How Puppy Yoga Can Help Your Team Combat Stress

Puppy Yoga at work

Corporate wellness programs have become a top priority for employers in the UK. With mounting evidence linking employee well-being to increased productivity and job satisfaction and decreased absenteeism, it’s no wonder that more and more companies are focusing on offering employee wellness initiatives. But do all initiatives work and which ones are worth the investment?

 

 

What is Corporate Wellness?

Corporate wellness is a term used to describe initiatives and activities designed to promote health and well-being in the workplace. These programs can target three main areas:

Mental health 

17 Million Work Days Were Lost Due to Stress, Depression or Anxiety in 2022. While short-term stress can be helpful, sustained levels of stress lead to anxiety, depression and burnout. Companies can support their employees’ mental health by providing confidential counselling services such as an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).

Physical health 

From construction to office workers, poor physical health diminishes productivity and well-being. An additional 7.3 Million Work Days Were Lost Due to Work-Related Physical Pain in 2022. Office workers report neck, shoulders, lower back, hip and knees as the most painful areas, suggesting inappropriate working stations and long sitting hours. Programs that can support good physical health include telemedicine, health coaching, gym membership reimbursement or fitness classes.

Holistic well-being support 

Holistic well-being support – Supporting employee mental and physical health is a good start, but not enough. 37% of Employees Rank Financial Worries as Their Main Cause of Stress. Offering financial counselling, season ticket loans, flexible working options or subsidised lunches can help relieve some of the pressure of making ends meet and make employees feel appreciated.

Mental, emotional, physical and financial health are all interconnected. The goal should be to create a healthier and more inclusive culture by offering comprehensive wellness programs. These programs should include holistic well-being support to help reduce stress, improve overall employee productivity and satisfaction and attract talent.

 

Why are Wellness Programs Important?

According to the Confederation of British Industry, Two-Thirds of Investors take ESG factors into consideration when assessing a company. ESG is short for Environmental, Social and Governance, which is a set of standards measuring a business’s impact on society, environment and accountability. Accountability around employees’ well-being is no longer optional. In other words, meeting ESG standards has the potential to attract and keep investors. But not all employers prioritise their employees’ well-being equally. Rather, some prioritise meeting ESG standards.

 

Prioritising meeting ESG standards over employee well-being selects for a different set of corporate wellness programs. Some programs provide corporate wellness tracking as a measurable way for employers to prove they invest in their employees and maintain a healthy work environment. Others simply provide a repository of mental health information and meditation soundtracks from employees to use at their own leisure. 

In addition to attracting investors, the CIPD 2022 Health and Wellbeing at Work Survey identified the top 3 benefits of offering comprehensive corporate wellness programs:

  • A healthier and more inclusive culture.
  • Better work-life balance.
  • Better employee morale and engagement.
 

But beyond these benefits, companies that invest in corporate wellness send a powerful message to their employees: we care about your health and happiness. This message can help attract and retain top talent.

 

What is Puppy Yoga?

Puppy yoga is a unique and fun activity that combines the benefits of yoga with the therapeutic effects of playing with puppies. A puppy yoga class begins with a Yoga flow and gentle breathing exercises. While participants stretch and release the muscle tension from the week, a litter of puppies awaits their surprise entry. After a safety announcement is made on hold to hold the puppies safely while remaining seated, the puppies are unleashed into the room for cuddles and playtime. The playful nature of puppies brings a new level of energy and excitement to the room.

 

Physically, yoga improves flexibility and balance, strengthens muscles and reduces tension. Mentally, it reduces anxiety and depression, improves focus and concentration and promotes relaxation. Playtime with puppies during yoga also offers emotional benefits by reducing stress and anxiety levels, promoting feelings of happiness, and improving social connections. This makes puppy yoga a perfect activity for individuals who want to incorporate a holistic well-being approach in their routine.

 

In addition, Puppy Yoga Can Raise Awareness For Animal Welfare Issues. The puppies are provided by verified local animal breeders. Providing a space where individuals can interact with adorable puppies can help promote the importance of animal welfare and the proper treatment of animals. The puppies themselves can serve as ambassadors for animal rescue and adoption, helping to spread awareness of the need for responsible pet ownership and the importance of supporting local animal shelters and rescue organisations.

 

How Does Puppy Yoga Benefit Employees?

Puppy yoga can support employees’ heart health by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure. Stress Can Increase The Risk Of Cardiovascular Diseases As Much As Smoking And Diabetes. While further research is required to understand the mechanism behind this, evidence shows that physical activity and well-being routines can help prevent cardiovascular conditions and support heart health.

 

Simply Petting A Puppy Was Associated With Lower Blood Pressure Than Chatting Or Reading, which is a measurable hallmark of relaxation. Research shows Blood Pressure Drops by 10% After 15 to 30 Minutes of Petting a Dog, decreasing anxiety, and even increasing levels of the “feel-good” hormone oxytocin. Puppy yoga is a mutually beneficial activity as a puppy’s blood pressure lowers when they are being petted as well.

 

Incorporating puppy yoga into wellness programs can support employees’ health while combating workplace stress and burnout. Corporate wellness is no longer just a nice-to-have, but a must-have. Innovative wellness initiatives like puppy yoga can provide a fun and unique way to promote employee well-being. However, a successful approach requires more than just offering fun activities. Companies must also address workplace culture and practices that may contribute to stress and burnout by providing flexible working options, promoting work-life balance, and encouraging open communication between employees and management. By investing in employee well-being, businesses can benefit from a healthier, happier, and more engaged workforce. 

 

At Puply

Are you ready to unwind and play with puppies? Join us for a puppy yoga session at Puply

Happier People, Happier Pups

 

Andreea Marin

Andreea Marin

Andreea brings a wealth of scientific and wellness knowledge and expertise to the team. Recently she has spent time with Harper Care where she: Collaborated with the engineering, design, research and coaching teams to develop a novel B2B2C mental health coaching framework used by leading fertility clinics in the UK. Led the automation of personalised wellness plans which decreased user waiting time. Educated people about wellness and mental health by publishing scientific blog articles. Developed a panel of molecular, digital and psychological biomarkers that assess wellness in collaboration with Professor Theodore Cosco, at the Precision Mental Health Lab and at the Institute of Population Ageing at the University of Oxford. Biomarkers were tested using DTC molecular testing kit and digital wellness assessments. Created a catalogue of fertility wellness interventions rooted in novel science, mind-body practices and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

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