Whether you are self-employed, a small-business owner or a corporate mogul, both your business and your employees (even if that’s just you) will benefit by incorporating yoga into your daily work routine and your wellness program.
If you do not have one, now is a great time to start. It’s reported that companies spend about $14,000 per employee on medically related productivity costs annually. But companies that offer yoga and other wellness program benefits greatly reduce their health insurance premiums and increase their bottom line.
Many companies now recognize the value of yoga, and more and more are offering classes as part of their corporate wellness. These include the likes of pro sports teams, Forbes, GE, Apple, Google, GM, Chase Manhattan Bank, HBO, GM, Industrial Light & Magic and Nike. But yoga can help all companies, large and small—just as it can help all people, no matter their age, current health or level of flexibility.
Consider these six ways yoga can help your employees’ (and your own) productivity at work:
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Increases Energy/Reduces Fatigue
One study showed that sitting for 5+ hours is a productivity killer and has the same health effect as smoking a pack of cigarettes! Working nonstop also creates stress. Even just standing up or doing some stretching or physical activity every 30 minutes greatly increases blood circulation. Incorporating simple yoga moves at these times is a great way to avoid fatigue.
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Alleviates Physical Ailments
If you’re suffering from aches, pains or even more serious physical problems, this will affect your productivity. No matter what kind of job you have, if you are constantly thinking about and dealing with ailments and pain, the last thing your mind will be on is work.
Yoga can help relieve even the most severe pain and physical problems, such as those associated with traumatic brain injury. If it can help such intense pain and trauma, imagine what it can do for regular headaches, carpal tunnel, neck strain, shoulder stiffness, arthritis, etc.
Aside from physical pain and illness, the other major factor affecting employee health and work productivity is mental and emotional stress. They say stress is the reason for 90 percent of all doctor visits. But it’s not just stress itself that sends people looking for help—stress also causes and exacerbates physical ailments and conditions (from colds, allergies and headaches to diabetes, cancer and heart disease).
Stress accounts for billions of business dollars lost due to reduced productivity, absenteeism, employee turnover, accidents and medical fees. Avoiding such problems is paramount for both employees and businesses.
Improves Concentration & Focus
Stressful deadlines, endless meetings and the general cacophony of a workplace create mental clutter that prevents you from concentrating on tasks and making good decisions. Yoga’s meditation and breathing exercises help to silence the noise and clear the clutter, letting you be more mindful, alert and focused.
Helps with Creativity
As yoga helps you better concentrate and focus, it also opens the mind so the creative juices and energy can flow. You can’t think outside of the box when your brain is confined within the box.
If you physically, mentally and emotionally feel well, your morale will be high. If you are focused and energetic, your positivity will be strong. If your creativity is unleashed, your self-confidence will soar. And all of this will make you a better employee—in your job responsibilities, your dealings with clients and your interactions with fellow employees.
Healthy, relaxed and focused employees are more productive and cost effective. Even encouraging employees to take just 10 minutes during the work day (perhaps during “dead time” that employees often waste) to practice some simple yoga stretches or breathing exercises at their desk, in a conference room or out in the fresh air and sunshine can help immensely. And offering yoga classes at work or off-site is a low-cost and effective way to achieve happy and productive employees.