At Vena, we know how important it is to keep our home and work life separate. But we also know how quickly our work-life balance can overlap and become unbalanced, especially as many of us continue to work remotely or differently throughout the pandemic.
Throughout these challenging times, as we all face new, unexpected or ongoing challenges, we knew we had to do more to ensure our employees felt supported, less stressed, healthier and happier in both their work and home life. This led us to revise our health benefits package and to make changes that reflected immediate access, more paid time allowance, child and senior care benefits, expanded mental health support and more. We also introduced more health and wellness initiatives in our workplace.
Creating Stability and Providing Support in Times of Uncertainty
“At the start of the pandemic, with so much uncertainty in the air mixed with concerns about the effects of the virus on our health, the last thing we wanted for our new employees to experience was waiting for the activation of their health benefits,” explains Melissa Udvari, Senior Director, People Operations & Programs at Vena.
One of the first measures Vena took to improve our health and wellness benefits offering was waiving the three-month waiting period for benefits. To this day, all new employees continue to enjoy immediate activation of their total health benefits program upon their start date. Another big change we made was launching an RRSP matching program. We also increased life insurance maximums and survivor benefits for employees and offered optional life insurance for dependents.
We were also aware that employees needed to take time off for many different reasons, including the care of children and seniors, and to encourage them to do so, we increased their paid time allowance to 25 days and up. We changed sick days to wellness days, offered our employees more personal days and added milestone days at their fifth- and 10th-anniversary dates. At a minimum, this means new hires are entitled to 15 days of vacation, five wellness days, four personal days and one volunteer day.
An Extended Dose of Vitamin D for All Venanites
Last year, we introduced Summer Fridays from July 2 through September 3 where we encouraged all Venenaties to take advantage of wrapping up their workdays early on Friday afternoons to get a headstart on their weekends. Many of our employees used this extra time off to recharge and relax, to enjoy the outdoors and their favorite summertime activities, or to spend additional time with their family and friends. Based on the success of Summer Fridays last year, we’ll be continuing to offer our employees early starts to their weekends again this summer.
Did you know that we developed a hybrid remote-office model at Vena based on what our employees told us works best for them? Read about Vena’s hybrid approach to work here.
Making Mental Health and Wellness a Priority for All
New this year, we’re excited to offer our employees a subscription to Headspace.
“In searching for new ways to help our employees receive more personalized support, guidance, tools and access to mental health and wellness resources, this digital mindfulness program offers it all,’ says Monica Iliopoulos, Senior Total Rewards Manager at Vena. “Their content focuses on meditation, mindfulness and sleep, all healthy practices we feel can help our employees focus on their health and well-being every day.”
Monica explains that Headspace also provides support for parents/caregivers and their children, whether they are managing their workload from home or the office. Keeping little ones healthy and happy can be challenging at the best of times, let alone throughout the working week. For those tough times when kids get restless, bored, have trouble with bedtime or sharing their feelings, Headspace provides recommended mindful exercises and games for kids.
Also, new this year, employees can take advantage of new health and wellness spending accounts. With the health spending account, employees will have access to additional funds they could use toward their existing health and wellness benefits, such as psychotherapy, for example. They could also use these funds for any additional support they would require for the care of children or seniors.
Creating a Safe Place To Work Through Compassion, Education and Empathy
Throughout the working week, there’s always something going on to promote the health and wellness of Vena employees. Our yoga and mediation sessions, led by Vena experts, continue to be offered in a virtual format. We held a successful step challenge last year. We regularly curate resources on topics such as child and elder care and share them company-wide. We’ve hosted mental health workshops on topics such as impostor syndrome, active listening, grief counseling and empathy.
Many of our mental health initiatives are also driven by our Mental Health employee resource group (what we call our Mental Health VRG). They help create a safe space for all Vena employees to openly share mental health resources and to connect with one another for support. Many of their ongoing initiatives include offering mental health first aid training for leaders and employees. They also organize ongoing mindfulness and meditation activities as well as learning labs and workshops with health professionals.
Vena wrapped up 2021 with Comparably Awards for Best Company Culture, Best Company for Diversity, Best Company for Women and Best CEO. Learn more.
For the full list of Comparably awards Vena won in 2021, click here.
Come Grow With Us
Vena is hiring! We have offices in Toronto, Canada and in London, England. Visit our Careers page for current job openings or follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to learn more about life at Vena.