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The headlines are everywhere – America’s workers are busy, distracted, burned out and on device overload. We see it in each other, and we experience it ourselves.

For our team and for other organizations that seek to provide an environment where employees thrive, it’s critical to recognize these factors as having a major influence on employee engagement and productivity.

Our research has examined the effects of an always-moving, always-on workplace – and found that across the board, people are desperate to simplify the chaos of work, information sharing and keeping up with the latest technology – but what are we as employers doing about it?

Here at Cornerstone, we have a dedicated leader for just these initiatives. Rachel Light is Cornerstone’s Manager of Engagement and one of her key focuses is employee wellness. Thanks to Rachel, we have programs designed to support the overall wellbeing of our employees, many of which are dreamed up by our employees. As Rachel puts it, “Our goal is to capture the skills and interests of our extraordinary team members and effectively balance them with the growing needs of their environment.” If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve probably seen a glimpse of some of these initiatives. Employees have organized teams for basketball, soccer, softball, cycling, kickball and even diving. We have our FlourPower baking club that delivers sweet treats weekly inspiring community, healthy eating, and the simple joy that comes from a delicious surprise.

As the Los Angeles Marathon was this weekend, we’d like to give a special shout-out to our Cloud Racers marathon team. Between November and March, you can find our Cloud Racers pounding the pavement throughout the week and Saturday mornings at unspeakable hours in preparation for the big race. This year’s group was 70-strong and had its own personal trainer and nutrition consultant to ensure the training process was healthy, enjoyable and customized to their individual needs. Each year, in addition to their training, our team raises funds for a local non-profit. This year’s chosen organization is Save the Children, which provides education, emergency response and health and nutrition services for children in the U.S. and around the world. Way to go, Cloud Racers!  

Being Our Best at Work

Work is changing rapidly, and so too are employees’ preferences and expectations for getting work done. In the face of this, we’re constantly evaluating and evolving our work environment to ensure we’re able to bring our best selves to work. Our latest experiment in creating a productive workplace has evolved into offering free onsite chiropractor and acupuncture services, massages and yoga classes at headquarters with help from our friends across the street at the Santa Monica Wellness Group.

We’re offering these services as part of our broader commitment to supporting employees holistically and creating a work environment that our team finds energizing, meaningful and enriching. For us, this also means giving unlimited vacation and sabbaticals so our team can see the world and have time to think and dream. It means providing volunteer opportunities for employees to use their skills and develop new ones helping non-profits through monthly activities with the Boys and Girls Club, SPARK, and other organizations associated with the Cornerstone Foundation. And we gather the team together on a monthly basis to learn from and invest in each other during our global Development Days.

“We have found the returns to be priceless,” says Rachel. “We’ve seen the effects these enrichment initiatives have on our team: we’re happier, more refreshed and more productive.” And our organization’s experience isn’t isolated – Towers Watson recently found that in companies with the highest employee engagement, 74 percent of employees felt their leaders had a sincere interest in their well-being, while just 16 percent of employees felt that way in the companies with the least engaged workers. And when it comes to performance, companies with the least engaged employees had an average operating margin of 10 percent. Companies with the most engaged employees? They had an average operating margin of 27 percent, nearly three times as high.1

Work shouldn’t be a drag, and that’s why we’re always on the lookout for fresh ideas to ensure our team is constantly learning, engaged, healthy, having fun and building a meaningful career here at Cornerstone. Offering these activities as a part of our everyday work experience drives higher retention, engagement, healthier employees, and gives new meaning to work-life balance. How is your organization doing the same?

1. Towers Watson, 2012 Global Workforce Study

Photo: Creative Commons