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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:
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 favorite) 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.
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).
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 on site 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.
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.
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?
You’ve probably heard lots of buzz about the planet Mercury this month, or maybe you’ve felt a little out of whack and just can’t seem to figure out why. Well, the answer is retrograde. It began on October 31st and will last until November 20th, so right now, we’re still in the thick of it. If you’re wondering what the heck that means, read on. We asked our resident astrology guru, Heather McCormick, to give us a quick run-down on Mercury retrograde and what you can do to get ahead of it this month.
When Mercury retrogrades, Mercury appears to be moving backward in its orbit. This happens three or four times a year, and lasts for around three weeks at a time. Mercury retrogrades are great, as they catalyze change by shifting the energy related to our communication and expression. This type of energy can be frustrating and test our patience, or it can allow for introspection and growth, depending on how you choose to participate. Mercury retrograde can make things feel weird, uncomfortable, and difficult, but these are the emotions necessary for personal advancement. It’s a time to review, observe, and pause the mind. I like to think of a Mercury retrograde as a mini New Year’s. At the end of every year, we assess our actions and make changes. Mercury retrograde is a marker, just like New Year’s. You can review what you learned during the past “year” and your goals for moving forward during this period to be in better alignment for continual growth.
Depending on which sign or signs Mercury journeys through during retrograde, specific energies will surface (think of your zodiac sign). This retrograde is in Scorpio. When I think of signs and what energies they have, I try to dissect the word. For example, Scorpio sounds like scorpions, which are piercing and deep. The colors associated with scorpions are black and red. They hide in the dark and prey at night, and they typically only hurt humans when they are stepped on. Mercury retrograding in Scorpio will target areas that are intense and sensitive. That means something different to each of us, depending on where we require healing. As I mentioned earlier, Mercury in Scorpio will provide an opportunity for headway and enduring transformation. Don’t fear the pain, but expect this retrograde to sting.
The sign that Mercury is retrograding in sends out a general vibe to everyone. Scorpio demands transformation. It also rules a different area of life for each individual sign, which is where we see it impact us. The area of life that Scorpio rules for your sun sign holds the highest potential for change. The more attention you bring to that area of your life at this time, the more you will get from this retrograde. Here’s what you can do...
Aries - Pay attention to the power you give to your thoughts.
Taurus - Restructure how you relate to others.
Gemini - Align your lifestyle with purpose.
Cancer - Own the ways you unconventionally express yourself.
Leo - Understand the roots of your home.
Virgo - Communicate to strengthen your connections.
Libra - Be aware that what brings you joy is an extension of yourself.
Scorpio - Recognize your relationship to your own agenda.
Sagittarius - Make the unseen seen with your creative process.
Capricorn - Contribute your most unique opinions and ideas without judgment.
Aquarius - Strengthen your self-worth through achievements.
Pisces - Adjust your perspective to create opportunities.
The feelings and situations we avoid and blame during this time are exactly what we need to confront. To make the most out of this time, avoid having quick reactions, since Mercury retrograde is notorious for creating technical difficulties and can increase frustrations. Addressing challenging situations is never a bad thing, but take a moment before you switch on your autopilot reaction. Mercury retrograde gives us that moment as a choice with the potential to make impactful change. Also, steer clear of major binding decisions like signing a contract. If you can’t avoid this, cross your T’s and dot your I’s twice, and have your neighbor double-check it for you.
Reassess, reflect, and realign with what is true to you—no matter what your sign is. Embrace what finds you during this time, for it is an opportunity for transformation. When we look back on our past with a Scorpionic lense, situations, thoughts, and people that carry a bittersweetness will stand out. Think about what area of your life Scorpio effects during this time based on your sign and see what surfaces. You don’t need to understand astrology, to be honest with yourself. Seek ownership in all areas of your life and let go of blaming.
Mimic the motion of the planet. Shifting your mindset and being open to other perspectives is progressive in itself, especially if you are willing to revisit the past during a Mercury retrograde. Be prepared for things to be intense and serious (think journaling and meditating to 90s grunge instead of having a heart-to-heart with your best friend). Thank Scorpio. Proactively take care of your physical and emotional needs so that you can do intentional work. No matter what your sign is, increase awareness of your behaviors and reactions to your surroundings to make retrogrades work for you instead of against you.
Still curious about astrology? Find out what your horoscope *actually* means to learn even more about your sign and how all this planet stuff really works. While you’re at it, be sure to check out The Best Beauty + Wellness Treatments for your Zodiac Sign and The Best Workouts Based on Your Zodiac Sign!