Mental flexibility, patience, adaptability, and the ability to handle stress are often cited benefits of yoga and meditation. These are also some of the same skills many employers look for and hope to cultivate in their employees. People who have or are able to develop these practices may be seen as an asset to employers for these reasons, and they may even cost less to employ. Ohio State University researcher Maryanna Klatt led a pilot study which found that six weeks of guided workplace meditation and yoga can lower feelings of stress by more than 10%. She believes these findings are also significant in understanding and improving the way people handle stress in the workplace. “If they can’t change the external events in their life, they can instead change the way they view the stress, which can make a difference in how they experience their day-to-day life,” Klatt notes.
Recognizing the potential benefits of developing these practices, GSSS Institute of Engineering and Technology for Women in Karnataka, India added a yoga and meditation space designed to train students to more effectively handle stressful situations. As students learn to cultivate yoga and meditation practices to deal with the stress of schoolwork, they are also building skills that will one day help them deal with the pressures of the workplace. While it is too early to track the results of the program, graduates may be more desirable to employers for their ability to show grace under pressure.
In addition to potentially outperforming their co-workers, yogis may also save companies money in reduced health care costs. Many large corporations have already begun to add yoga and meditation to their corporate wellness programs, sometimes with drastic results. A report from the US Department of Health and Human Services states that workplace exercise programs have been shown to increase morale and productivity in workers, as well as decrease disability claims and the number of days of paid sick leave, thereby reducing health care costs by 20 – 55%. Considering the CDC finding that 23% of Americans do not exercise in their leisure time, these statistics are not surprising.
Even if your employer doesn’t appreciate the benefits of these practices, they may be the very things that land you the job. The interview is usually the first stressful situation of any job. Presenting yourself as calm and articulate can certainly increase your chances of making a positive impression.
Does a regular yoga and meditation practice make you a better employee? Has it helped you get a job?