Many employers have wellness departments, especially employers with more than 20 employees. Research has proven that it’s profitable to invest in the health of your staff. The mental health of the world suffered over the last two years due to numerous lock-downs and knee-jerk reactions to an invisible enemy that threatened to devastate the human population. Now that workers are returning to the office, employers are looking for ways to further train and support their teams.
Luckily, the pandemic sparked a lot of interest in online learning and there are so many online mindfulness coaching certifications and meditation trainings available to help employees learn how to integrate these powerful tools into their workday. Many offices offer yoga at work or meditation and some companies offer massage as a workplace benefit. Some managers and team leaders are opting to become certified mindfulness coaches or certified yoga teachers through online yoga teacher training programs that are self-paced and affordable. The beauty of these programs is that students can take several programs and integrate multiple perspectives into their practice.
Workplace development is changing and it will include a strong focus on health and wellness. We may even see employers incentivizing yoga and meditation training in the upcoming months. It’s possible that we’ll also see a shift away from the five-day work week and a transition toward a more relaxed flexible schedule that blends remote work with in-person work.
For now, there are some things that employees can do to reduce their stress as they move back into the workplace. The first thing to do is to take breaks to breathe and move. Synchronizing the breath and the body helps to regulate the nervous system. When we are stressed we are operating more in the sympathetic nervous system than we are operating in the parasympathetic nervous system. When we take time to move with our breath we can come back to the center and reconnect with that part of ourselves that is always still and always present.
Chair yoga, a walk around the block, or sun salutations can all help employees achieve this type of moving meditation in a short amount of time. It’s nice when a team member is certified as a yoga teacher because they can show the rest of the team how to use their desks and the wall to open the shoulders and the back after a long stint of sitting and typing at a computer. These adaptive methods of practicing yoga are certainly helpful in the workplace, but they are also great when employees go home, too.
Sometimes our homelives are stressful, or our home environment is anxiety-provoking. Adaptive yoga or yoga done in fits and starts to make space in the body and connect to the breath can be extremely beneficial for self-regulation. Once an individual is used to movement practices that bring them into the present moment they can begin to work towards seated meditations. Some people prefer guided meditation or Yoga Nidra, but others like traditional Vipassana.
Companies may begin to value mindfulness, meditation, and yoga training more in the future because it supports health and wellbeing in the workplace. These types of practices require little investment and are easy to implement in just about any space. Research has proven that these practices help to regulate the nervous system and therefore induce a calming effect on the body and mind. This impacts productivity and helps to maximize the company’s bottom line while providing the most health benefit to the employees. Only time will tell if our workforce culture will change. We have an opportunity for unprecedented growth if we choose to accept it.