Stress has become a common phenomenon affecting employees across various industries that require a fast-paced environment. High stress levels impact individual wellbeing and affect organisations, with decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher turnover rates.

In this article, we’ll explore how incorporating Laughter Yoga into workplace wellness programmes can mitigate stress and improve retention rates.

 

Understanding the impact of stress on employee retention

Stress in the workplace can manifest in various forms, including workload pressure, tight deadlines, interpersonal conflicts, and lack of support from supervisors or colleagues.

When employees experience chronic stress, it can lead to burnout, a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion characterised by feelings of cynicism, detachment, and inefficacy.

Burnout may diminish job satisfaction and increase the likelihood of employees seeking opportunities elsewhere.

 

Research

Research has consistently shown a strong correlation between stress and employee turnover. According to the 2023 State of the Global Workplace report, it’s estimated that low engagement exacts a staggering toll on the global economy, amounting to a loss of approximately $8.8 trillion.

 

The Gallup study stated employees who experience high-stress levels are more likely to leave their jobs, resulting in significant costs for organisations in terms of recruitment, training, and lost productivity. Moreover, turnover can have ripple effects on team dynamics, morale, and organisational culture, further exacerbating stress levels among remaining employees.

 

The role of workplace wellness programmes in managing stress

Recognising the detrimental effects of stress on employee wellbeing and organisational performance, many companies have implemented workplace wellness programmes aimed at helping physical, mental, and emotional health among employees.

These programmes often include initiatives such as mindfulness meditation, yoga classes, stress management workshops, and employee assistance programmes (EAPs).

 

While these initiatives can be effective in helping stress, they may not always resonate with all employees or fit into their busy schedules. Additionally, some employees may feel hesitant to participate in traditional wellness activities due to perceived barriers such as lack of time, motivation, or interest. This is where Laughter Yoga emerges as a unique and innovative approach to stress management and employee retention.

 

Laughter Yoga: An overview

Laughter Yoga, developed by Dr Madan Kataria in 1995, is a revolutionary concept that combines laughter exercises with yogic breathing techniques. Unlike traditional yoga, which focuses on physical postures, Laughter Yoga emphasises the practice of unconditional laughter—laughter without relying on jokes, humour, or comedy. Laughter Yoga sessions involve guided exercises and playful activities to induce laughter and promote a sense of joy and wellbeing.

 

The benefits of Laughter Yoga for stress management

Laughter Yoga offers many benefits for both physical and mental health, making it an ideal tool for managing workplace stress. Some of the key benefits of Laughter Yoga include:

 

  1. Stress reduction

    Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones, which help alleviate stress and promote relaxation. Employees can experience immediate relief from tension and anxiety after participating in Laughter Yoga sessions, leading to improved overall wellbeing.

 

  1. Mood enhancement

    Laughter has been shown to elevate mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. Regular practice of Laughter Yoga can help employees cultivate a more positive outlook on life, even in the face of challenging circumstances, thereby enhancing resilience and coping abilities.

 

  1. Improved immunity

    Laughter has immune-boosting effects, stimulating the production of antibodies and enhancing the body’s ability to fight infections and illnesses. By strengthening the immune system, Laughter Yoga can help employees stay healthy and resilient to workplace stressors.

 

  1. Enhanced social connections

    Laughter is a powerful social bonding tool, fostering feelings of connection, trust, and camaraderie among participants. Laughter Yoga sessions enable employees to interact in a relaxed and playful atmosphere, strengthening relationships and building a supportive workplace culture.

 

  1. Increased energy and vitality

    Laughter oxygenates the body and stimulates circulation, increasing energy levels and vitality. By incorporating deep breathing exercises into Laughter Yoga practice, employees can replenish their energy reserves and combat feelings of fatigue and exhaustion associated with stress.

 

  1. Mindfulness and presence

    Laughter Yoga encourages participants to be fully present in the moment, focusing their attention on the sensations of laughter and joy. This mindfulness practice can help employees develop greater self-awareness and emotional resilience, enabling them to respond more effectively to stressors in the workplace.

 

How Laughter Yoga contributes to employee retention:

Now that we’ve explored the myriad benefits of Laughter Yoga for stress management, let’s examine how incorporating Laughter Yoga into workplace wellness programmes can positively impact employee retention:

 

  1. Enhanced job satisfaction

    Employees who participate in Laughter Yoga sessions are more likely to experience higher levels of job satisfaction and engagement. By providing a fun and uplifting outlet for stress relief, employers demonstrate their commitment to employee wellbeing, fostering a positive work environment where employees feel valued and appreciated.

  2. Improved work-life balance

    Laughter Yoga helps employees to unwind and recharge during the workday, promoting a healthier balance between work and personal life. If organisations encourage their employees to prioritise self-care and relaxation, this can reduce the risk of burnout and turnover, ultimately leading to higher retention rates.

 

  1. Strengthened team dynamics

    Laughter Yoga sessions promote teamwork, collaboration, and social connection among employees. By laughing together, employees break down barriers, build trust, and develop stronger interpersonal relationships, enhancing team cohesion and morale. A supportive team environment is conducive to employee retention, as employees are more likely to stay in a workplace where they feel connected and supported by their colleagues.

 

  1. Reduced absenteeism

    Laughter Yoga has been shown to boost immune function and reduce the incidence of illness and absenteeism. By keeping your employees healthy and resilient, you as an employer can minimise disruptions to workflow and productivity, leading to greater stability and continuity within the organisation. Employees are also more likely to remain loyal to employers who prioritise their health and wellbeing.

 

  1. Enhanced organisational culture

    Incorporating Laughter Yoga into workplace wellness programmes sends a clear message to your employees that your organisation values fun, creativity, and holistic wellbeing. This positive organisational culture fosters a sense of belonging and loyalty among employees, making them less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.

A strong organisational culture also serves as a powerful recruitment tool, attracting top talent who want to work in companies that prioritise employee happiness and fulfilment.

 

Conclusion:

Stress significantly contributes to employee turnover, with profound implications for organisational performance and success. However, employers can create healthier, happier, and more resilient work environments by proactively addressing workplace stress through innovative approaches such as Laughter Yoga.

Laughter Yoga offers a holistic solution to stress management, providing physical, mental, and emotional benefits.

Using Laughter Yoga in workplace wellness programmes, your organisation can improve employee retention, boost morale, and cultivate a positive workplace culture where employees thrive.

In doing so, you can not only enhance the wellbeing of your workforce but also position your organisation for long-term success and sustainability in today’s competitive business landscape.

Please email Sara on happy@seriouslaughter.co.uk for more information about their innovative Stress Relief Laughter Yoga sessions.

 

To find out what happens in a Laughter Yoga session here 

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