Tech

How your corporate can toughen workers’ bodily and psychological wellbeing


Did you know Alison Hadden, the author of this piece, is speaking at TNW2020 this year? Their session will explore how using tech can help us navigate our newfound death anxiety.

As a busy executive who seeks to keep my own personal health and wellness a top priority, especially since my cancer diagnosis last year, working for a company that supports these goals makes it so much easier to maintain this kind of lifestyle. And if you’re lucky enough to work in the wellness industry as I do for MINDBODY, well, you’ve hit the jackpot.

In today’s job market, top companies are in a tight race competing for top talent. During my six years at Glassdoor, I talked to hundreds of HR and Recruiting leaders about their challenges. What I learned is that smart employers recognize that in order to recruit the best candidates, they’ve got to create a workplace that not only offers growth and opportunity from a professional standpoint, but one that nourishes the employee as a human being in mind, body and spirit.

That means creating an environment that’s diverse, inclusive, and encourages employees to bring their whole selves to work – ideally, their healthiest selves – because a healthy and happy employee is an engaged and productive one. (Also because it’s the right thing to do. We should all be encouraging those around us to pursue their best lives.

Here are some of the different ways the highest rated employers are helping nourish the mind, body and soul of their people:

Encourage employees to prioritize mental wellness

At MINDBODY, we offer regular meditation and breathwork classes onsite at our corporate headquarters which remote offices can stream live. Companies can also offer free or discounted memberships to handy apps like Calm or Headspace (my personal fave) to teach employees how mindfulness exercises can increase focus and promote creativity. At some of the hippest tech startups, you might even find designated quiet rooms or even nap pods for employees to rest and recharge throughout the day.

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Investing in learning and development programs is another way to boost the brainpower of employees. Online courses and onsite workshops can help people sharpen their skills or learn about new career paths. And providing opportunities for employees to learn from experts in their craft by letting high performers travel to a conference or bringing guest speakers onsite promotes a culture of continuous improvement and learning while keeping your most ambitious people engaged.

The best companies also find ways to allocate a certain percentage of employee time to do what they see as the fun stuff – i.e. get creative (marketing), build cool sh*t (engineering), or tackle the complex problems with big impact (leadership).

Employees should be physically active and not fall victim to sedentary office life behind a computer

Healthy and fit employees are not only happier and more productive than their less active coworkers, but they are likely to incur lower health costs for employers.

At MINDBODY we’re lucky enough to have an onsite gym at our HQ where we offer multiple daily classes from Crossfit to Pilates. We even set up cameras so our remote offices can live stream them!

For companies who don’t have an onsite space, they can subsidize gym memberships or on demand workouts. Restorative health services like massages, acupuncture, and chiropractic can be included in medical benefits or employer-subsidized. You should have seen the office buzz when our Wellness Team brought 15-minute chair massages onsite for a week!

When you’re behind a computer for 8-10 hours per day, the carpal tunnel struggle is real. Ergonomic support services (think high quality chairs, monitor risers, standing desks and wrist supports) make sure employees are physically set up at their workstations in good alignment to avoid unnecessary stress and fatigue.

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Foster a workplace environment that’s diverse, inclusive, and built around human connection

Brene Brown has entered mainstream conversation thanks to her Top 5 most-watched TED Talk on vulnerability, her newest book Dare to Lead about courageous leadership, and now her own Netflix special Call to Courage.

Through years of research, Brene has found that in work relationships, if we have the courage to be vulnerable and authentically connect with each other, we experience a powerful sense of belonging which drives engagement and productivity.

Companies have a huge opportunity right now to show employees and potential candidates that they care enough to create supportive environments as they listen to the evolving demands of younger generations entering the workforce. Diversity and inclusion isn’t just a recruiting initiative; it’s a cultural value. Today’s top companies encourage employees to connect with others in communities where they identify through internal support groups, informal meetups and even online chats. At MINDBODY we have a highly engaged #MBPride Slack channel with regular LGBTQIA+ events at our different office along with a thriving Women In Tech chapter that hosts a regular panel discussion live streamed to our 14 offices around the globe.

Health benefits like EAP services that include mental health support, legal services, and short term disability, maternity and paternity leave, and floating holidays that give employees the opportunity to celebrate their faith are becoming standard-issue for most mid to large companies in the US.

Above all else, I think the best way companies can nourish the health and happiness of their employees is to treat them as people, and as individuals.

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Managers should be encouraged to get to know their people so they can stay in tune with what’s going on in their personal lives. Maybe they’re having an off week because their marriage is in trouble, or their kid got suspended from school, or they are taking care of a sick parent. Instead of pretending our employees are working 24-7 or putting tight restrictions on when and where they work out of fear they’re not giving 110%, maybe we’d see better overall performance if we encouraged vs permitted our people to take an afternoon off to mentally reset and recharge. Or told them to fly home to work remote for a week so they could take care of a family member. Or offered to move the time of a weekly meeting so they could go to their favorite jiu jitsu class.

In my experience, if you hire the right people who are intrinsically motivated, take the time to get to know them and what’s important in their lives, and try and create a working environment that actively supports and nourishes them in mind, body and spirit, you’ll not only have a high performer on your hands — you’ll have a healthier, happier human and isn’t that what life’s all about?

This piece was originally published on No Time to Waste. You can read it here

Published August 27, 2020 — 13:19 UTC


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