I launched a discussion last year on Linked In with various Corporate Wellness and Yoga related groups asking people how to tap into the Corporate Wellness space in Los Angeles.
Until recently my questions went unanswered. Interestingly enough my discussion is now generating eyeballs and things are getting juicy! I wanted to share some of the insights coming through.
First of all, I see a few things happening in the marketplace resulting in this shift of interest.
On the Yoga side of things…
1) Yoga is a huge business and growing rapidly
2) Teachers are graduating teacher trainings at a rapid rate and can’t find work in studios anymore
3) Studios aren’t paying well so Yogis are turning to Corporations with larger budgets
4) Yoga instructors are getting more business savvy and joining Linked In and other social media platforms to help them grow their business
On the corporate side of things…
1) Employees are generating more demand for wellness since they spend so much time at work
2) In general people are becoming more aware of their health and wellness
3) Health care and sick days are expensive for the employer so it benefits corporations to keep their employees healthy
4) Yoga is now an accepted, respectable and understood practice, which helps the HR department to sell it
According to leading wellness industry consultant and prolific writer John Bates, “most people spend more hours at work than anywhere else in addition to the time they spend commuting each day. In fact, the typical American works approximately 47 hours a week which is at least 164 hours more than the average 20 years ago.”
If we are spending so much time at work, don’t we want to feel good? I ask my friends every so often if their companies would support a wellness program. Usually, I get these answers:
1) I don’t know
2) It’s not my job, maybe…
3) They are too cheap
4) They don’t know what Yoga is
5) I don’t think anyone has much time
Maybe my friends don’t care much about Yoga or maybe they don’t care much about their bodies. Or, if they do care about their bodies and Yoga perhaps they prefer to get the hell out of work and go to the studio for some peace and quiet! But, my friends may not have kids, play dates, partners, and countless other things to rush home to that keep them from exercising.
I’ve decided now when I go to a party I am going to ask my friends for the name and number of their HR Director. You ask, “Why should an HR person care about all this?” and I respond with more of John Bates’ great information!
“Given these statistics (referencing 47 hours a week average time spent at work), it is easy to see why maintaining a healthy work/life balance is becoming increasingly important. Corporate wellness programs are important tools to establish this balance. Programs that emphasize the benefits of corporate wellness can be implemented in a variety of ways.
However, they all share a common goal – to promote the well-being of their employees, employers, and organization in general. Many companies are starting to realize the tremendous benefits of corporate wellness.
One of the primary benefits of corporate wellness involves a reduction in the rates of illness and injuries among employees. Unhealthy employees experience a wide range of work-related injuries such as muscle strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, stress fractures or back pain. These individuals are also susceptible to developing complications such as diabetes, heart disease or a stroke. Employees without the opportunity to participate in corporate wellness programs may develop serious illnesses. Consequently, they could find themselves on long-term disability for an extended period of time or be forced to discontinue working entirely.
When programs that focus on the benefits of corporate wellness are implemented, this rate can be drastically reduced. For example, Coors Brewing Company experienced a remarkable 18% decrease in employee absenteeism after implementing a corporate wellness program within their workplace
Another benefit of corporate wellness programming is a reduction in the cost of healthcare. When employees are healthy and less stressed they tend to rely less on costly programs such as disability insurance and sick leave.
Companies will notice a significant decrease in healthcare costs once they incorporate wellness programs into their workplace. For example, after implementing a fitness program in which only 60% of the employees participated, Coca-Cola was able to save $500 per employee every year.
Increased productivity is another benefit of corporate wellness. Employees who are happy and healthy tend to produce a greater volume of work at a higher quality than unhealthy employees. Employers need to realize that implementing programs that lower fitness and stress levels will increase the overall output of their employees.
Corporate wellness programs also contribute to the enhanced retention of key employees. Companies that implement wellness programs normally experience a much lower rate of employee turnover. Recruiting, marketing and advertising for vacant positions are very costly, not to mention time-consuming. If your employees are happy and healthy and enjoy working at your company, you will be able to focus more time and energy on actually getting the job done.
The bottom line is you should take advantage of the benefits of corporate wellness. Make it a goal to implement a program as soon as possible – don’t wait until most of your employees are stressed, sick or applying to other jobs. You will experience a reduction in employee injuries, illness, absenteeism, and healthcare costs, as well as an increase in employee retention and productivity. Assuming responsibility for establishing a healthy, harmonious working environment will allow everyone to enjoy the benefits of corporate wellness.“
There are great websites out there like John’s that provide HR leaders with presentations, information and proposals for download that will help sell these programs to their company! Can it get any easier than that? If the HR Director doesn’t have time to put a presentation together then as Yoga Instructors we can be proactive and create one for them.
For the HR leaders out there, Yoga instructors can be flexible with any working arrangement. Not only are we flexible on the mat, we are in the mind!
Now, I want to share some of the great feedback that I have received on this discussion just to get the wheels turning for both Yogis and HR Directors!
From a member of the Linked In Group who is an ex HR Director:
1. Be very clear about what you can offer and what it can do for individuals and therefore, the company. Find and sell benefits – not just features! Don’t take on more than you can effectively deliver, so find companies with a head count that you can properly manage, evaluate and report back on.
2. Determine what kinds of problems companies need to resolve; some will just want to comply with regulations: some will be running employee engagement programs – some may have issues with absenteeism, sick days, low morale – find the problems that you confidently feel your offering addresses and align with those.
4. Align yourself with professional bodies in your specialist field to increase your credibility.
5. Budget – well, you’re the one who has to determine how much money you want to make. Once you’re clear about this, you need to calculate how much your programs will cost and then you can more easily identify who can afford your services. The best thing is always to ask – “How much have you in your budget for this” – once you get face-to-face with a potential client. Ideally, you are probably looking at organisations who have a legal duty of care to their staff, and there is no doubt a minimum headcount for that in the U.S. as there is in the U.K. which would at least give you a criteria to search on, when you start to identify your potential clients.
Another great participant in the discussion:
A Linked In member offered this:
“I teach regular weekly classes at a health club and a community center. From time to time I mention to my students that I am available to come to their companies or organization for a private class. Even without mentioning it often, I have had students approach me asking for it. Once you develop loyal students who appreciate your teaching style, they will want to share you with others.
I have found teaching in the corporate environment very rewarding. As a former corporate person myself, I can relate to the stress levels. You can see a visible difference in the energy they bring into the room, versus how they leave the practice. Yoga is for everyone, but especially needed in this environment. And, it is a nice way to be well compensated as a teacher. Win-win.”
I love this idea too:
“What I think would be great is some sharing of real-world “case studies” and examples of how the disciplines of yoga have been successfully integrated into a corporate environment, with evidence of the benefits [ideally in terms of increased productivity, improved relationships and collaboration, improved organizational performance, etc.].”
Thank you to everyone for participating in the Linked In group forums. I really find the discussions to be so rewarding, purposeful and enlightening.
On a final personal note, I have an interest in this topic because I started my Yoga practice as a result of being overworked, stressed and in lots of physical pain while in a corporate environment. So, I get it! I really want to help people find the peace, happiness and joy that I did. That is why I got my teaching certifications. I want to give back what I so humbly have received from this amazing Universe!
Thank you to John Bates for your wonderful information! John is a leading wellness industry consultant and prolific writer about all aspects of health and wellness programs. His work can be found on numerous wellness websites including his own: Wellness Proposals, Infinite Wellness Solution’s and Infinite Health Coach.
TAGS: Nicole Doherty, yoga, yoga regulation, Yoganomics, Indie Yoga, independent Yoga, Corporate Yoga Workplace wellness, Human Resources, Yoga Healthcare, Workplace Wellness