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Fitness memberships, workout classes, wellness services, beauty appointments and more.
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?
For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.
This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal.
You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.
As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.
Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.
The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.
A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.
The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.
The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.
Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.
Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th.
Do you live by the ocean? Paddle out with an instructor.
Don't live by the water, but still want to train for your next surf trip? Consider these classes.
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