck
- Stress management
- Prolonged sitting
- Circulation issues
- Effects of chronic stress on gut bacteria, immune response
I work with Human Resources or your wellness department to develop a program that will most benefit your employees. Is your environment high stress, such as a call center with unhappy customers? Sedentary? Repetitive motion?
A yoga wellness plan can have profound benefits on your staff. Typically a restorative and gentle movement program, including simple breathing exercises, helps to release tension in the shoulders, improve posture and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS). Studies show that engagement of the PSNS leads to:
Improved mental cognition long-term, including attention, memory, problem solving, and decision making
Improved thyroid function
Balanced blood sugar
Increase in bone density
Lower blood pressure
Increase in immunity
- Increase in range of motion
Promoting repair functions, including wound healing
Reduced belly fat –cortisol production is a leading contributor to the fat deposited in the abdominal region
Programs include group classes, individual classes, session-based classes (6-8 weeks at a time), and/or 2-hour workshops to teach your staff about the nervous system, benefits of yoga, yoga and breathing exercises that can be done at your desk, a sample restorative class, and how to use props to make the most out of your experience.
Please contact me to create a program for your company; your employees will thank you and the results will show!
The Advantages of a Meditative Space in the Workplace – Houston Chronicle