Stress management in today’s work environments is extremely important. This was true long before the CoV19 outbreak, and will continue to be into the future. In many industries, people have been working longer hours for several years now — and the problem has only gotten worse in 2020, with 44% of people putting in more hours at home according to RTE. This naturally leads to stress (as if we don’t all have a bit too much already these days), which is not only bad for employees’ personal wellness but also has a negative effect on productivity. Virtually any experienced leader in business will attest to the fact that a stressed-out employee is generally a worse one.
An employee who feels overworked will ultimately “burn out” — an idea we covered in our piece on ‘How to Access Your Peak Performance’ back in 2018. In that piece we focused more on some of the mental and strategic things people can do to avoid feeling overwhelmed (such as saying “no” to more tasks, when possible). But sometimes physical activity can help to offset the burden or the modern work schedule as well.
One idea with regards to the physical dimension that become increasingly common is yoga. A simple search for “corporate yoga” will reveal pages upon pages of write-ups about various companies that have infused yoga and wellness programs into their cultures. They include the likes of Aetna, Blue Chip, and Eventbrite. But now, with so many people working at home, yoga is an even more appealing option, because it’s that much easier to sep away from your desk and knock out some downward-facing dog!
So let’s identify a few of the specific ways an activity like yoga in the workplace can help employees to manage stress, and thereby keep workplaces (even the remote ones) more productive and healthy.
#1 – Yoga is actually feasible
Yoga in the office can take a lot of forms. In the best of cases, a company will establish communal space where yoga or other light physical activities can be practiced, so as to incentivize employees to take care of themselves. However, the point here is that even in a more traditional office environment, yoga at work is completely feasible! Sure, you might not be able to do the full routine you’d ordinarily do at home with your favorite yoga app, or in a local studio or gym you might go to. But there are some things you can do without taking up any more space than you normally do when you’re sitting at your desk.
Thrive Global wrote about practical stress management and revealed some of the specifics behind simple yoga exercises that most anyone can do at work. Declaring yoga “hard to beat” as a stress management technique, the article revealed some basic poses — such as spine twists, rolling shoulders, and back-and-forth twists — that you can do quite literally while seated at your desk. There are more like these out there, and there are also some effective yoga exercises you can do standing behind your chair, if you have the option. Whatever the specifics may be though, the point is that one reason office yoga is so effective is that you can actually practice it regularly, no matter what your working environment may be. So yes, Yoga is feasaible!
#2 – Yoga Can Be Social
Socialization in the workplace is a somewhat polarizing topic. Some believe that employees becoming friendly with each other can lead to the working environment becoming somewhat less serious, and ultimately less productive. Others, however, believe that when employees are encouraged to socialize, they generally stay happier, and thus avoid burnout. To that point, Forbes covered multiple benefits of social connections specifically for employee wellness. Their article made note of broad concepts like increased happiness, less stress, increased engagement, and so on.
Considering these points it’s fair to say that socialization itself helps to keep workplace stress under control. Yoga, however, can help to drive that socialization. We mentioned above that some offices have spaces set aside for yoga and similar activities, and in these cases the exercise can help unite people. Even if employees aren’t necessarily chatting a whole lot while practicing yoga, they’ll be doing something together aside from work. It can help to build a sense of community that can in turn help to reduce stress. So yes, Yoga is quite but there is a very social, team-dimension to it!
#3 – Yoga Has Plenty Of Physical Benefits
Last but not least, there are physical benefits to consider! Healthline sums up the benefits of yoga in a fairly comprehensive manner, and includes improved heart health, reduction of chronic pain, better flexibility and balance, better breathing, and increased strength — not to mention the promotion of better eating and sleeping habits.
All of these perks are associated with regular yoga practice. And while they may not seem directly relevant to workplace stress, it’s reasonable to expect that employees who feel healthier in all these ways will simply feel better at work. They might be inclined to eat healthier lunches, they might feel more natural sitting at their desks, and they might simply operate with a more refreshed, energetic attitude. All of this, in turn, can amount to fairly effective workplace stress management. All it takes, as demonstrated by some of the companies listed previously, is the designation of a space and the offering of free yoga classes. Employees will do the rest. And your organization will experience one additional way to making your employees healthy high performers!
Written for: braininspa.com
Submitted by: Jennifer Birch
Image Credits: [PxFuel] – No changes were made to the image