Yoga - The H.R Managers Lifesaver?
Stress in the workplace.....
It's 2018 and it’s no secret that stress and anxiety have a negative effect on productivity in the workplace.
We all know friends or family that have taken time off work because of a stress related illness - whether mental or physical - or even pulled a sicky (A mental health day a friend of mine calls it!) We all enjoy a day off, but the stresses that make us take the day off in the first place needs to be addressed. Nowadays, we see more and more Companies taking accountability for their employee’s health and well-being. Wellness programs are being implemented in the major global corporations and yoga is paving the way as the most popular office wellness trend.
Stress can bring about a shocking amount of health problems and they can manifest physically (muscle pain, headaches, upset stomachs, chest pain) or mentally (anxiety, restlessness, feeling overwhelmed and depression).
Let’s look at a quick fact...
In 2013 alone, about 55,000 workers in Ireland were affected by work-related illness, resulting in a total loss of 790,000 productive days. According to the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), musculoskeletal disorders - affecting different parts of the body used for movement including the skeleton, muscles, tendons and ligaments - is responsible for the vast majority of absences, at 50pc. This is followed by work-related stress, anxiety and depression (SAD) at 18pc. The research, published found the average length of absence in 2013 was 17 days for stress, anxiety and depression and 15.9 days for MSD. The average duration for all other types of work-related illness was 12.8 days. It goes without saying that a stressed out and weary workforce serves nobody, but pretty soon, productivity goes down the plughole. (http://www.independent.ie/life/health-wellbeing/destressing-the-workplace-employers-focus-on-health-and-wellbeing-35161792.html)
Unfortunately, stress, burnout and workplace anxiety are on the rise, which is upsetting because in this day and age we know more about the causes and effects of stress than ever before. Why can't we find the balance in our daily lives? This could be down to a number of factors i.e. information overload, lack of education, social media addiction, toxic work environments etc.... It can even be taboo to talk about being stressed in the workplace!
If an organisation cares about the happiness and welfare of their workforce, not only will the individual have a greater quality of life, they will have a more pleasant work environment. The employer will have a happy and more effective workforce which in-turn leads to a reduced absenteeism, sick leave and burnout.
I worked in the corporate environment for 6 years so I am no stranger to the trials and tribulations that can be faced in a busy office setting. Having worked for a global company and on a global team, life was always hectic. The constant barrage of e-mails, the never ending admin and sales targets definitely started to take its toll on my physical and mental health. I tried everything from Pilates, a Personal Trainer, Meditation, Running, Spin class and Cross-fit. I even started using the pub - as did the majority of my colleagues - as an outlet for my frustration and adrenaline. Only one thing was making me feel better, it was Yoga. However, I couldn't seem to find the work-life balance.
Yoga gave me a glimpse into a more balanced and calm world. The more yoga I did, the less stressed and more productive I began to feel. Unfortunately, this was short-lived. As my job became busier and busier I found I had less time for myself let alone a yoga class.
Even though I smashed my targets, had a lovely company car and was in a role that was more senior than all more peers, I was miserable. I had no time to travel to Yoga classes, work spilled into weekends so no more Yoga retreats. I was more successful yet more stressed and more anxious than ever before.
I was on the road to either burnout or a panic attack. My job was effecting my mental and physical health and it just didn't seem worth the sacrifice. Yoga was what made me happy so I decided to make that my sole focus. I handed in my notice and was offered more money and a nicer car to stay but at that point freedom, happiness and yoga was the goal. I was sick of letting a job take up so much of my life. I left the company on very good terms and started chasing happiness. Next stop, India where I learn to teach yoga.
What we do....
Two years later and I have my own yoga business Irish Yoga Girl and I have never felt more fulfilled. My overall aim is to help employees have a more balanced work-life. When I was at my most stressed, If I had the yoga and mindfulness training in the office with the support of the company.... I wonder would I have left? If I had been taught meditation and mindfulness techniques that I could use in times of overwhelm and stress I would probably still be working my way up the corporate ladder. Stress is part of life, it's how we manage that stress that is the tough part. The aim of Irish Yoga Girl is to teach people how to find the work life balance I was unable to achieve so they don’t have to take drastic measures like I did.
I left my corporate job not because I didn’t like the role (I actually really enjoyed the role) I left because I couldn’t find a work life balance, causing me anxiety and stress. The job was taking over my life and I just wanted more. Had I known how to balance it all, things may have been different.
Main Benefits of yoga in the workplace:
1: Stress Reduction:
2: Improves Concentration & Focus:
3: Increases Energy and Reduces Fatigue:
4: Increases Workplace Positivity/Morale:
5: Increase Creativity
6: Toning and Weightloss
Is Yoga the Solution?
“Yoga increases body awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centers the nervous system. Yoga's positive benefits on mental health have made it an important practice tool of psychotherapy” - (American Psychological Association)
Most companies have probably noticed the increase in stress leave and burnout rates. Feedback has shown that yoga and mindfulness training is a key contributor in alleviating this. Office yoga is a great way to give your employees the mental break they need.
Feedback from our clients has shown that employees are really feeling the calming effects of yoga and want to continue on this journey with their peers in the office (see website for testimonials) The research speaks for itself.
So, is Yoga the HR manager’s lifesaver..... we hope so!