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Arlingtonian Looks to Shake Up ‘Old-School’ Corporate Wellness Offerings

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

After more than 15 years spent improving help people’s health, local resident Eifer Lyddane noticed a gap in corporate wellness programs.

“What’s interesting is a lot of these companies have wellness programs, but most of these wellness programs are, for lack of a better word, old school,” she said. “They are traditional programs that are biometric screening, hydration challenges, fitness challenges.”

And, Lyddane said, those programs don’t tend to get employees too excited to work on their health and wellbeing.

“The problem with all that is it doesn’t really engage their employees at a high level,” she said. “In fact, most of the companies I’ve talked to get about a 10 percent employee engagement, which I think is extremely low.”

So to freshen things up, Lyddane founded In Good Company Wellness a year and a half ago. The startup goes into businesses like IT companies and law firms, customizes a wellness program for employees and then implements it.

Lyddane said programs can include guidance on nutrition, farm-to-table catering, meditation, talks and workshops on wellness, or yoga and other fitness-based activities. Programs are typically scheduled to happen on a regular basis — usually each month or each week — but In Good Company offers one-off programs too.

The company also just launched a podcast on mindfulness, where “mindfulness guru” Hugh Byrne interviews entrepreneurs who are having an impact on the local community.

One such program is a rooftop yoga class at the Watergate Hotel in D.C. in partnership with meditation studio Recharj. Lyddane said programs like that, which are consistent and offer people a chance to decompress and take some time for themselves are of great help.

“Our real goal is to go into these companies and really add that wellness piece that engages employees and helps them figure out what to do with stress and anxiety, and offer it at lunchtime, before work, after work,” Lyddane said. “It also helps with interactions with their colleagues and clients as well.”

And having worked with around 30 businesses already, including national and global companies that take advantage of online content like webinars, Lyddane said employers have noticed a difference already in their employees.

“After six months, it’s interesting to see the change in the culture of the organization just from that wellness element,” she said. “Their interactions with each other, they’re not as stressed. It’s almost like the culture is more laid back, and is not as harried and hectic.”

Employees, meanwhile, are embracing the programs being offered, especially as it allows them to escape their stressful work lives.

“You think about it, people come to work, they’ve already been in traffic for an hour or an hour and a half and they’re stressed when they get there and they’re thinking about the future and getting things done,” Lyddane said. “It’s just a way of taking time for themselves in the workplace, and it shows that their employer really cares about them and their wellbeing. It’s been very well received.”

Photos via In Good Company Wellness.

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