First off, what is corporate yoga?
Corporate yoga is a form of corporate wellness that teaches yoga through simple yoga stretches and postures, breathing techniques, and meditation/mindfulness exercises to the staff of corporations. The main goal of corporate yoga is to enhance the mental/physical well-being of the workplace while saving the corporation money when it comes to employee-related expenses.
These yoga programs are usually conducted through one of the three following ways:
- Full subsidy: Employer offers the classes free of charge to the employee (highly recommended to show support and foster a better relationship between high-level management and entry-level employees)
- Partial subsidy: Class fees are shared by employee and employer (this is also great to show support from high-level management)
- Hosting: Employer offers a space in the office for the class time and employees individually pay for classes (this option is best fit for smaller corporation that have the space, but simply can’t afford any subsidies)
Why is corporate yoga becoming so popular?
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular throughout the world, especially in the workplace. Many companies now recognize the value of yoga and are offering classes to their employees as part of their stress reduction and corporate wellness programs during the workday.
Here are some statistics to consider as we discuss corporate yoga’s growing popularity:
- Job stress costs U.S. companies about $300 billion annually through absenteeism, declined productivity, employee turnover, and direct medical, legal and insurance fees. (The American Institute for Stress)
- Stress is the cause of nearly 90% of doctor visits in the U.S. (The American Institute for Stress)
- Companies spend $14,000 per employee per year on medically related productivity losses. (CorSolutions, Inc.)
- Workers who report they are stressed incur health care costs that are almost 50% higher than other employees. (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
This is why companies like Chase Manhattan Bank, Forbes, HBO, GE, Wall Street brokerage firms, and dozens of Fortune 500’s like Nike, Apple, Harpo, Motorola, Google, Forbes, and General Motors are implementing wellness programs. To add to that, more and more companies around the world, big and small, are implementing wellness programs on a daily basis!
Through regular practice, yoga is known to increase ones energy and improve the health of their mind and body in countless ways. This, along with hundreds of other reasons are why companies are wanting yoga to be a part of their new/pre-existing wellness programs.
In my opinion, one of the main reasons to incorporate yoga in the workplace is the fact that yoga helps us develop an awareness of the effects of stress in our lives, and helps us learn the skills with which to manage/stop them from negatively impacting us. These benefits will naturally flow from the individuals to the workplace they are contributing to, which makes it even more appealing for employers.
Yoga is unlike most exercise routines because yoga is known to eradicate fatigue and generate energy instead of taking away energy, all of which lead to higher productivity and a boosted morale. In addition, yoga improves our cardiovascular health, it increases our strength and flexibility, builds concentration and a higher sense of self-worth, and reduces mental and physical stress and tension.
Yoga is suitable for everyone because it’s low impact and it’s a versatile exercise that can be modified for individuals of all skill levels and degrees of flexibility, which makes it perfect for the workplace environment!
All in all, it’s a versatile practice that has countless benefits. For corporations, the stress-reduction is by far the most important aspect of yoga when it comes to creating a mentally healthy work culture and saving money on the stress-related employee costs that are listed above.
What does the future of corporate yoga look like?
Simply put, the future of corporate yoga looks amazing! One day, wellness programs will be the norm, and with yoga being one of the most versatile ways to build a culture of mental strength and good physical health, I see it playing a HUGE role in the future of corporate wellness.
At the end of the day, the companies and employees will benefit from corporate yoga being implemented into their wellness programs. If the company doesn’t already have a wellness program, then it’s a great way to start incorporating the importance of mental/physical wellness into the company’s culture.
As mental health becomes more of a priority, employees are wanting a healthy company culture that cares about their mental well-being. Therefore, a corporate yoga program will also draw in more employees that have a sense of self-worth. This can also act as an additional filter when a company is looking for prospect employees that are a good fit for their culture!
The benefits could go on forever, but here are the main benefits that will be the backbone of the corporate yoga scene..
Company benefits include:
- Lowered stress-related health care costs
- Less absenteeism and disability claims
- Higher productivity
- A more harmonious workplace
- Improved overall morale
- Better customer service
- Less employee turnover
- A more fulfilled and joyful workforce
This all makes sense when you look at recent studies on work site health programs. They noticed that corporations realized $3-$6 in savings for every $1 invested in wellness programs. This indicates that companies who offer yoga and other wellness programs to their employees reduce their annual health insurance premiums, which improves their bottom line. Also, the same study showed more than a 25% average reduction in health-care costs for the programs that are well-designed (American Journal of Health Promotion).
These saving has a lot to do with lowered operating costs. This is because the benefits that yoga offers employees can also help lower the employees’ number of sick days and disability claims.
Yoga can have a positive influence on one’s ability to reduce stress, increase focus, and embody confidence. As a work-place, all these things can lead to higher productivity, a more harmonious work environment, and an overall elevated sense of morale. It’s no wonder these companies are realizing so much savings with these programs!
Overall, offering yoga classes at work is a low-cost solution to many of the largest employee-related costs of doing business. For companies wanting to relieve workplace stress, reduce heath care expenses, and create a work culture that places emphasis on mental and physical well-being, implementing yoga classes is the simplest and one of the most cost-effective way to do so!
At the end of the day, a corporation is only as good as the people running it. Since a corporate yoga program will directly benefit the health of your employees, the program will be improving the health of your company.
This leads me into the individual benefits that the employees will get..
Employee benefits include:
- Improved concentration, decision-making skills and ability to handle large workloads
- A better sense of recognition, due to the conscious efforts of the upper management investing in their employee’s mental/physical well-being
- Relieved head, neck and back strain, insomnia, carpal tunnel syndrome, high blood pressure and work-related injuries from repetitive motions
- Better customer service
- More fulfillment from the work they produce
- Enhanced outlook and attitude towards work
- Increased well-being in the workplace
- Reduced personal costs that are linked to stress-related illnesses and absenteeism
- Improved productivity, focus, and ability to think clearly in stressful situations
This benefit list could go on and on, literally. This is because the employees (along with all levels of management) will get the chance to relax and learn how to regulate their sympathetic nervous system, which is our messenger of stress response.
By learning conscious breathing techniques during yoga, we can manipulate our stress responses. Now, it probably makes sense that breathwork is one of the main aspects of most forms of yoga, so when it comes to boosting our ability to cope with stress in the workplace, there will always be a higher emphasis on the breath whenever I’m holding space within corporations.
Lastly, these techniques will not only help them in the workplace, but they’ll help them in all areas of life! As I said earlier, stress is the cause of nearly 90% of doctor visits in the U.S., so if the employees are learning how to regulate stress through their breath, bodily postures and mindfulness exercises, a hospital visit will be the last thing on their mind the next time they find themselves experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety/panic attacks.
For a corporation, these employee benefits are simply priceless.
Final thoughts about the benefits of corporate yoga
If you’re a corporation who could benefit from a more harmonious work environment, an overall increase in morale, less employee-related costs (through absenteeism, declined productivity, employee turnover, and direct medical, legal and insurance fees), and higher productivity from your employees, a yoga program could be the simple cure to all of these.
If you’re an entrepreneur/employee who either experiences high levels of stress, wants to experience more fulfillment from your work, or wants to be more productive with your work, yoga can help you in more ways than you know.
Needless to say, yoga has rightfully earned it’s spot in the workplace and in every stressed-out workaholic’s daily routine. The only question you should be asking yourself is “What kind of mat should I buy?”
(The answer to that is a sustainable hemp-based mat, just so you know HAHA)
I hope this helped you with learning about corporate yoga and it’s rightful spot in your workplace (and household). It’s an exciting field that’s growing more rapidly by the day!
With that said, I wish you the best of luck on your journey!