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What are corporate wellness programs?

Many of you may already be familiar with corporate wellness programs, but for those of you who aren’t, they’re simply services for corporations that are designed to support and encourage a holistic approach to employee well-being, by creating an organizational culture of health and support.

The services that are provided within the programs could be exercise and fitness instruction, stress management, smoking cessation, weight control, nutrition education, substance abuse counseling, chronic condition management, blood pressure and cholesterol screening, etc.. Depending on the needs of the corporation, different services will be provided for different corporations.

Why are they becoming so popular?

In a nutshell, corporate wellness programs save companies a lot of money when it comes to employee-related costs. In addition, people are becoming more aware of how importance of mental and physical health.

It may seem obvious, but some of the early adopters were larger companies who had the capital to invest in such programs. Companies like Forbes, HBO, GE, Chase Manhattan Bank, Wall Street brokerage firms, and dozens of Fortune 500’s like Nike, Apple, Harpo, Motorola, Google, Forbes, and General Motors have all added wellness programs to their company’s culture. To add to that, now that corporate wellness programs have been proven to be effective, smaller companies are reaping the benefits of these programs as well!

Now that you’re aware that more and more companies are adopting corporate wellness programs, I want elaborate more on the main reasons these programs are growing so rapidly in popularity.

Recent national surveys have found that 80% of workers feel stress on the job and half them reported that their jobs were extremely stressful. One-quarter of all workers say that their number one stress in their lives are their jobs. In addition, this employee stress is associated with health problems more than family or financial problems.

Consider the following statistics:

  • 62% routinely find they end the workday with neck pain
  • 44% reported stressed-out eyes
  • 38% complained of hurting hands
  • 34% reported difficulty sleeping because of stress
  • 30% of workers suffering from back pain
  • 28% complaining of “stress”
  • 20% feeling fatigued
  • 13% with headaches

Wellness programs are on the rise because employers are realizing these issues and are taking action on fixing them. As a result, more and more corporate wellness programs are being implemented around the world.

With so many types of corporate wellness services, companies are usually only capable of implementing a select few. This is where I see corporate yoga rising above most of the other services because of it’s versatility, wide range of benefits, and well-rounded approach to teaching mental and physical well-being.

The rise of corporate yoga

To me, the statistics above indicate a desperate need for corporate yoga in the workplace. Most of the issues are related to physical pains (the manifestation of too much desk work and living sedentary lifestyles) and mental stress (the result of stressful workplaces and the inability to cope with the stress).

Yoga is one of the greatest teachers when it comes to mobilizing our bodies, decompressing our spine and neck, removing energy blocks (something we heavily accumulate while at our desks for extended periods of time), coping with stress through breathwork and mindfulness activities, and creating a better sense of fulfillment through the work we produce at our jobs.

The main benefit from practicing yoga is the reduction of stress, along with the ability to cope with stressful situations. This is important because 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)

This is what led me to pursuing corporate yoga. With a little bit of help from systematic reviews of wellness strategies, I’ll be able to contribute to the growing importance of creating healthy work cultures that emphasizes well-being in the workplace!

The following are the main aspects of a successful wellness program from a systematic review of employer-sponsored wellness strategies and their economic and health-related outcomes by the National Institute of Health.

  • The corporate culture encouraged wellness to improve employees’ lives, not only to reduce costs.
  • Employees and leadership were strongly motivated to support the wellness programs and to improve their health in general.
  • Employees were motivated by a participation-friendly corporate policy and physical environment.
  • Successful programs adapted to the changing needs of the employees.
  • Community health organizations provided support, education, and treatment.
  • Successful wellness programs utilized technology to facilitate health risk assessments and wellness education.

These are the features of a successful wellness program. By taking note of them, I can make sure that improved health-related and economic outcomes are always associated with the employer-sponsored corporate yoga programs I’m involved in.

These bullet points also explain why it’s important to design a wellness program that is well-suited for that particular company, but at the same time, the program is subject to change as the employees needs change. In addition, successful programs create a culture that values health and encourages employee participation.

When it comes to corporate yoga, all of these vital aspects can easily be met. As time goes by, corporate yoga will prove itself as one of the most helpful forms of corporate wellness, which is mostly because it’s one of the most versatile wellness practice that can be implemented in almost an unlimited amount of ways.

As the new generations are entering the workforce, I see a HUGE future for corporate yoga because of it’s growing popularity with Generation Y (Millennials) and Generation Z (iGen).

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 becoming so popular and 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 existing wellness program. 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 raises in importance, employees want a healthy company culture that cares about their mental well-being. Therefore, a corporate yoga program will 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 workplace!

Generations Y and Z are coming in hot, and trust me, a lot of them are digging the yoga scene and will place a ton of value on prospect companies with existing corporate yoga program(s)!

Final thoughts

As you can tell, I’m very passionate about yoga and the future of corporate healing. After reading what I had to say, I hope I resonated with you on how I chose to format this post. My main goal is to lower the barriers that blocks the masses from utilizing this information!

I hope you enjoyed this post. Corporate wellness programs are going to bring a lot of healing to the world, and after hearing what I had to say, I’m sure you’re confident about what corporate yoga (which is obviously my favorite) has to offer to companies of ALL sizes.

Either way, corporate wellness programs are here to stay!

Much Love,
Dakota Mays