June 21st – International Day of Yoga
A healthy workforce reflects better productivity, enhanced employee engagement, and decreased absenteeism rates. The rising work demands and personal responsibilities have affected employee work-life balance, impacting their health and wellbeing.
Many employers have implemented employee wellbeing programs to promote awareness and measures to ensure employee health and wellbeing.
Most employee wellbeing programs focus on holistic wellbeing that includes physical and mental health and wellness. Studies also show that employers are looking up to corporate wellness programs to reduce chronic health diseases, like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and depression, and their related healthcare costs.
Considering physical and mental wellbeing are closely related, the corporate wellness challenges ideas must include activities that are beneficial for overall wellness.
Incorporating Yoga as one of the corporate wellness challenge ideas can be an affordable and actionable option to help with physical and mental wellbeing.
Yoga in Corporate Wellness Programs
One of the most solid reasons to incorporate yoga in corporate wellness programs is the ease to implement yoga sessions with a minimum of resources. Also, they are more affordable than the expensive gym equipment and memberships. A group of willing participants, yoga mats for each, and a strong desire to stay consistent are all one needs for yoga. The many postures and breathing exercises help in improving flexibility, postural alignment, releasing muscle tension, endurance, balance, functional movements, reducing body aches, stress relief, and many other ailments.
Here are a few effective reasons to include yoga as wellness challenge ideas in corporate wellness programs.
Holistic Wellness Benefits of Yoga to Employees
1. Improved Energy Levels
The remote working situation has forced employees into a sedentary lifestyle with no or less physical activity and easy access to unhealthy food. More importantly, it has disturbed the work-life balance, causing physical and mental health issues. The lack of physical activity and mental stress deprives the body of energy for regular functioning, causing fatigue. Even simple stretching and low-intensity exercises can regulate blood circulation, improving energy levels. Yoga, with its dynamic postures and movements, reduces fatigue and improves energy levels by improving the blood flow throughout the body. Set 5-10 reminders after every hour of work for some stretching and simple yoga postures.
2. Higher Immunity
Unlike resistance training or weight-lifting exercises that only focus on specific body parts, yoga is a complete body workout and it benefits all the body parts. Regular yoga practice can improve blood circulation carrying oxygenated blood to all the organs, strengthen the body’s immune system, and triggers the lymphatic system to discard the toxins, and aids in the normal functioning of all the body parts. All these metabolic processes keep employees active, reduce stress, lower pain, and make them healthy, reducing absenteeism rates and improving productivity.
3. Better Posture and Flexibility
Employees spend many hours sitting at the desk, mostly in the wrong posture while staring into their computers. This has led to the rapid rise in musculoskeletal disorders. Also, lack of flexibility can cause reduced chronic joint pains, lower blood pressure, and injuries. These conditions can affect employee health, higher healthcare costs, and lower productivity. Yoga postures can improve flexibility and correct posture by stretching major muscle groups that relieve pain, prevent stiffness, and reduce injury risks.
4. Reduced Stress
Long hours at work can be very stressful, which in turn, affects employee mental health and overall wellbeing, engagement, and overall workplace productivity. A Cigna study reported 84% of the survey respondents had stress issues. Apart from affecting employee health, long-term stress issues also increase absenteeism, turnover rates, and lower productivity. Yoga, offered as a part of the corporate wellness programs, is one of the best ways by which employers and employees can combat stress and its downsides. The right breathing exercises and yoga postures reduce the production of cortisol – the stress hormone, thus, preventing stress-related complications for wellbeing and the workplace.
5. Better Lung Capacity
Yoga’s breathing exercises and meditation make one completely aware of their breathing patterns. The deep breathing exercises expand lung capacity, thus increasing the amount of oxygen inhaled in the body. Low oxygen levels can cause headaches, nausea, and fatigue. On the other hand, higher oxygen content in the body improves energy levels and fuels the employees to keep up with the day’s hectic schedules. Regular yoga can improve breathing patterns to help the body have sufficient oxygen to stay active and healthy.
6. Improved Metabolism
The remote working situation has reduced physical activity and increased the consumption of unhealthy junk food items owing to the time limitations and as it is easily available at home. Increased consumption of unhealthy food can cause digestive problems, which in the long run can affect health and decrease productivity. Yoga has many postures that can help with indigestion, reduce acidity, and other gut-related complications like heartburn also. These postures can also boost metabolism, aid in detoxification, and help in leading healthier lives.
7. Better Focus
The current corporate situations and heavy workloads have become very stressful for the employees, leading to employee burnout. High burnout issues and fatigue can affect work-life balance and decision-making abilities. The mind clutter and crunching deadlines can also reduce the concentration and duty-bound skills of employees. Yoga improves blood circulation enhancing brain function, keeping employees active, alert, and focused, thus improving productivity. Meditation can help in maintaining a still and focused mind that can help with a demanding work situation and stay stress-free.
8. Higher Confidence and Morale
Being healthy, happy, and physically fit builds confidence and boosts morale in employees. On the contrary, being stressed causes frustration, impacts personal and workplace relationships, reduces productivity, affects health, and lowers morale. Yoga with its breathing exercises and postures improves blood circulation and releases endorphins that have relaxing and stress-relieving effects. It also elevates employee’s mood, keeping them active, confident, and motivated, while the stress is kept at bay. With high confidence and morale, employees can contribute to a harmonious and productive workplace.
9. Less Aggression
Yoga calms the mind and relaxes the body. A relaxed mind helps in reasoning out the situations instead of getting frustrated or triggered by any stressors. A person with a relaxed mind also tends to have a positive outlook on life, handles situations better, and is less likely to get involved in unfavorable work activities. Employees who are stress-free work harmoniously at the workplace, handle situations rationally, and are more productive than stressed employees.
Wellness Benefits of Yoga to Employers
Like for the employees, businesses can also reap the benefits of incorporating yoga as wellness challenge ideas into their corporate wellness programs. Apart from being a cost-effective way to improving employee health and wellbeing, the most common workplace benefits of workplace yoga include –
- Improved Employee Health and Wellbeing
- Lower Healthcare Costs
- Reduced Absenteeism
- Higher Creativity and Engagement
- Better Workplace Productivity
These are just a few, yet strong reasons to encourage your workforce to practice yoga regularly. And it is pretty much evident that incorporating yoga in corporate wellness programs can be beneficial for employee wellbeing, workplace productivity, and business growth.