All signs show that health and wellness are fulfilling a long-held promise: you need to meet people where they are if you want to change their behavior.

“Everyone wins from your well being,” counseled the best-selling author of Awakening Joy (Parallax Press, 2012) James Baraz.  With the teaching Mr. Baraz was addressing a gathering at Spirit Rock, the Woodacre, California meditation center he co-founded. He makes such perfect sense, and yet we forget.  We forget, and we forge ahead particularly in the workplace.  9:45 AM somehow morphs into 3:00 PM with the mid-day refuel of lunch being skipped in favor of churning out more…

Lunch isn’t the only thing being compromised in the urgent quest for increased productivity.  There’s sleep, physical movement, mental health, family life and sometimes even the simple act of breathing in and out.  All essential ingredients to our collective well being.  knead, a new player on the Greater Boston wellness scene, aims to drive home the wisdom of folks like Mr. Baraz by delivering wellness services directly to the workplace.  Massage, meditation and now yoga span the menu at knead.  Before the day gets rolling, at lunchtime or before checking out for the evening commute – the company tailors their schedule and services to meet the multi-tasking many whatever the hour.

Boston-based on Atlantic Avenue, knead was founded by Babson graduate and CPA Nick Pierce.   While he enjoyed much financial success in his profession and enjoyed a lot of the work, he grew frustrated with its swelling stress level.  Burn out became undeniable to him in his final corporate gig of completely turning around a company.  In that moment of reckoning, he reflected back on his long simmering interest in hatching a small business.  So, he gave a long goodbye to his corporate chapter and in the transition channeled his attention towards solutions to the imbalance that plagues the corporate world’s well being… He found relief through a regular meditation practice, and kept company with his former Babson (MBA) classmate and local yogi Ben Chused.  Mr. Pierce also had a great resource in his wife and her committed yoga practice.  These factors all proved integral as he pondered his entrepreneurial aspirations.

 

Before long a team was in place and knead was hatched.  Shying away from the use of apps in favor of more direct client encounters (and a better read of their needs), they began connecting personally with Employee Benefits professionals and Property Managers and secured their first gig with a client in Seattle.  On-site chair massages unfolded into expanded massage services, with meditation and yoga eventually adding to the company’s wellness menu.

“Over time, the tide has shifted with employers making an increasing investment in on-site yoga,” according to Pierce.  “We’re always looking for new talent.”  Pierce especially enjoys the recruiting aspect of his role at knead, and looks for a couple of different virtues when prospecting talent.  “The ‘students’ are on a limited time frame due to their work demands.  Punctuality is key with our yoga instructors.  Also, I’m looking for folks who can read the crowd and teach to our all-levels audiences.”

“Traditional wellness is broken,” reads the homepage at Wellable, another Boston-based player in the corporate wellness scene.  Through employee wellness challenges and other services, Wellable promotes cultural and individual wellness and also strengthens community.  Boston-based Chasing Nirvana, a mind/body wellness company, delivers on-site “Wellness Packages” which combine services such as yoga, breath work, health coaching and meditation specifically tailored to meet employee needs.  Their clients include pixability, 3rd AVE Burlington, Shepley Bulfinch and The Pine Street Inn. Chasing Nirvana also produces on-site corporate retreats.

In a recent article by Amy McDonough, VicePresident and General Manager of Fitbit Group Health, the author shared her bullish outlook on corporate wellness in 2017. “Fidelity and the National Business Group on Health (NBGH) found that in 2016, 87% of employers offered emotional or mental well being programs and 76% provided financial health programs. Looking ahead, 67% of employers planned to expand those efforts and 17% anticipated maintaining their current level of investment.  All signs show that health and wellness are fulfilling a long-held promise: you need to meet people where they are if you want to change their behavior. Incorporating people and data-centric approaches into your wellness program is a sure-fire way to make 2017 your company’s healthiest year yet.”

“Count on us for stress release regardless of the frequency,” adds Nick Pierce as we wrap up our conversation.  “We offer a flexible payment model and welcome companies of all sizes at knead.”  Find knead also on Facebook and on twitter.

 

 

 

Author Susan Currie is Managing Editor at BOSTON YOGA and an Associate Editor at LA YOGA magazine. Beyond her contributions to these publications, her words and images have been featured in the Boston Globe, Elephant Journal, Yogi Times, the Huffington Post, Spirit of St. Bart’s and on the cover of the book Moving into Meditation (Shambala) by Anne Cushman. 

Susan is also the creator of the Daily Inhale and an RYT 200 registered yoga instructor. She unpacks her various professional experiences through creative (and yoga) workshops she leads throughout the country. Her new book, Once Divided (Shanti Arts 2016), a blend of visual and verse, is now available in wide release. GRACENOTES, its follow-up, will be published in 2017.