The average workday consists of 8 to 10 hours in a high-stress environment, bouncing between meetings, phone calls and a strenuous amount of time staring at a computer screen. Not only does this wear away at your physical well-being, it can have a strong negative impact on your mental health, as well.
The solution more and more businesses are turning to? Workplace yoga.
Companies such as Apple, Yahoo!, Nike and Google have all begun offering yoga and meditation at their headquarters, and our team has followed their lead to great success.
We began incorporating workplace yoga into our office routine several months ago with hour-long lessons led in office by professional yoga instructors. The positive effect it has on our employees’ focus, productivity and stress levels was immediate. These yogic practices have since developed into a crucial part of our company culture, even for employees (like myself!) who had never so much as stepped foot on a yoga mat before.
What are some of the benefits workplace yoga can have on your business, and how you can incorporate it into your own company culture?
Workplace Yoga by the Numbers
Including yoga as a wellness option in our office has without a doubt been a positive experience, but don’t take our word for it! One might expect their employees to feel tired or distracted if their day was disrupted by exercise, but research showed the opposite to be true.
A study done by the University of Bristol observed the effects of midday workouts on 200 employees at an IT firm. Their research showed:
Why It’s Good For Business
We love sharing photos from our workplace yoga sessions, and it’s not just because it makes for a great social media moment! Yoga has become an integral part of our company culture, but the impact is has had on the motivation and productivity in our office has been astronomical. Here are some of the benefits yoga can have within your office:
If you’re anything like an estimated 190 million workers in America, you spend most of your week hunched over at a desk. Your neck is cricked, your back is slouched, and you often wake up with mystery aches and pains. Desk life curls your body inwards, and yoga works to reverse this unnatural and unhealthy posture by opening up your body. The fluid movements of yoga help to position you in a way that is the opposite of your usual desk posture, which helps to relieve pressure in your neck and back as well as lesson any tension caused by stress.
There’s nothing worse than leaving work with that dreaded feeling of having gotten nothing done. Whether you’re tired, stressed, or just feeling unmotivated, taking time out of the work day for yoga can provide you with that much needed boost of energy and productivity needed to power through the day. Gentle yoga combined with breathing exercises releases endorphins, a natural “feel good” chemical to lift your spirits and clear your mind for the rest of the day ahead of you. Completing a midday yoga session also provides a sense of accomplishment — if you can get that done, what else can you check off your to-dos for that day?
Forget company bowling leagues and softball teams! Yoga has quickly become one of the top corporate team building exercises, and for good reason. Yoga’s stress-relieving properties not only help your employees power through their own work load, but will also help them work more cohesively as a team. One negative attitude can bring down the entire mood of the office, but yoga helps to elevate spirits and keep tempers even. Workplace yoga is also great for team building because it is a shared experience. Having yoga to look forward to and participate in together will encourage bonding within your team regardless of their skill levels.
How You Can Incorporate it in Your Office
Now that you know the benefits of yoga on your employees’ health and company culture, the next step is establishing how to incorporate it into your own business. Here are three options for bringing yoga to life in your office:
Host Yoga Classes
With the knowledge of all of the benefits workplace yoga can have on a business, the easiest way to encourage your employees to get involved is by bringing class right to the office. With workplace yoga on the rise, more and more yoga studios are offering corporate wellness classes specifically for stress relief and team building. Get in contact with your local yoga studios and see if there are any mutually beneficial partnerships you can form, such as offering them discounted services in exchange for teaching yoga at your office. If you are looking for guidance or somewhere to start, our founder Adam teaches yoga at Yoga Nine in Long Beach Island.
“As a yoga instructor myself, I’m aware of both the mental and physical benefits of practicing yoga,” says Adam. “Making yoga a prominent part of our company culture here at Creative Click Media has not only boosted morale around the office, but has greatly improved our collaborative environment.”
Incorporate Breathing Exercises
Yoga isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay! Even if the physical side of yoga has your employees less than enthused, they can still reap the benefits of yoga’s breathing exercises. Yoga breathing, or Pranayama, is the basis of all yoga practices. It calms the mind, improves focus, increases oxygen flow, and provides a much-needed energy boost. Consider bringing in a professional to teach your employees breathing techniques they can do right from their desk. This way, they will still be able to receive the same clarity and stress-relief without having to feel uncomfortable participating in physical exercises.
Encourage Yoga Breaks
According to a study done by Inc.com, 55% of employees don’t feel as though they can get up from their desk during their break in fear of being “judged” for stepping away from their work. We know the negative impact sitting at a desk all day can have on your employees’ mental and physical health. If hosting yoga classes isn’t feasible for your work space, actively encourage your employees to take a few minutes out of their day for some rejuvenating yoga poses. Consider printing out photos of office-friendly yoga poses for your employees to follow along with on their own time, or designate a small space in your office for your employees to practice yoga together.
Ready to Start Your Workplace Yoga Journey?
We’ve shared the benefits to workplace yoga along with some ways to incorporate it into your company culture, and now all that’s left to do is get started. If you live in Southern New Jersey and want to see some workplace yoga in action, join one of our weekly meetups! Our Manahawkin Mindfulness Yoga Meetups are open to the public and perfect for small businesses looking to use yoga as a team building experience. We hope to see you there — Namaste!