Yoga, as a meditative practice and physical exercise, is well known for its health benefits, particularly for reducing stress, and improving strength and flexibility. It benefits people of all ages, from infants to seniors, and its insight isn’t relegated to the gym or yoga studio. Yoga is showing working America a wisdom that innovative professionals, like wahves are already onto – the potential for a fulfilling productive work life that lies in balancing what Phyllis Moen, University of Minnesota sociologist who studies careers, families and well-being explains as “flexibility and control.” “Flexibility and control” means increasing employee autonomy, by allowing employees control over where and when they work. It is, Moen asserts, the key to unlocking the future of a better working world.
“Most of the intervention research that has been funded by the federal government and others is focusing on changing the individual — meditation and yoga and things like that, looking at how you can deal with stress better. What we’re trying to do is change the conditions of work that are creating the stress, so that we can reduce the stress.”
Moen contrasts well the stark difference between employers putting it on individual workers to cure professional stress from within, and employers tackling the systemic issue of a stress-laden work life that pervades many U.S. workplaces. Yoga’s central tenet of ease and effort, “flexibility and control,” is powerful as a concept for individual self-care. But Moen’s research supports the notion that the yogic concept is even more powerful when adopted by companies themselves, when they afford employees increased flexibility and control over the space and time in which they work.
What’s emerging from a growing body of information that painted the bleak portrait of the traditional model of work, is a promising new picture of productive, engaged employees in all stages of their careers: results-only work, flexible work, and the many other alternatives to the 40-hour work week. In Moen’s study, for instance, she analyzed the effects of offering employees a Results-Only Work Environment, or ROWE, on productivity and well-being of employees. The results of her study were impressive: participants “reported reduced work-family conflict and a better sense of control of their time, and they were getting a full hour of extra sleep each night.” Additionally, they were “less likely to leave their jobs, resulting in reduced turnover. They were even more likely to go see a doctor if they needed to.”
Studies like Moen’s substantiate what innovating professionals like wahves already know, and what yoga has long epitomized in its powerful balance of limberness and discipline: flexibility and control in the workplace, from hours to location, is a positive attribute that empowers professionals to manage their time better, engage more positively in their occupation, and ultimately work more productively and effectively.
What are ways as wahves, professionals with seasoned experience in the industry and a history of working in 40-hour work week America, that you see your professional efficiency, fulfillment and life growing? Do you think that flexible work and results-only work environments are the future of successful working America?
Comment below and let us know your thoughts!