CORPORATE WELLNESS PROGRAMS
Yoga and mindfulness are essential tools to manage the turbulent nature of a corporate environment. SAP, Chase Manhattan Bank, Forbes, HBO, GE, Nike, Apple, Harpo, Motorola, Google and Ford Motor Company watch their ROI soar and their employees benefit both physically and mentally with the implementation of stress reduction and corporate wellness programs.
CAN IT BE BOTH? Can companies adopt people-centric corporate wellness programs, a mindfulness code of human rights, and be profitable as well?
cor·po·ra·tion /, kôrpəˈrāSH(ə)n/ noun
a company or group of people authorized to act as a single entity (legally a person) and recognized as such in law.
Derived from the Latin corporare – to combine in one body.
For many, the connotation of corporation is ambiguous and no longer reflects the feelings of community but rather embodies fiscally-based concepts of profit, acquisitions and mergers: a world motivated by charts and graphs leaving little room for faces and feelings. There is no better example of faceless interaction than the corporate call center.
Bill Ford, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company thinks it can. “The success of a company is inextricably linked to the depth of its humanity.” Ford believes that taking the time to ‘know people’s stories,’ both customers and employees, and cultivating mindfulness has significantly altered the corporate landscape at Ford for the better. Simply put, it is the BUSINESS of business to have happy & healthy employees.
“Wisdom without compassion is ruthlessness, compassion without wisdom is folly”
– Fred Kofman
Case Study: Ford & Back Pain
Ford believes in addressing whole body modality and has reaped its economic rewards. At one point, Ford was spending eighty to ninety million dollars a year managing back pain. In addition to the cost of covering employees on disability, Ford was running its own fully-staffed health clinics in plants across the U.S. The company estimated that the cost of employees’ back pain alone was adding $400 to the price of every car Ford sold; medical costs in total were adding $2300.
Since this was far more than foreign competitors like Toyota were spending, back pain had become a major barrier to remaining competitive. So the medical director asked Kenneth Pelletier, MD, Director of the University of Arizona’s Corporate Health Improvement Program (CHIP): Is there a way Ford could better manage back pain that would cost less?
CHIP helped Ford implement an integrative approach to back pain at a randomly selected engine assembly plant in Kentucky. The approach included the usual care offered at Ford’s clinics, plus onsite clinical acupuncture, mindfulness-based meditation and body mechanics training, and referral to chiropractic services when appropriate.
Pelletier wasn’t sure how blue-collar assembly line workers would respond to the less conventional therapies: “When we first went to Louisville, we had to meet with the unions and Ford’s medical team. The very first person said, ‘What’s this acupuncture?’ And I thought, we’re in trouble. But the good news about companies is that they are agnostic. They want to get people healthy and back to work, so they can save money. They’re very practical, and they set aside bias. They’re not against any form of medicine as long as it is safe, effective, and cost-effective.”
The results of the study were impressive. Use of prescription opiates went down by nearly 60 percent among participants in the integrative program. This, Pelletier points out, has significant economic consequences. Employees cannot work on the assembly line if they are taking prescription opiates, even if their pain is controlled. A 60 percent reduction in use translates into a huge return to work and saved money on disability costs. The study has already had a big ripple effect at Ford. The approach is being replicated in all of their health clinics, and Ford’s insurance companies are covering the costs, thanks to the power of Ford’s demands.
Pelletier was surprised to find that the single best predictor of improvement was participants’ use of a guided meditation CD, the component they thought might be the least appealing to the plant workers. Use of the CD predicted significant improvements in back pain-related disability, job performance, and physical and mental well-being. “We went back six months later, and twice as many workers were using the meditation CD than any other modality for back pain.” Findings like this demonstrate the feasibility of bringing less conventional modalities into communities that may not currently have access to or familiarity with them. (source: www.mindful.org)
Advantages of our Corporate Wellness Programs
- fewer disability claims
- increased productivity
- reduction in absenteeism
- higher employee morale and enthusiasm
- increase in engagement, creativity, problem solving
- increase in communication and the ability to listen
- increase in ability handle “stressors”
- fewer prescriptions
- reduction of employee turnover and attrition
- reduction in costly overtime and employees productivity increases
- reduction of employee burn out
- decrease in employee conflicts and disputes
- boosts the immune system
- “changes” the mind by increasing the positive emotions and decreasing negative emotions and combating depression
- changes the brain by increasing gray matter associated with increased memory & learning
- reduces muscle fatigue and pain
- fosters compassion & altruism creating a more serene workplace
- helps manage stress and stressful situations
- fights obesity when mindfulness is applied to eating habits
- increases ROM and combats inflexibility in joints and muscles
Yoga and mindfulness can be offered in a myriad of formats to integrate seamlessly and align with your corporate ethos. Ultimately, via top down leadership, the employee base will mirror their leaders, ascertain the concepts, and experience the benefits of the program. We have purposely created our course of action to be both approachable and accessible to all skill levels and abilities. Every ‘body’ can practice yoga and mindfulness, regardless of age, size or physical limitations.
How Our Programs Work
Our yoga and mindfulness classes address both the mental and physical challenges your employees face on a daily basis. In essence the mind and body are essentially inseparable: The brain and peripheral nervous system, the endocrine and immune systems, and all the organs of our body share a common chemical language and are constantly communicating with one another.
Through the use of basic anatomy and kinesiology, employees will learn how to identify critical “at risk” parts of their body, the body’s natural movement, and how to reduce pain and tightness in affected areas. Industry specific ergonomics will address various physical issues, such as kyphosis (excessive forward rounding) of the thoracic spine, carpal tunnel syndrome, ‘text neck,’ sitting in flexion, or working on a factory floor assembly line.
Moreover, employees will learn a valuable set of mindfulness skills to identify stressful situations, control emotional responses, and improve overall communication patterns utilizing awareness and emotional intelligence. Employee access to online guided meditations provide an easily accessible ongoing resource for stress relief.
Jeff Weiner, CEO of linkedIn,
talks about leading with compassion.
De-Stress at Work
A gentle and accessible program for all levels with an introduction to alignment based yoga asana and mindfulness exercises.
A Corporate Wellness Presentation
A physically interactive and uplifting mindfulness and yoga talk.
A synergetic corporate retreat module
Maximize your group’s productivity and soft skill set with an innovative mindfulness and yoga program.