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Wellness at Opal: Mental, Physical & Emotional

by Kendall Shepherd

While we certainly want our employees doing the best work of their lives, we also have a strong desire to see them truly being the best version of themselves when they do it.  

In fact, enabling people to be their best, authentic selves is something of a guiding principle for Opal’s People Operations team. Certainly, this manifests itself in the policies that guarantee all Opalites can be themselves here. It’s in the spoken and unspoken culture that encourages you to take time for yourself and share yourself with others. That core principle is why we recognized August as National Wellness Month by putting wellness into focus at Opal. 

The Connection between Wellness & DE&I

As part of our efforts to build a vibrant and enriching culture at Opal, we invest time and resources into diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) efforts. Wellness was the focus of our DE&I initiatives for August. 

Perhaps, that’s unexpected… 

When people hear DE&I, they tend to think of race and gender – that’s totally fair, of course. However, when honoring people’s differences at Opal, we think of an even bigger picture. Of course we honor differences in race, gender, sexual orientation, and gender expression – but we’re also talking about economic, social, and cognitive differences, and even differences in health. 

However, one thing that can connect with everyone is the benefit of finding a little more wellness…

The Philosophy of Individual Wellness

The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness as, “The active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.”

At Opal, we see that wellness is inherently individual. It’s about finding the balance that leads to being in a good place physically, emotionally, and mentally. 

Read more about how we elevate and encourage mental health

While it is a personal pursuit, it’s something we wanted to encourage as a company. We did this by making time and space for it, and by offering resources that encourage it. While seeking wellness will certainly look different for every Opalite, we are pursuing it together.

Our activities for Wellness Month focused on sharing stories and providing tools that can aid a wellness journey.  

What We Did for Wellness at Opal 

The rest of the wonderful People Operations team and myself wanted to honor all of the components of wellness in a way that would resonate with different Opalites. Here’s what we did:

Wellness-Themed Lunch & Learn – Our August Lunch & Learn was about wellness – and so much more. This session called “His Journey to Finding Health, Wellness, Success, and Fulfillment” featured Senior DevOps manager Jeremy Running sharing his story. Inspired by the book Men’s Work: A Practical Guide to Face Your Darkness, End Self-Sabotage, and Find Freedom, Jeremy highlighted his journey to peace and sobriety! 

Hello Fresh Giveaway – It is said that food is the best medicine. Not only is eating well a worthy step towards wellness, but the act of cooking can be therapeutic in its own right. That’s why we brought out our (virtual) prize wheel and gave away three $75 gift cards to HelloFresh! 

Sketch and Stretch – We ended August with a truly unique virtual event: Sketch and Stretch! Hosted by the Confetti company, a Sketch and Stretch workshop features a mix of seated yoga and the calming act of drawing/coloring. This casual and fun event showed just how rewarding bringing a spark of relaxation into your day can be!

Year-Round Ways Opal Encourages Wellness 

Being your best and authentic self is something we often talk about at Opal. While August is Wellness Month and we’re proud of what we’ve done, our focus on wellness is something we work on every day. These are a few Opal policy positions that speak to this commitment: 

1) 100% Covered Employee Health Insurance Plan – Our comprehensive employee health insurance plan makes care for mental and physical health attainable for all Opalites. We cover a wide range of mental health and substance use services, including outpatient care, psychiatry, psychotherapy, and residential care, all aimed at supporting your overall wellbeing.

2) True Unlimited Vacation Policy – Time away from work often means time recharging your batteries and doing more of what you care about most. We require a minimum of 2 weeks off each year to ensure that you prioritize your well-being, but we encourage taking 3 weeks or more. This is one major way we commit to making your wellness a top priority.

3) First Fridays – We power down the entire company on the first Friday of each month, giving each team member permission to focus on taking care of themselves without any work distractions!

4) Flexible Work Arrangements – We offer flexible work arrangements, allowing individuals to work in a way that suits their wellbeing. This includes the freedom to choose their working hours and a remote-first environment, with the option for coworking space if desired!

While we can’t say anything specific yet, we want to conclude by saying that we know what we’re doing is working. Our Opalites appreciate our policies and activities that put wellness first – and getting validation on that feels incredible.

Stay tuned for more news! 

About the Author

Kendall Shepherd

Director, People & Culture

Born and raised in Portland, Kendall loves to read, work out, and venture through the Portland food scene with her wife and son.

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