Wellness Time at T3

by Tabitha Valdes

Back in early March when the coronavirus lockdowns began, I, like many others, did not think working from home would last very long. We at T3 had originally aimed to be back in the office by April 3. Now it’s almost December and we’re still working from home for the foreseeable future.

We have mostly been learning by doing since all of our offices abruptly transitioned to working from home back in March, which was not easy for many. 

To adapt to the current climate, our People and Culture team has worked to create new policies to help employees with stress, anxiety, and managing work/life balance in an environment where separating work from home is near impossible. 

As HR professionals, we are always striving and working towards creating policies that meet our people where they are. This is just a start and there will definitely be more to come. 

Wellness Time > Sick Time 

We have a robust time off policy consisting of over 20 T3 holidays, 10 days for wellness time, 1 day for volunteering, and bereavement time if you are grieving the loss of a loved one. When we moved to working remotely we noticed that employees were hesitant to take that sick time off for anything other than illness, so we rebranded sick time to wellness time. This rebrand gave employees the opportunity to rethink how they view sick time, with employees having taken 56% more time off since the switch.

Slack Statuses

With our new remote environment, you can’t help but have that “always-on” feeling. Setting boundaries around your working hours is harder than ever before when your office is located in your living room. A great way to encourage employees to update each other has been with Slack statuses. Slack is arguably used more than email at our agency, so having employees update their Slack status is an easy way to let people know their degree of availability at any given time. 

To help employees adopt and use this new method, the agency voted on which statuses would be most useful and we used that information to create a Slack Status key. 

Wellness Resources 

With wellness being top of mind, we have been bringing in resources for employees to assist with mental health and employee burnout. One of our favorite new events in our wellness series is our weekly, virtual 15-minute morning meditation. Meditation techniques have been proven to help alleviate stress and to calm the mental and emotional factors affecting health. 

We have also been expanding our benefits and resources with tools like First Stop Health. The new virtual counseling tool from First Stop Health gives our employees 24-hour access to health experts. We are excited to create more meaningful wellness events and resources in the future. 

Caregivers Guide 

With most schools and daycares still closed earlier this year, our T3 parents were having to navigate how to work from home and care for their families simultaneously. We also have team members who may be supporting elderly relatives and others who need help during this pandemic. T3 managers play a key role in providing support to our T3 caregivers. We created a Caregivers guide that outlines information on how to better support caregivers during this difficult time.

We’re excited to see the effects these changes have on our employees and we look forward to continuing to adjust our wellness policies as we continue to work from home this year.

Tabitha Valdes