Tai Chi, Inc. Incorporating Tai Chi into Your Workplace
Tai Chi encourages us to let go of old ways and patterns while opening us to new, better ways of doing things. As discussed earlier, Tai Chi can help us think outside the box, to be open to fresh, innovative approaches. This is how Tai Chi is being introduced to the workplace. Companies are doing it in their own way, and finding out how to use Tai Chi's tools to fit their needs.
Investing in Tai Chi Programs
There are several ways companies can invest in Tai Chi. Some companies passively promote Tai Chi, offering a space for employees to practice during lunch or after work. Others do much more.
The best Tai Chi and Stress Management seminars are optional. Provide employees with the option of working or attending the seminar, but do not make the seminar mandatory. Most people will opt for the seminar to get a break from work anyway, but the quality of the seminar is completely different if the employee has chosen to be there. This is the first step in an employee creating his own healthy lifestyle. If it's someone else's idea, we resist, but if we feel empowered to change ourselves, we have a vested interest in a positive outcome.
Some companies may reward Tai Chi practitioners with a 30-minute morning break, if instead of drinking coffee and sodas for 15 minutes, they use the 30-minute break to attend morning Tai Chi classes in the area provided. This could be done in conjunction with a weekly one-hour video or live Tai Chi class during lunch or after work.
For the daily Tai Chi breaks, sign-in sheets could be used to document employee participation. This information may be helpful to acquire rebates or subsidies from company health insurance providers to cover the cost of Tai Chi classes. Ask your carrier.
A Tai Chi Punch Line
British dominance of the seas in the 1700s can, in part, be linked to the simple discovery that citrus fruits cure scurvy. Feeding British sailors limes, therefore, made it possible for British ships to stay at sea for much longer missions than enemy ships. Today's captains of industry who realize that stress is the greatest threat to their crews and who give their people tools like Tai Chi to avoid illness and burnout will dominate in business.
If employees attend a morning Tai Chi or QiGong class, have half of the class start before work and half during paid work time. The potential savings in employee health, productivity, and attitude will more than make up for the minimal investment of the half hour of pay. Companies can thereby take the lead in encouraging employees to take up healthful habits that in turn promote decreased absenteeism, increased productivity, and diminished disciplinary problems.