Boston Companies That Invest in Employee Well-Being

Supporting employee well-being requires a systemwide approach. These two companies share how they are meeting that need.

Written by Taylor Rose
Published on May. 10, 2024
Boston Companies That Invest in Employee Well-Being
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Workplace stress is nothing new. However, the true extent and impact of that stress is only just now being measured.

The amount of people who experience workplace stress is on the rise. Headspace’s 2024 Workforce State of Mind study found that 77 percent of employees had negative physical health due to stress from work. The study also found that 71 percent of employees experienced a poor impact on their relationships due to workplace stress. 

Most workplaces are doing very little to address workplace stress. A March 2022 Gallup analysis showed that less than a quarter of employees felt that their company cared about their well-being. That number is backed by the U.S. Surgeon General’s report from the same year that found only 43 percent of employers offer health insurance with coverage for mental health.

For the amount of stress and burnout in the workplace, not many companies are up to the task of addressing it head on — except for a few. 

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Built In spoke with two Boston tech companies that are taking the time to address employee well-being from a holistic perspective — things like flexible work schedules, supported leave of absences, meditation and covered therapy sessions are just a few of the tactics being employed. 

 

 Forward Financing women team members playing Jenga 
Forward Financing 

 

Katie Franklin
Manager, People & Culture • Forward Financing

Forward Financing is a fintech company that provides fast, flexible capital to small businesses that have often been underserved by traditional financing options.

 

What are some of the key ways Forward Financing invests — pun intended — in the well-being of its employees?

It’s important to us that employees feel cared for both inside and outside of work, and that they have access to high-quality care. We recognize that every employee has different needs, and we ask for feedback on ways we can support them. Most recently, we launched an employee benefits survey to collect feedback on our programs and potential new offerings. We host educational sessions focused on employee well-being. 

Additionally, we offer fully paid Headspace memberships and quarterly group meditation sessions. Onsite at our office, we host vision exams, annual vaccinations and group wellness walks. We focus on all aspects of employee well-being, from physical to mental and social. We host social events for our employees, both remote and in-person, to build meaningful connections across our teams. Some of these events include interactive cooking classes, group lunches and virtual game shows. 
 

“We focus on all aspects of employee well-being, from physical to mental and social.”

 

When employees feel connected to others on the team, they are more comfortable to be their full authentic selves at work. Finally, we understand the role recognition plays in overall well-being. As part of our recognition program, employees can submit public shout-outs through Slack.

 

The last couple of years have been especially taxing on people’s physical and mental health. How has Forward Financing changed to meet employees where they are?

At Forward, we prioritize flexible benefits, policies and programs tailored to individuals, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. An example of this is our Employee Choice Program, which empowers individuals to decide where they work best — whether from home, the office or anywhere across the United States. This program gives employees flexibility to adjust their schedule based on their individual needs. 

Our Flex Pass program grants employees monthly funds to spend on wellness, commuting or home office expenses. We recognize that each individual has different needs and this benefit allows them the flexibility to spend the funds in a way that works best for them. Some employees spend their funds on exercise classes, while others use it toward mental health support. Our Flex Pass helps get the right care to each individual employee. 

Forward understands the significance of taking time off to rest. We partner with managers to remind their employees to utilize their time to disconnect from work. The same goes for taking  leave of absence. As an example, we implemented paid time off for pregnancy loss or failed adoption/fertility treatment, enabling employees to take time to mend without explanation.

 

 

H. Alex Harrison
People & Culture Partner • Immersive Labs

Immersive Labs is a cybersecurity company that helps organizations continuously assess, build and prove their cyber workforce resilience. 

 

What are some of the big ways that Immersive Labs focuses on employee wellness? 

At Immersive Labs, we encourage employees to bring their authentic selves to work and are strongly committed to fostering inclusivity as a core value within our company. We actively promote this value across all our programs and initiatives, including annual funds that enable employees to invest in their physical and mental well-being, as well as learn-anything funds to support their personal interests and growth. 
 

“We actively promote inclusivity across all our programs and initiatives.” 

 

Our employee wellness initiatives are not one-sided. We conduct cadenced surveys to gauge employee engagement and alignment with our values, including an annual inclusion and belonging survey, which analyzes employee data across various demographics. 

Our DEI group, culture club and people team collaborate to offer a wide range of programs throughout the year that celebrate diversity. These programs include webinars, guest speakers and monthly themed activities focused on educating and engaging employees on topics like Women’s History Month, Black History Month, Mental Health Awareness, Pride Month and more.
 

The last couple of years have been especially taxing on people’s physical and mental health. How has Immersive Labs adapted or expanded your benefits offerings to support employees?

Immersive Labs provides comprehensive nationwide healthcare benefits, which include mental health counseling and treatment-based services. Additionally, we provide all employees with annual funds and programs to support their mental and physical health. Employees may reimburse expenses related to physical and mental health — gym memberships, fitness and yoga classes, counseling and cognitive behavior therapy. 

We also provide employees complimentary access to an Employee Assistance Program, which offers a host of benefits, including stress management, financial counseling and legal assistance We have internal peer-run support groups for employees seeking support, and we offer generous vacation and sick time policies, for peace of mind and to ensure work-life balance maintains in equilibrium.

 

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images provided by Shutterstock and listed companies.

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