Benefits and bonuses. These can be various bonuses: discounts on training and development of employees, compensation for sports or food, gifts to employees and their families. This will increase the loyalty of employees to the company.

The pandemic pause brought us to a moment of collective reckoning about what it means to live well and to work well. As a result, employees are sending employers an urgent signal that they are no longer willing to choose one — life or work — at the cost of the other. Working from home brought life literally into our work. And as the world now goes hybrid, employees are drawing firmer boundaries about how much of their work comes into their life. Where does this leave employers? And which perspectives and programs contribute most to progress? In our newest interview series, Working Well: How Companies Are Creating Cultures That Support & Sustain Mental, Emotional, Social, Physical & Financial Wellness, we are talking to successful executives, entrepreneurs, managers, leaders, and thought leaders across all industries to share ideas about how to shift company cultures in light of this new expectation. We’re discovering strategies and steps employers and employees can take together to live well and to work well.

As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Julia Voloshchenko.

Julia Voloshchenko is a PR professional and editor-in-chief of Usetech. More than 5 years in marketing and PR. She has worked with major media such as TechCrunch, Techradar, The Wall Street Journal, Macworld, Search Engine Journal and others. Author of articles for Brandingmag, Quora for Business and PR on the GO.

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.

Thank you for this amazing opportunity!

At one point I encountered burnout from my profession, and it was probably the moment that prompted me to change my attitude toward my work and the way I built my workflow.

I reconsidered the planning of my working day, the priorities of tasks, and in general, my attitude to work tasks and the field.

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?

In our company, the main value is people, and we oppose overwork and try to monitor the well-being of employees. Through 1-to-1 surveys, annual engagement surveys, we find out what our employees care about, what problems they have, what bonuses they would like to get. We also have an annual performance review where we discuss employees’ career development.

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?

Numerous studies by various experts have proven that healthy team relationships and engaged and motivated employees have a positive effect on productivity. For example, we can note that the engagement of our employees has increased to 87% due to the actions we have taken to improve the company.

There is no denying that management support has a positive impact on employees, particularly on employee productivity. That’s why we often give feedback to our employees and evaluate their achievements.

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?

It seems to me that it is worth investing in programs to improve the mental health of employees, their engagement, motivation and loyalty, so that then you don’t have to spend money on hiring new employees. Statistics show that it costs more to hire a new employee than it does to retain an existing employee.

Many companies have already understood the need for a culture in their companies. This is demonstrated by the format of remote and hybrid work. Also, now potential employees pay attention to the care of employees in the company and bonus packages, such as compensation for sports or yoga classes in the office. And companies, in order to be competitive in the market, as well as attractive to employees, must implement well-being practices in their work. It’s bound to work out for the best if you survey your employees and find out what they want.

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

We have a platform of non-material motivation and employee loyalty, based on gamification — WorkCore. Thanks to it, we involve employees in the life of the company: employees engage in various activities, such as writing articles or speaking at conferences, and for this they get internal currency, which they can spend on branded things from the company or equipment.

The platform helps maintain work-life balance, employee engagement and motivation. For example, employee satisfaction scores (eNPS) never fall below 78%.

In addition to this platform, we advocate active recreation and internal company events. The company also has a corporate psychologist to whom employees can turn for support.

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: We have a corporate psychologist that every employee can go to if they realize they have a problem. Also, employees can always talk to HR or their supervisor about problems and find a solution.
  • Emotional Wellness: To make employees feel like members of the company, we often hold internal events: quizzes, parties, corporate events. This allows employees (even remote ones) to be part of one big team and have a pleasant experience. There are also internal events that are held online.
  • Social Wellness: Some employees participate in charitable projects, which is good for their social commitment.
  • Physical Wellness: There are interest clubs for this: for example, a sports club or a club for programming languages. The company team also participates in competitions held by other organizations.
  • Financial Wellness: There are annual pay reviews for this.

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?

The company will get a lot from the introduction of the culture: it will improve the employer’s brand and become more attractive to potential employees; it will increase the loyalty and motivation of employees within the company; it can increase the productivity of its employees and improve the efficiency of its business.

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

Firstly, managers themselves should be an example for their employees: it is not worth overworking, but it is worth correctly allocating their resources and monitoring work-life balance. If managers pay attention to mental health, employees will understand that there is nothing wrong with this and will take an example from management.

I would probably recommend some individual consultations on well-being for management and show practical examples so that companies understand how this practice can positively affect their company’s performance.

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?

It is worth getting acquainted with the positive examples of companies that have implemented well-being practices in their work and see how their results have improved. A practical example always works better.

And you should also start with yourself and taking care of yourself: start practicing yoga, do not concentrate on negative thoughts.

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

  1. Maintaining physical health. It can be sports: running in the morning or in the evening, yoga, strength training, walking down the street, cycling, swimming — whatever you like best. Some companies compensate their employees for playing sports or provide an opportunity to play sports in the office.
  2. Concentration on mental health. Mental health is becoming incredibly important. This was shown by remote work and work in a hybrid format: many employees faced stress and misunderstanding of new processes. To improve the mental health of employees, you can involve a corporate psychologist or arrange consultations.
  3. Benefits and bonuses. These can be various bonuses: discounts on training and development of employees, compensation for sports or food, gifts to employees and their families. This will increase the loyalty of employees to the company.
  4. Medical care. This may be medical care or any special offers, for example, organization of recreation or annual check-up.
  5. A comfortable workplace. It can be a comfortable office or a coworking: with comfortable furniture, a restroom, and a place to eat. If your employees work remotely, you can provide them with equipment and compensate for the cost of electricity or Internet.

Usetech actively implements some of these practices: we have a corporate psychologist to whom every employee can turn. There is a health insurance system for each employee, sports compensation, bonuses and benefits for each employee, as well as comfortable offices for collaboration.

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

The fact that many analytical companies around the world pay attention to this situation, making it one of the main trends of this year.

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?

I would be happy to communicate on LinkedIn:

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