The Great Resignation of 2021, also known as “The Big Quit”, saw millions of employees worldwide voluntarily quit their jobs, despite a global pandemic that forced millions of people across the globe to lose their jobs.
With the restrictions imposed lockdown after lockdown, employees were required to find alternative ways to work and ultimately were compelled to integrate their home and work lives.
The “Working From Home” movement, which has been gaining momentum over the past decade or so thanks to technology and WiFi, became the new normal for businesses and companies whose employees could continue to stay connected to the office remotely and continue doing their work in the comfort of their homes.
The reality check of the pandemic (including that life is intrinsically uncertain) and the space away from the office (literally and figuratively), nevertheless, have led many employees to ponder and reevaluate their priorities and values. This has even led to some leaving their places of work or to expect more from their employers.
This begs the question, why would millions of people leave their jobs during a time when most of us are lucky enough to have steady work?
A greater balance between work and life outside of work leading to a deeper sense of well-being is one of the principal instigators.
And in order to retain their most important assets – their employees – and keep them thriving as opposed to burning out, employers have started to notice the opportunity to invest in workplace wellness.
Workplace wellness refers to an organisation’s ability to promote and maintain the physical and mental health of its employees. It is also about reducing risks to employees’ health and wellness through safe work practices, healthy work environments and responsible hosting of company events.
Wellness in the workplace is the extended concept of working peacefully in the midst of an often chaotic working environment and, these days, the uncertainty and chaos that has arisen worldwide due to the COVID pandemic.
The United Nations warned at the beginning of the pandemic that the coronavirus could result in a global mental health crisis, and an international report by the World Health Organisation reveals that depression is the most disabling illness for the corporate sector, second only to cardiovascular diseases.
Organisations that are prepared to support their workforce by offering holistic wellness programmes are playing a crucial proactive role in combating the likelihood of such a crisis.
However, offering a wellness programme to staff or integrating wellness into work-life also makes sense from a business perspective.
And yoga as part of that offering goes exceedingly far to boost both physical and mental well-being.
Long hours, multi-tasking, stiff competition, irregular eating habits, working many hours often sedentary in front of a computer with bad sitting posture, all combine to create a pool of highly stressed, inefficient and thus despairing workforce.
The National Institute of Mental Health in the United States estimates that U.S. employers lose $70 billion a year due to absenteeism, lost productivity and disability caused by mental distress.
The benefits of yoga in the workplace to counter this malaise are unmatched by other wellness programmes, as the very crux of the yogic discipline is a mind-body balance. It is one of the only forms of exercise known to increase flexibility, strength, balance, concentration and breath capacity while reducing stress and anxiety.
Yoga also helps boost morale and interpersonal communication – which for an employer means a reduction in bickering teams and dissatisfied individuals, power struggles and dirty politics.
There is conclusive evidence supporting the fact that offering even one yoga session in a week brings about noted changes in employee behaviour by helping them manage stress better, enhance clarity and creative thinking, improve communication skills, cultivate leadership and teamwork, and increase overall effectiveness in the workplace.
The benefits of yoga (including mindfulness and meditation), as a holistic activity in a workplace environment, are numerous, as you will have read above. But to summarise, yoga in the work environment can lead to:
Global and local companies that prioritise employee wellness through yoga are steadily growing. These include:
Marriott International, Google, Penguin Random House, Microsoft, Deloitte, DIGI Outsource Services, PathCare, Oracle and PayPal
We are no longer living in a time where employees stay in a single job simply because of the paycheque. They are looking for ways to promote a better work-life balance through prioritising well-being. Because feeling well and content leads to being more fully engaged in one’s work and life as a whole.
And many companies and businesses are beginning to realise the importance of prioritising their employees’ well-being and creating a culture in which employees feel cared for – because they understand that this results in a win-win situation for both parties.
At House of Yoga, we believe that workplace wellness should be at the top of every business’s must-do list! In addition to our weekly group classes that are held in studio to the general public, we have extensive experience teaching yoga in the workplace (whether for larger corporates or SMEs). Our clients include the following local and international companies:
RGA Reinsurance Company of South Africa
The Maitland Group
The South African College of Applied Psychology
If you would like to learn more about bringing yoga into your workplace with in-person or online yoga sessions, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org