I Can Do Without Yoga as HR’s Latest Mandatory Team Building Activity

Something is in the water. Yoga is the new HR team-building activity.

I say this because I’ve been to several human resources meetings, this year, and leaders are forcing their colleagues and direct reports to wake up early and do yoga.

And I use the word “forcing” because attendance is mandatory. You wake up early, do yoga with your boss, have a shower, eat some breakfast, and attend your meetings.

One HR leader said to me, “This is good for them. Nobody is going to die.”

Another said to me, “It’s gentle yoga. They can do it.”

There’s a benefit to being a consultant. I said, “Have fun with that. I’m sleeping in.”

Yes, yoga can be humbling and scary

Yoga can be awesome and fun. It can change your life. I’ve incorporated yoga into my pilates and running routine, and my hips feel better. Yoga is also good for those who suffer from arthritis, anxiety, and even breast cancer.

But if you’re a human resources lady who sits more than she walks, yoga can be humbling and scary. And, just like any new exercise, you can get injured if you push too hard and too fast.

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As a side note, I had to ask myself, “What kind of slow-witted HR leader makes a work-sponsored physical activity compulsory?” I’m not a lawyer, but it seems risky to force Judy from benefits into a pigeon pose without the option of saying no.

Yoga appears to be the new HR team-building activity — and it might be something you try with your friends at a human resources conference. That seems cool. But it’s probably not something you want to force your employees to experience before they endure a full day of meetings.

If you want to do something fun and inclusive with your team, why don’t you give them a few options and have them pick one? Make people feel involved in team building activities, and you are one step closer to reinforcing healthy team dynamics.

This was originally published on the Laurie Ruettimann blog.

Laurie Ruettimann is a former human resources leader turned writer, entrepreneur, and speaker. She is also author of Betting on You: How to Put Yourself First and (Finally) Take Control of Your Career.

CNN has recognized Laurie as one of the top five career advisors in the United States, and her work has been featured on NPR, The New YorkerUSA TodayThe Wall Street Journal, and Vox. Laurie frequently delivers keynote speeches at business and management events around the world and hosts the popular podcast Punk Rock HR. She lives with her husband and cats in Raleigh, North Carolina.

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