How office yoga is benefitting ones of America’s largest companies

How office yoga is benefitting ones of America’s largest companies

31st July 2018

In this article we take a look at Aetna, one of America’s largest companies by revenue and the ways in which a randomized, controlled study has found that office yoga is benefiting the business.

Following a near-death experience, the CEO of Aetna, a large American health insurance company, discovered yoga and since then has overhauled the office culture in the company, offering free yoga and meditation classes to their employees. Aetna knew that these classes were having a positive impact on their employees’ mental and physical health but were also interested to see if this was having any impact on their bottom line.

Researchers, including persons from the Department of Psychology, University of Miami and School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania’s came together to create a study conducted with Aetna employees. Their aim was to look into the relationship between yoga classes and their impact on the company.

What did the researchers find?
Through the WLQ index – Work Limitation Questionnaire, the researchers estimated that each employee gained an average of 62 minutes per week in productivity after attending 1 Viniyoga class at work each week, for 12 weeks. Aetna then calculated this increase in productivity to be worth $3,000 per employee per year.

So how does yoga help deliver this benefit to companies?
There are many factors that can determine productivity and this study measured three key areas that the yoga classes helped Aetna employees:

  • One of the most impressive findings was that employees experienced a 28% reduction in their stress levels. Stress levels were measured by tracking heart rate variability and cortisol levels, a common measure for anxiety.
  • A 19% reduction in pain was measured using The Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Yoga can help improve back, neck and wrist pain, areas that commonly become sore or painful from office work.
  • Participants also experienced an average of 20% improvement in sleep quality, measured by The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index which looks at  subjective sleep quality, latency, duration, habitual sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances, use of sleep medications, and daytime dysfunction.

These figures show that yoga in the workplace is a great employee benefit to offer. The Aetna $3,000 per employee, per year benefit calculation also shows that the business gains equally as much. If you’re interested to know more, the full research paper can be viewed here.

Please comment below to share your thoughts on this study. I’m also interested to know whether you’ve practiced yoga before and if you have felt less stress, pain or slept better as a result?

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