WPV Wellness Education

Pharos Systems' yoga group, which meets once a week, acts as not only a great workout, but also a valuable bonding experience for employees. Wellness initiatives such as this provide physical, mental and social benefits for all participants.

Life can get stressful. Between morning routines, commutes and work and family responsibilities, the idea of wellness can easily be put on the back burner.

But at Pharos Systems, a print management software company that’s been in business for 25 years, wellness is a tangible goal that employees can reach out and grab.

Pharos Systems is based in Rochester, New York. But its roots extend to New Zealand, where the company was founded.

“It’s a really interesting culture out there,” says Susy Bordin, executive administrator at Pharos Systems. “Our founders have a very progressive culture, and that had a heavy influence on who they chose as CEO and how that CEO influenced the corporate culture here in Rochester.”

Bordin joined Pharos Systems five years ago. Right around that time, the company started its employee yoga program, a subsidized class held once a week for any interested employees.

“It’s really an affordable class, and the instructor comes to our office, which is wonderful,” she says.

Things went so well with the yoga class that Pharos Systems added a second fitness class to its repertoire. The company has a wellness committee made up of employees who volunteer their time to come up with new ideas and initiatives. 

“We gather brainpower and offer Lunch and Learns between eight and 10 times a year,” Bordin says. “We bring in a healthy lunch and someone to talk about a specific wellness topic that’s been predetermined.”

Bordin says one of the goals of the wellness initiative at Pharos Systems was to make sure it was comprehensive and inclusive for people of all walks of life.

“What might be important to me might be less important to someone else, but no less important in terms of what their wellness goals are,” she says. “So, we cover everything from emotional and spiritual wellness to nutritional and financial wellness, to community and social wellness. We really try to cover the gamut, and do fun things, too.”

Some of those fun things include bringing in a “tea master,” as well as an expert in olive oil. They’ve also brought in nutritional and financial experts, emotional healers and people who specialize in essential oils. Pharos Systems plans to bring in a qi gong master in spring 2018, and a sleep center expert to educate employees about what happens to your health when you don’t get enough rest.

Pharos Systems added two purified water stations to the office, and holds a weekly, meditation group on Friday mornings.

“Life is stressful,” Bordin says. “Work is stressful. We acknowledge that the more we can do for ourselves on a personal level, the more we can grow and benefit one another — as well as the community.”

These wellness activities have had tangible emotional and social effects on the employees. For example, the yoga group has created a wonderful community of individuals, Bordin says.

“Part of it is an emotional and social aspect that brings us into deeper relationship with one another,” Bordin says. “It gives us an opportunity to engage and be vulnerable at an equal level deepening relationships and getting healthier in the meantime. You create bonds with people.”

Much of the wellness initiative is to widen peoples’ perspectives.

“Sometimes there is not a whole lot of time outside of work to go off and engage in these different learnings,” she says. “And I believe it helps you feel appreciated by your employer. It extends and deepens a sense of well-being — that this is a good place to be; I’m cared for (here). It makes coming to work much nicer.”

Bordin credits the company’s leadership with creating the culture of wellness that exists.

“The choice of leadership, from our founders to our CEO and our senior staff, plays a significant part in our corporate culture of wellness,” she says. “We have their full support. They encourage it, they welcome it and they want it to be part of our culture. It starts from the foundation and works its way up. Having that type of support makes all the difference.”