What Well-being in the Workplace Means
The Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment, and Health defines well-being in the workplace as being characterized by "employees who perceive themselves to be growing, engaged, and productive and who experience positive emotional states such as pleasure, energy, and joy that help buffer against stress" (2011). Stress threatens mental, emotional, and physical well-being and results in increased absenteeism, lack of confidence, and general feelings of dissatisfaction. Additionally, stress has been linked to conditions such as anxiety and depression, heart disease, back pain, headaches, and gastrointestinal maladies.
To help counter and manage stress in the workplace many employers are introducing yoga programs. Randomized controlled trials are demonstrating the positive effects that a weekly yoga program in the workplace plays in enhancing well-being, improving heart and lung function, reducing fatigue, anxiety, and depression (Hartfiel et al. 2011). The positive effects of a yoga program have been demonstrated to arise within 6 weeks of participating in a one hour class a week. Employees who begin a yoga intervention program feeling anxious, confused, tired, and stressed complete the 6 week program feeling composed, joyful, and energized. While stress is not necessarily removed from the workplace environment employees feel more confident as they navigate through stressful work-related situations.
Employers who are considering offering yoga classes to their employees are positioning their employees to find greater enjoyment in their workday, clear-mindedness, confidence, and enhanced quality of life. A weekly 1 hour yoga class effectively improves the workplace environment and positively enhances the well-being of employees and their resilience to stress.