Encouraging and promoting physical activities, especially on workdays, like allowing breaks for participating in physical activities or identifying ambassadors to encourage employees. Employees who engage actively in physical activities mean happier and more energized, productive employees and therefore, better atmosphere and work results.

Asa part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Aygul Mehdiyeva.

Aygul is the Digital PR of Booknetic with a can-do attitude dedicated to increasing the company’s presence with digital products in the tech market. Although she newly changed her career path by entering the digital market, she constantly seeks new opportunities to add value to the organization.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you better. Tell us about a formative experience that prompted you to change your relationship with work and how work shows up in your life.

For almost more than a year, I worked in the Procurement sphere, but I always felt that something was missing in my professional life. I always thought about trying myself in another company. But the job I worked before also didn’t feel like the right one for me. So, I mustered up my courage and quit my job. I tried to dive into the marketing field, which always seemed more attractive and creative. It is not surprising that most people around me talked about the difficulties of finding a new job, especially in a new sphere. Honestly, some of these opinions sounded true and realistic. But now, I can say that going after the job I loved was the best decision I have ever made in my job life. So, when I hear about someone who wants to change their career path to follow their dreams, I always try to support them because I can relate to them.

I feel lucky to find a job that makes me feel happy and to be in a workplace that has a healthy environment. Our CEO believes in the power of strong team bonds, so he is seeking to create a healthier environment for us. That mindset makes us feel more valued, so we are also interested in adding value to the organization, not only for financial reasons.

Harvard Business Review predicts that wellness will become the newest metric employers will use to analyze and to assess their employees’ mental, physical and financial health. How does your organization define wellness, and how does your organization measure wellness?

Our company — Booknetic, understands the value and importance of employee wellness and encourages us to keep the balance between physical activity and mental wellbeing. Maintaining the optimal balance between work and life allows us to take care of our health, making us feel like a part of the family rather than a professional team. Our organization uses specific methods to measure our wellness level:

· Monthly online anonym forums for employee satisfaction and engagement.

· Quarterly meeting with the assistant psychologist

In those monthly online forums or quarterly meetings, we can note anything that makes us feel worried about what’s happening in the office. It could be about relationships with managers, word flow, deadlines, and little staff like cleaning in the office. It is the best method to build trust and respect between employees and the organization as our company solves these issues in the shortest time.

Based on your experience or research, how do you correlate and quantify the impact of a well workforce on your organization’s productivity and profitability?

Considering that relationship is two-way communication, having a work atmosphere where employees feel trusted and valued significantly impacts employee productivity in business management. Building a healthy, trustworthy relationship requires time and consistency, and it is like a long-term investment for the organization. In our workplace, working hours are seven, and breaking hours are two; in those two hours, we socialize with our workmates by playing games like foosball, UNO, Monopoly, PS, and VR. We even have a cat to release stress in the office. So, it is not a place for us to come to work for only financial reasons; we make friends and have fun there. It may seem unrealistic, but we miss coming back to the office on weekends. So, creating bonds through team building is one of the effective ways to increase profitability and efficiency in a workplace.

Even though most leaders have good intentions when it comes to employee wellness, programs that require funding are beholden to business cases like any other initiative. The World Health Organization estimates for every $1 invested into treatment for common mental health disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. That sounds like a great ROI. And, yet many employers struggle to fund wellness programs that seem to come “at the cost of the business.” What advice do you have to offer to other organizations and leaders who feel stuck between intention and impact?

To be honest, there are too many ways to support employees’ wellness at a low cost. I want to give some examples from our workplace. My favorite one is replacing caffeine with a healthier option. Considering that we are a software development company, most of our employees are developers. It is not surprising that most of them have difficulties sleeping. Unsurprisingly, coffee is an anxiety trigger, and it may badly affect employees’ daily moods. So, our company supplies the healthier option — matcha instead of caffeine, as matcha has a considerable advantage over coffee; it helps to increase energy and boost calm feelings.

Another way is mainly related to physical wellness and indirectly affects mental wellbeing. We use motivational signs in elevators to encourage our employees to use stairs. The main point is changing motivational posters or sentences at regular intervals because using the same symbols will only affect the employees in the short term. Again, the organization has too many different and low-budget methods; the important part is having an intention to create a healthy environment for employees.

Speaking of money matters, a recent Gallup study reveals employees of all generations rank wellbeing as one of their top three employer search criteria. How are you incorporating wellness programs into your talent recruitment and hiring processes?

Yes, we also give comprehensive information about our company’s wellbeing strategy in the hiring process. Because, in the hiring process, the employer is not the only side to choose; the employees also decide which company can support them financially and create a healthy environment. Thus, we make our workplace’s structure and how wellbeing fits in it more clear for candidates.

We’ve all heard of the four-day work week, unlimited PTO, mental health days, and on-demand mental health services. What innovative new programs and pilots are you launching to address employee wellness? And, what are you discovering? We would benefit from an example in each of these areas.

  • Mental Wellness:
  • Emotional Wellness:
  • Social Wellness:
  • Physical Wellness:
  • Financial Wellness:

Beyond robust communication, they all play a supportive role in creating a healthy environment. So, we put much importance on starting an openly communicating workplace where employees feel comfortable discussing their challenges. We provide mental health training for our managers and other employees in distinctive groups.

Besides mental wellness, that program helps us how to manage potential issues related to emotional health. On the other hand, on emotional, physical, and social wellness subjects, I can speak about our 2-hour break on working days. We socialize during these hours by playing games like UNO, PS, VR, foosball, etc. Besides weekend physical activities, the employees who want to exercise can use open-air sports equipment, a free opportunity for us during workdays. When it comes to financial wellness, during the COVID-19, we support all transport costs of our employees. Furthermore, we set up the bonus system referring to KPIs, motivating them, and helping them financially.

Can you please tell us more about a couple of specific ways workplaces would benefit from investing in your ideas above to improve employee wellness?

Our company allocates a monthly budget for a particular group to meditative activities such as art, cooking, pottery, and gardening to promote employee well-being. We can all join a group of interest and switch the activities monthly.

Regarding the second idea, once a week, we try dishes from different cultures, such as Georgian, Mexican, and Asian, in the office. Most of my co-workers’ favorite one is the Georgian dish called Khinkali.

These activities strengthen our bonds as a team, and we also have a great time together. Furthermore, creative activities significantly impact employees’ moods and encourage them to be more productive in the workplace.

How are you reskilling leaders in your organization to support a “Work Well” culture?

The first must-have step in the reskilling pathway is identifying prioritized areas in the organization. So, we use outsourcing to conduct a gap analysis for reviewing our managers’ skills twice a year. After finding gaps, they map out our development paths for managers by referring to gap analysis. During the last investigation, auditors identified a lack of automation as a problem, leading to increasing repetitive tasks. Considering repetitive tasks also affect employees’ productivity negatively, increase the psychosocial load, and cause psychological strain, our development team is taking steps to eliminate repetitive manual tasks by automating them.

That gap analysis helps us find potential risks in the work environment and reskill our managers, supporting the creation of a healthier workplace.

Ideas take time to implement. What is one small step every individual, team or organization can take to get started on these ideas — to get well?

Considering every team’s individuality, the best way to create a healthy environment with a small step is to invest in robust communication. So, strong communication enables employees to have a sense of belonging and feel more engaged and satisfied. In this way, managers can have a more precise understanding of employees’ expectations and concerns. Thus, it is the easiest and low-cost way to create wellbeing in the work environment.

What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Workplace Wellness?”

  1. I’d love to see more of an increase in supporting diversity and equality in the workplace. Employees who are supported and accepted well regardless of their mindset, genres, and values feel more secure and happy. Supporting diversity and equality is also critical in creating a healthier workplace environment.

2. The second trend I want to see is more focus on stepping toward a sustainable world. Considering the significant influence of big corporations, their increasing focus on sustainability also pushes individuals to take responsible steps to create a more ecological world.

3. The third one is encouraging and promoting physical activities, especially on workdays, like allowing breaks for participating in physical activities or identifying ambassadors to encourage employees. Employees who engage actively in physical activities mean happier and more energized, productive employees and therefore, better atmosphere and work results.

4. I would love to see a more adaptive workplace trend despite the changed approach after the global pandemic due to social isolation. The company should consider the matters that are still on agenda like childcare, and employee flexibility.

5. Finally, the fifth trend is maintaining financial wellness in the organization, which is at least equally essential as the other trends. We all know how negatively financial stress can affect employees’ health and, therefore, their performance. So, companies should support their employees financially and in different ways, including student loan contributions and free coupons.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of workplace wellness?

Almost every day, we read or hear real case stories and articles about the value and benefits of a healthy work environment. It also affects the corporate mindset positively. Workplaces try to attract talented, passionate employers to their organizations by offering wellness benefits. That tendency makes me feel hopeful about the future workplace.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

Aygul Mehdiyeva,| LinkedIn

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and wellness.