Standing desks. Swiss ball chairs. Crazy mice. There’s a long checklist of items for the optimal office set up - all to make sure you don’t get neck pain, back pain, or carpal tunnel - and to increase productivity! Workplace ergonomics is essentially a science; a formula for designing a better work environment and a better work experience. The literature out there boasts that workplace ergonomics will:
- Reduce costs: A significant percentage of workers compensation is attributed to musculoskeletal disorders injuries or pain in the joints, ligaments, muscles, and structures that support the limbs, neck, and back. By reducing the risks of these injuries, companies can accrue significant cost savings.
- Improve productivity: Ergonomic solutions improve productivity by designing spaces that allow for good posture and less exertion; making the work space more efficient.
- Improve quality: Ergonomic solutions improve the quality of work output by alleviating physical fatigue and enabling the worker to perform their best work.
- Improve employee engagement: When a company invests in their employees, employees will be more inclined to invest in the company, reducing turnover, decreasing absenteeism, and improving overall morale.
- Create a better culture: Healthy employees = happy employees. This contributes to a better culture and human performance within the organization.
There’s another science that can achieve all the same things of workplace ergonomics without all the crazy equipment. Yoga!
Yoga in the workplace can:
- Reduce costs: Yoga postures can alleviate muscle tightness built up over time, while strengthening the muscles that become weak from lack of use. These preventative exercises reduce the risk of work related injuries in sedentary work environments, which can result in health savings. In addition to physical health, yoga can also reduce the costs of stress-related illness by promoting positivity and calmness in the midst of stressful work situations.
- Improve productivity: The meditative aspect of yoga can improve focus and concentration. While focusing the mind on the breath during yoga, the mind becomes trained in the skill of concentration which leads to higher productivity.
- Improve quality: In addition to greater focus and concentration, yoga also promotes self awareness and the ability to respond more calmly in demanding situations, enhancing decision making and the overall quality of work output.
- Improve employee engagement: Healthy bodies + peaceful minds = happy employees. When people are pleasant within, they tend to emanate pleasantness out. This cultivates deeper engagement with their work and the company.
- Create a better culture: Yoga is all about well-being. Body, mind, and soul. It fosters a culture that is conscientious and outward focused. Not only does this benefit client relationships, but collaborations within the organization benefit from these qualities as well.
Do we need to hire a yoga teacher? If you have a job and you have a body, you’ve got everything you need to design your work experience with yoga. Below are a number of simple exercises that can be practiced independently to cultivate these benefits and begin redesigning your work experience.
Practice for the mind
- Start in a comfortable seat. Close your eyes. Focus only on your breath.
- Begin by taking 3 big breaths. Making sure the inhale is as round and full as the exhale.
- Do 3 rounds of square breathing. Inhale for a count of 5, hold your breath for 5 seconds, exhale for a count of 5, hold your breath for 5 seconds. Repeat 2 more times, taking note of the quality of your breath. Is it shallow? Is it full? Is it even? Uneven?
Once you’ve settled into your breath, and have been able to X out some of the open tabs in your brain, then you’re ready to move on to the physical exercises.
Practice for the body
While the exercises prescribed above are curated in an intentionally sequential fashion, completing any one of these would contribute to your experience at work. No effort in this practice is too small. No effort in this practice is wasted. So don’t let your busy schedule and eternal to-do list deter you from taking 5 minutes to invest in yourself and your work experience.
Start designing your experience today!