With smartphones, laptops and cloud-based sales force platforms, it’s almost impossible to virtually escape the office. With that being said, there are avenues for redefining what it means to have a work-life balance.
A new-age solution to a balanced work—and outside-of-work—lifestyle, takes an approach that works passed the idea of mere “balance” and works towards something referred to as “work-life integration.” This practice harmonizes both components of life, making work feel less like work, even when it interferes with an employee’s time off the clock.
A strong corporate value system is integral to ensuring a strong work-life integration, something Cove Continuity Advisors Inc. embraces full-force. 28-years strong, Cove is Canada’s first B Corp insurance company, scoring a whopping 34 in the Worker Section of the B Corp Assessment (with the median score currently sitting at 18).
With the launch of their new website, Cove is unearthing and sharing the essence and values of its unique philosophy. Centred around the motto “Space to Breathe,” Cove understands the negative impacts of stress and how it can—as the company defines it—“[limit] our experience of happiness.” Understanding this, Cove orients everything around reducing stress, making it a top priority.
Bernie Geiss, President and Continuity Advisor at Cove Continuity Advisors, believes that a value system based on reduced stress “pays significant rewards.”
Geiss admits, “Our employees spend more waking hours at work than they do at home.”
And that’s exactly why they’ve decided to use work time to teach employees how to reduce their stress through the practice of yoga and meditation. A yoga instructor visits the office every Monday to lead and guide their practice.
Luckily, employees aren’t crowding around the water-cooler, stretching out in the lunchroom. Cove has a dedicated yoga and meditation room that staff are welcome to use at their own leisure.
Influenced by the notion that it’s easier to learn something new and develop a habit when it’s convenient, Cove provides the time and space for employees to practice. In turn, Cove enables employees with the opportunity to develop their practice, reduce their stress, and create happiness that, as Geiss puts it, “spills into personal life.”
Cove’s website states, “We believe that by being more present and focusing on improving ourselves at the individual level, we develop healthy, positive attitudes and become more effective at our jobs. We can then put our best foot forward at every opportunity and grow personally and professionally in a friendly, supportive environment.”
Beyond providing the opportunity to practice yoga and meditation, Cove employees are also encouraged to dress casually, with an ethical purpose. Employees at Cove never where suits, because beyond just reducing stress, the company’s also on a mission to reduce its negative impact on the environment. Cove’s website sites dry-cleaning as its main motivator for staying clear of the suit and tie. Instead, staff wear Fair Trade Certified™ clothing and Patagonia denim. They also donate 1% of their profits towards environmental programs, through an initiative run by 1% for the Planet.
Cove understands that these values and initiatives can’t be implemented isolated from the rest of its operations. In order for these programs to be successful, they must be embedded within all of the components of business.
That’s why Cove shares and integrates their value systems with all of its stakeholders, including clients. As the website notes, “For our clients, we create Space to Breathe by implementing insurance services that ensure financial security during times of emotional upheaval caused by a death, disability, or critical illness. Our planning aims to bring peace of mind…”
By providing a “Space to Breath,” a space to work on self improvement, all the while, creating a positive impact on the planet—both for clients and staff—employees are bound to experience a stronger work-life integration.
And from the sounds of it, it’s not only working, but it’s setting a new industry standard.
Time will tell if this new trend will reach a tipping point, breaking into the mainstream of business. Some “Space to Breathe” might just be what our corporate world needs.