A growing number of companies are implementing wellness-at-work programs, and for good reason: A report from the American Heart Association reports that for every dollar invited in corporate wellness, a company saves somewhere between $3 and $15. In general, employees who participate in wellness programs are sick less often, pay lower health insurance premiums, and are less likely to file for disability pay or worker’s compensation.
There are many approaches to improving employee health. Some offices hand out pedometers or Fitbits or organize company sports teams. Others serve up healthier foods in cafeterias and vending machines or hire in-office fitness instructors to teach classes. But for many people, more guidance is needed to create lasting health effects. That’s why one of our favorite strategies for encouraging wellness at work is bringing in actual weight loss and wellness coaching for employees.
Most of us are familiar with the benefits of having a wellness center at the workplace. While some of these centers offer treadmills, free weights and a scattering of fitness mats for stretching or core work, others provide classes for yoga and meditation.
It is almost impossible to ignore the headlines that boast how a regular yoga practice promotes health. From improved digestion to a peaceful state of mind, the benefits of yoga seem endless.
One of the lesser known perks of yoga is that it yields a higher level of productivity at work. While you might gain a fit body and a calm mind as a result of your efforts on the mat – whether at your workplace wellness center or your local yoga studio – your boss benefits from a more engaged and active worker. It is a win-win situation that might just lead to a raise, a promotion, or an opportunity to switch careers and find your dream job.
For some, sitting for hours at an office desk is an absolute nightmare. Being sedentary while displaying poor posture is not just painful, it’s bad for your health. A decrease in productivity, a negative attitude, and a disdain for your work are all unpleasant side effects of having to be chained to your desk all day. So I say, let’s fix that.
If you care about your attitude, your career, and your health, I encourage you to take some time and practice the following stretches. Do not be a victim of the spine-wrecking 40-hour work week. Instead, take charge and move your body throughout the day by stretching, bending, and breathing.
You may notice a theme with these suggested stretches, and that is to stand up! Even if you don’t get around to stretching, at least stand up from time to time while at work. A little bit goes a long way in keeping your body healthy.
From wellness centers to workplace massages, employers are constantly searching for new and effective ways to keep their employees calm, relaxed and healthy. When sick days cut in to the annual budget, and production is low due to stressed out workers, businesses can be greatly affected. In this highly competitive world in which we live, that does not bode well for companies striving to be the best.
According to a recent study in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, having a dog in the workplace might be a key ingredient to reducing stress on the job. Researchers found that having a dog (or dogs) at work instilled higher employee satisfaction, kept people calm and less tense, and made a generally positive difference to workers. In addition, the researchers discovered that having a dog at work allowed for more social interaction between employees, therefore increasing communication and collaboration on projects.
Hastily responding to every cell phone beep, email alert ding and news feed notification bing are the familiar ways a lot of us spend our waking hours every day, whether we are at work, or worse, at home spending some down time with family.
“The speed at which information is coming at us can get overwhelming,” says Google’s Gopi Kallayil, a marketing manager for Google+. Kallayil, also a yoga teacher, says she sees more people in Silicon Valley, the heart of the high-tech industry, turning toward yoga and meditation as a way to find a centering reprieve from the stressful blitz of the fast-paced digital world.
With the physical and mental health of these computer-habituated people at risk, many high-tech industries have adopted wellness programs that go beyond a gym membership and a monthly massage. Recognizing the hyperactive tendencies of those caught in the whirlpool of tweets, status posts and microblogs, companies such as Google and Twitter have incorporated “urban-wellness” programs that include yoga and meditation specifically designed to allow people the time to unwind, unclutter, and most importantly, unplug.
“Twitter is really into this,” says Deborah Burkman, meditation teacher for Twitter. “There is a whole mindfulness program they’re trying to build there. Like a lot of companies, they’re concerned about the well-being of their employees and they’re big believers in trying to have people be consciously connected.”