Workplace yoga recommended to improve employee mental health
Yoga classes should be offered in OFFICES, recommends World Health Organization in a bid to improve workers’ mental health
- Employers should do more to improve workplace mental health, global bodies say
- This includes free yoga classes in the office and mindfulness training for employees.
- WHO guidelines also say bosses should be trained to spot signs of staff distress
- It could help reduce the 12 billion workdays lost each year due to mental health issues
Yoga classes should take place in offices, the World Health Organization said today in a bid to tackle soaring rates of depression.
The influential body has also called on managers to undergo mental health training to spot struggling employees and offer stress management courses to their staff.
Experts hope the recommendations, in conjunction with the International Labor Organization, will help reduce mental illness in the workplace.
Yoga in the workplace should be offered to support employees’ mental health, the World Health Organization has recommended
What are the recommendations of the WHO office on mental health?
- Train managers to support the mental health of their workers by preventing stressful work environments and responding to workers in distress.
- Improve employee awareness of mental health issues.
- Interventions “that aim to build workers’ stress management skills” – which could include mindfulness training.
- Opportunities in the workplace for “leisure-based physical activity,” which could include resistance training, strength training, walking, or yoga. If these cannot be conducted in a work setting, companies should “facilitate external opportunities” for workers to participate.
- Organizations should look at employee workload. The paper’s authors wrote, “A high workload increases the risk of symptoms of mental health problems.”
Another of the recommendations is for the introduction of interventions “that aim to build workers’ stress management skills” – which could include mindfulness training.
Opportunities for “leisure-based physical activity” – such as gym classes, walking or yoga – should also be available in the workplace.
If these cannot be conducted in offices or other settings, then companies must find external sites that workers can use, the organizations said.
They added that organizations should look at employee workloads to make sure no one is at risk of burnout.
The paper’s authors wrote, “A high workload increases the risk of symptoms of mental health problems.”
For workers in “emotional distress,” companies should offer “psychosocial interventions” such as those based on mindfulness or cognitive-behavioral approaches. It could “improve work efficiency”, they said.
The document, released today, also highlights mental health risks to employees, including bullying and emotional abuse – also known as “mobbing”.
The WHO said around one in seven adults (15%) of working age suffer from a mental health disorder.
Estimates suggest that 12 billion “working days” are lost each year worldwide due to depression and anxiety among workers.
And the cost to the economy is staggering – around £1 trillion is lost in the global economy each year due to depression and anxiety, largely due to lost productivity.
“It’s time to focus on the detrimental effects that work can have on our mental health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO.
“The well-being of the individual is reason enough to act, but poor mental health can also have a debilitating impact on a person’s performance and productivity.
“These new guidelines can help prevent negative workplace situations and cultures and provide much-needed mental health protection and support for workers.”
Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO, added: “As people spend a large part of their lives at work, a safe and healthy working environment is essential.
“We must invest to build a culture of prevention around mental health in the workplace, reshape the work environment to end stigma and social exclusion, and ensure employees with mental health issues feel protected and supported.”
Yoga, like many forms of exercise, is good for mental health.
However, some fans have claimed that the ancient practice has a number of other benefits, such as helping to “pull out” toxins from body organs, a claim that has no scientific basis.