Global financial services firms Legal & General and Metlife are making Yoga and Shiatsu mainstream – by giving hundreds of staff in their Brighton offices access to treatments and classes on-site. These alternative therapies are ideal for the workplace because they can be adapted to any environment – and they give effective relief for stress and musculoskeletal problems which are the biggest cause of job-related illness.
Even smaller organisations in the charity sector are recognising the need for wellbeing at work. Community Base, a centre for Brighton’s community and voluntary groups, offers weekly yoga classes and a Shiatsu clinic for workers. “It is a huge benefit for everyone in the building,” says manager Olivia Canham.
More than 1.2 million people in the UK suffered from work-related illnesses in 2014, according to Government statistics. Musculoskeletal disorders made up nearly half of this figure while job stress accounted for a staggering 487,000 cases. Employers are under increasing pressure to protect and promote the mental and physical wellbeing of their workforce. The government health body NICE recommends all organisations, irrespective of size, offer services such as Yoga, Shiatsu, Counselling or Occupational Therapy to tackle work-related illness.
Wellbeing at work also benefits the bottom line. An independent review of Health at Work published in 2011 found investments in employee wellbeing increased productivity, reduced sickness absences, reduced staff turnover and increased retention of skills, and improved staff morale. It also cut recruitment and training costs, improved an organisation’s reputation as a ‘good employer’ and improved financial performance and competitiveness.