Engagement in participation. The more our employees are involved in the community, the more likely we have created a “well” workspace.

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 Kerttu Karon.

Kerttu is originally from Estonia, who came to Los Angeles for the love of acting and performing. Through that she found her other love — hot yoga. She teaches sculpt, yoga barre, power 1 and yin. In her class she provides a safe place where to work on your mind-body-soul connection. Her energy is infectious which will carry you through the class and she will make sure that you will leave the class full of self-worth and love. Instagram @kerttu.karon

Hot 8 Yoga is California’s premier hot yoga destination, with eleven locations offering the hottest, cleanest, community-based studios. Founded in Santa Monica in 2010 and headquartered in Beverly Hills, a dedicated yogi and her husband created Hot 8 Yoga to offer a superior hot yoga experience, combining all of the best attributes they found in their numerous years of practicing hot yoga — Hottest, cleanest, most connected!

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. 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?

At Hot 8 Yoga, part of our core ideology is community. We believe in the power of community to create a well space for both our clients and team members. We greatly value participation and personal growth and development as they are key rulers of how we measure wellness.

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?

They are directly tied. A well workforce is good for business. If our team members are happy, our clients are happy and our community will be stronger.

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?

Our advice is to invest into your employees’ wellbeing and their happiness. At Hot 8 Yoga, we have a purposeful culture in which community members are part of something bigger than themselves. This greater purpose aligns our community around a common cause.

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?

Our employees get free services at Hot 8 Yoga. We’ve also set up staff trades with other fitness and wellness brands, where our employees can access those brands complementary and vice versa. We are invested into the growth and development of our staff on a professional level, such as covering continuing education for them to learn new skills.

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:

We are always looking for innovative ways to strengthen our community, which is the life force of wellness at Hot 8 Yoga. We provide free services for all team members, so they can take as much yoga as they want. Yoga provides numerable benefits targeting many of these wellness foci. We also plan group gatherings for team members to bond with each other outside of work. We have found that workplace wellness is stronger when team members are acquainted with each other.

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?

Yoga is a big part of wellness and we encourage all companies to incorporate it into their employees’ wellbeing, especially hot yoga.

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

We do weekly continuing education, where we read books to improve all areas of the business, including wellness. Culturally, we value wellness, so it’s always in the forefront of our minds when reskilling leaders.

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?

Start by talking about it and having an open discussion about what would be beneficial. Wellness is not “one size fits all.” All companies will have a different approach to wellness, one that will work for them.

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

  1. Our employees finding their purpose by working at Hot 8 Yoga. We’ve found that those who find purpose through their line of work tend to be the happiest.
  2. Promoting within. We strive to develop and grow our team members in all areas. The more we promote within, the more “well” our culture is. A well culture leads to well employees.
  3. Engagement in participation. The more our employees are involved in the community, the more likely we have created a “well” workspace.

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

Greatest source of optimism is that people are finally valuing workplace wellness the way it should be.

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?

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