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Is Convenience the Key to Happy Employees?

Image via SEI

Image via SEI

Do you remember the convenience of living on campus during college? Meal plans, fitness facilities and classes within walking distance come to mind. But for most people, those conveniences cease after four years, making room for the hectic schedules more characteristic of post-grad life. But at SEI, an asset management company headquartered in Oaks, they’ve parlayed those on-site conveniences into an innovative, health-wise corporate campus.

What’s most innovative about SEI (in addition to their renowned art collection and ingenious movable desks) is their commitment to making employee resources readily accessible and convenient. That means not simply offering subsidies or incentives for fitness classes and healthy eating, but ensuring they’re available right on campus. The on-site fitness center, for example, offers 19 free classes each week, ranging from Pilates to HIIT. The classes aren’t predetermined by SEI, either. Rather, employees can rally their colleagues and suggest fitness classes they deem worthwhile. Colleen Stratton, head of workplace development at SEI, explains, “It’s what happened with our yoga class — so many people participate that we decided to offer it regularly.” The campus also offers healthy meals in the cafeteria.

This dedication to wellness also permeates office culture. Because the campus is wide open (you can see a window from anywhere within the office), employees are encouraged to schedule walking meetings and to de-stress outdoors. Similarly, they encourage office-wide 5K runs, proving their comprehensive wellness program goes beyond campus confines.

SEI’s health-forward initiatives extend to mental and emotional wellness, as well. For new mothers who are returning to work, SEI offers newborn care at their on-site Family Center through the Good Start program. “Our female employees really do enjoy it and participate in it,” Stratton explains, “It makes the [transition] back to work a little bit easier for them.” Likewise, the center, which staffs seven people during the school year and 11 in the summer, also provides easy childcare for families year-round. The summer camp programs are particularly beneficial, Stratton notes, when school is out.

The access to all of these programs underlines SEI’s success catering to their employees’ evolving needs. Stratton explains, “We take a look at [the programs] every year and see if there are other things we should be considering.” And while all of these perks are certainly advantageous to its employees, SEI also reaps the benefits of having healthier, happier staff members, which translates to increased productivity and fewer sick days. The good thing: companies can replicate this health-forward office culture. It’s not enough to offer a comprehensive wellness program, but rather, companies must ensure it’s employee-friendly and convenient.

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