The past 15 months have been a strain for most people. Collectively, the pandemic has challenged our physical and mental health. Like many companies, we took these challenges seriously at Calix and leaned into one of our core values of “taking care of our own” to help our all-remote workforce successfully navigate this difficult time. In the spirit of collaboration, I’ve outlined five actions our Talent and Culture team has taken to support Calix employees, and the positive feedback we’ve received.
Qualified experts led keynote discussions on the importance of managing mental health.
We invited experts in the field of mental health to speak to our team. Bill Duane shared “Wellbeing for Life” and Peter Freeburg spoke about “Resilience and Prioritizing Emotional Strength During Difficult Times.” Feedback from our team was extremely positive and, to quote Eric Kwedar, community moderator, Intelligent Access EDGE, “I loved hearing from industry leaders that I was not alone in feeling burned out. Better still was the advice and actionable information to help bring myself back into the ‘Flow Zone.’ It also helped me break out of the ‘doing’ mindset—where I was just grinding, grinding, grinding—to a ‘thinking’ mindset where ideas and creativity can flow more readily. Again, thank you for hosting these, and thank you for acknowledging that it has been a crazy year and that it is always good to focus and reflect on ourselves to make sure we are getting what we need to heal or to grow.”
Members of our team became Mental Health First Aid certified.
“Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is just as important as physical first aid. In these uncertain times, being trained as a Mental Health First Aider is important so that we are better equipped to support those that need help, whether it is stress, anxiety, depression, or acting as a sounding board. We want the Calix team to know that they have a trusted partner they can turn to should they have a need,” explained Danielle Aghassi, senior Talent and Culture business partner.
We prompted movement and wellbeing challenges.
We recognize that everyone was spending too much time sitting in front of their computer participating in Zoom meetings. We encouraged managers to set “walking meetings” where the team was motivated to get up from their desk and take a meeting during a call.
Facilitating these types of events helps the team feel connected. Nicole Lerner, Compensation partner, commented, “It was motivating to see all of the activity on the leader board, especially on the days when I didn’t feel like working out.” “The exercise challenges encouraged me try exercises I would not have tried before. Variety is a good thing,” said Michele Malman, Payroll manager.
Employees decided when and where to recharge.
Employees are in the best position to identify when they need a break. Our time off programs are designed with flexibility in mind. Similarly, Calix Recharge Days are specific days, once a quarter, when every employee decides what they need to recharge. Whether more time with loved ones, more sleep, or quiet time to catch up on work, it’s completely up to the individual to decide.
We prioritized personal wellness to reach professional success.
With everyone on back-to-back Zoom calls, scheduling 25-minute calls instead of 30 (or starting at 15 past the hour) forces a break in the call schedule and ensures our team has time to stretch, get some fresh air, or simply take their eyes off their computer screen to recharge.
“When my wellness needs are met, it makes it easier to show up in a big way for my customers and coworkers. Without a solid base of wellness—physical, mental/psychological, financial—growing anything of value—my relationships with customers, my knowledge base, my professional development—becomes harder and it feels less achievable. By Calix valuing wellness and making it a priority, they are supporting my ability to grow in all aspects of life,” said Tara Young, Customer Success manager.
As a new senior leader at Calix, I feel proud to be part of an organization that not only talks about “Taking Care of Our Own,” but also takes action. By implementing a variety of small actions, we are on our way to achieving our goal of spreading awareness to help remove the stigma that often surrounds mental health.