Corporate Wellness. What does it mean to you?
To me it means only positive, health-promoting things, but I’m learning that there are lots of negative thoughts and connotations around wellness events. Not because of the actual event, but because in a lot of cases, it feels like it’s all come a little too late (you’re already burnt out), they come a little too little (20 people you say? Our building holds 700?) and they come a little too fleetingly (this one Wednesday, and that’s it? Ok, so I missed it…)
Companies are trying…
It’s a new trend this wellness stuff. Yoga in the boardroom? Fruit for breakfast? Meditation seminars? Wasn’t around 5 years ago.
This wellness stuff is positive, it’s of benefit to you and more often than not, it’s free. Free, good, healthy stuff. You’d take it from a promotional person outside your tube station, so why not from the people who pay your salary?
Mostly because frustration and resentment for the employer has already set in, and those kind of emotions are hard to shift.
What are the benefits of Yoga and Meditation?
Moving the many physical benefits aside for a second, both of these practises:
- Clear up a busy mind
- Help you to relax and find calm
- Teach you to use your breath to release pent-up emotions and manage day-to-day stress
Maybe now you can see a link…..
Wellness is being offered to employees for a reason. A really good reason.
Your employers care about your wellbeing. They care that you’re well, healthy, happy. All of those things make you loyal, pleasant to be around 40 hours a week and productive. It’s ok to be open about that – if you’re happy, you work better. Good for them, good for you. Yes, it’s indirectly commercial, but you’re happier, so take it! Employers care, and on those fleeting moments when they offer you a wellness event or package – free fruit, bike to work schemes, one-off yoga class, meditation workshop, etc – they are doing it because they want you to be happy where you work. If you are happy, you work hard, you are proud of where you work and all of that usually leads to loyalty and productivity. Everyone’s happy, i’s a win-win.
But of course, it comes at an expense to employers. They are investing in your wellbeing. These employers are prioritising getting the business-as-usual done, as they rightly should, and now they’re trying some wellness stuff on top of that. Time and money.
Sadly that time and money is sometimes matched with a lack of confidence from employees who are cautious and/or disengaged, which results in a less attended event. Wellness events usually have some PR in the form of all-company-emails. Maybe a poster in the lift. But not loads. People have jobs to do, families to see, emergencies to attend…. it’s common. It’s so common that I advise as a Yoga Instructor to always over subscribe a wellness event and I have never had to turn anyone away.
Doing exercise with your colleagues? Lycra in the office? Whaaaaatt!
Mixing work and free-time, especially free-time that involves sweat and encourages relaxation, isn’t massively standard…. Let’s be honest, many would take a cheap glass of wine at the local bar over getting your Om on with your work team.
I smile at this because it’s such a common worry. The thing is, that in every single case, with no exceptions, once you’ve taken a yoga class in that environment, none of that matters and nobody cares!
You leave a corporate yoga session feeling relaxed and calm, empowered, refreshed and completely yourself. These are possibly emotions you’re not used to feeling around your work mates, and that’s refreshing in itself!
Remember you never have to do anything you don’t want to do. I tend not to bring Om-ing into corporate spaces, especially the one-offs, but some teachers will and that’s wonderful; but at the end of the day, you only do what you feel like doing.
Workplace wellness really, really, really is worth it if you give it a chance. Don’t poo-poo a wellness event if you see one happening in your office. It’s going to be good for you. Embrace it, be the person or people who champions it. Why not? People like enthusiastic people, plus, you might even enjoy it.
It only takes a handful of employees to get behind a wellness initiative for it to become accepted by everyone, and then it becomes celebrated by everyone. Not only are you benefitting physically, mentally and emotionally, but you’re breaking up your week and seeing your colleagues when they’re totally RELAXED-but-not-pissed – imagine that?
It doesn’t have to be in a boardroom; it can be on a balcony, the office roof top, building cafe, a conference space or even in a local park. But it could be in a boardroom, with large screens, wires and bad carpets included. Once you’re on the mat, that stuff stops mattering and you start to work on yourself.
Interested in knowing more? See Corporate Yoga for more information.