If you live in a Common home, or have even been following our company’s story and mission, then you know that we strive to make city living better for our members through convenience, value, and community. But something you might not realize is that we care about the team that makes this experience possible just as much as we care about the people that live in our homes.
That’s why this year, Common launched a series of wellness based initiatives focused on teaching our team the tenets of self-care, from managing stress to managing our financial health. As part of this programming, employees can sign up for mindful meditation sessions, attend seminars on financial health, and even take on-site yoga classes.
We spoke to Common’s People Operations Manager, Alex Paffilas, about why programs like these are important at Common, what she hopes our team takes from it, and what people outside of Common can learn about wellness, too.
What was the inspiration behind starting a wellness program at Common?
In a startup environment like Common, people bring their A game everyday — we’re building something that’s never been built before, and it’s a fast paced environment that can be pretty high stress. So if you don’t focus on wellness, you’re gonna get burnt out. In order to provide a supportive environment for our employees, and to ensure that they’re bringing their best selves to work, we wanted to roll out some programming and initiatives that were a bit more holistic, because focusing on one aspect of health can only go so far. We hope that [through this programming], everyone can find something interesting and enriching that they can apply to their daily lives.
How did you decide on the quarterly themes?
It’s no secret that most people spend most of their time at work, so we just tried to think of areas where people need guidance and support. The first quarter’s theme, stress and burnout management, was the most obvious to us. But something that wasn’t so obvious is financial fitness, which is our theme for quarter 3.
Most employees at Common are under 40, and financial fitness isn’t something that’s taught in school. Plus, it can be a pretty taboo topic. We want our employees to be educated on how to reach their short term and long term financial goals, because the stress or lack of stress around finances is going to affect your mental health. So while physical fitness programming gives the most measurable results, we wanted to focus on the mental and financial wellness for a more rounded out approach.
What do you hope Common employees take from this program?
I hope that people realize that it doesn’t have to be a huge commitment to invest in their wellbeing; it can be as simple as a 20 minute meditation, setting aside time to go over budgeting, or taking a walk during lunch to decompress and get some physical activity. Taking small steps will lead to big changes.
How can people who don’t work at Common incorporate wellness into their work day?
Finding something that you can fit into your daily busy routine. Don’t get upset if you can’t stick to it, just focus on finding out what works for you in that given moment. Wellness looks different to everyone. For some people, it’s the gym, and for some people it’s hanging out with your pet and a nice cup of tea.
What’s your favorite part of this program? Or the part you’re most looking forward to?
I’m really looking forward to self-care bingo! On the bingo card, there are different self-care activities that you can check off over the month. If you get Bingo, you’ll be entered to win a raffle for a gift card to a healthy lunch option, like Sweetgreen. I think it’s a great way to get everyone thinking about all the different ways they can approach wellness. Plus a little competition in the office is fun too, especially for something like Sweetgreen!
I will also say that there’s something really powerful about sitting in a dark room doing a 30 minute meditation with your coworkers. You feel connected and revived — that’s been one of my favorite programs, too.
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