If you have looked for a job recently, especially if you are in the information technology (IT) field, you’ll notice some interesting perks. Most of us are accustomed to workplace benefits such as paid time off, employer-subsidized healthcare and maybe even reduced-fee gym memberships. Well, some of these really cool workplaces have upped the ante and have yoga onsite and others even offer Tai Chi at work!
Companies have begun to offer wellness programs which include gym memberships, onsite gyms, yoga and Tai Chi because they recognize the value of a work-life balance and a healthy workforce. Employers realize that if their employees are involved in Tai Chi and other activities, the employer will have reduced medical costs, increased productivity, less lost time at work and improved morale.
Tai Chi reduces medical costs because it addresses several risk factors for major health problems. Heart disease for example, is the number one killer in the United States. Risk factors include a sedentary lifestyle, being overweight and having high blood pressure. Tai Chi helps get you moving, lose weight and reduces blood pressure.
Additionally, Tai Chi leads to increased productivity because healthy employees produce more. Productivity is often linked to health. U.S. employers have lost as much as $225.8 billion per year due to the inability of sick/unwell employees to produce. Depression is relatively common and that is responsible for about $35 billion in lost productivity in a year. Tai Chi improves and prevents several health conditions, including depression.
Tai Chi also leads to less lost time at work due to reduced health issues. Sick employees usually have to take time off from work to rest or recover. Studies have shown that there is about 28% decrease in absences and a 30% decrease in workers’ compensation claims where an employer provides wellness services and activities like Tai Chi.
Finally, Tai Chi improves morale. Most people do not like to work continuously and for long hours. Happy employees like workplaces where there are breaks, social events and reasonable production requirements. Several studies have shown that employees who are overworked actually produce less. This is in keeping with the 70 principle of Tai Chi (do not use more than 70% of your capability to act). Employers who encourage their employees to walk away from the desk and practice Tai Chi may actually see an increase in production.
If you own a business, consider offering your employees Tai Chi to increase productive, reduce costs and improve morale. If you have Tai Chi at your job, take advantage of it! If you don’t have Tai Chi at your job, you can still incorporate Tai Chi into your home life, or during your breaks at work.
Wayne, Peter, and Mark Fuerst. The Harvard medical school guide to tai chi: 12 weeks to a healthy body, strong heart, and sharp mind. Boston: Shambhala, 2013. Print.
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