Business Monday

CEOs: Cuban coffee, flexibility and beach picnics help employees balance job demands

VANCE ALOUPIS is CEO of The Children’s Movement of Florida, one of the state’s largest child advocacy organizations.
VANCE ALOUPIS is CEO of The Children’s Movement of Florida, one of the state’s largest child advocacy organizations.

This week’s question to South Florida CEOs who are on the Miami Herald CEO Roundtable: How do you help employees balance their mental health needs with the demands of the job?

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Like almost every nonprofit, we’re always trying to do too much with too little. Our work isn’t 9 to 5 — and we don’t treat it as such. For me, that can often blur the line between work and life. Mental and physical health of our team is essential to our success. We strive to provide considerable flexibility to make sure that our team can work in a way that best meets individual needs as well as the needs of the organization.

Vance Aloupis, CEO, The Children’s Movement of Florida

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To assist our employees to find balance, Good Hope provides the employees flexible scheduling, so they can attend to their personal and educational needs. In addition, we encourage our employees to use our exercise equipment, so that they can take time to focus on their health/fitness and to find balance within their lives.

Margaret “Peggy” Bass, executive director, Good Hope Equestrian Training Center

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This is one of Carrfour’s greatest challenges. Working with our community’s most vulnerable residents is very demanding on our employees. We are very aware of this challenge and our management team is deliberate in creating an environment where our employees feel supported and cared for. In addition to having a robust benefits package (including insurance coverage for mental health treatment and a generous number of paid days off), we regularly plan relaxing activities such as sponsoring a day for the employees at the Miami Seaquarium or beach picnics. Also, we give priority to internal applicants whenever a new position opens in the organization. This provides employees an opportunity to change their work environment if they need a change.

Stephanie Berman-Eisenberg, president, CEO, Carrfour Supportive Housing

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Finding balance in the real estate industry can be tough, especially since our hours can often be irregular; however, we do everything we can to help staff members find that equilibrium. Whether it’s flexible schedules, remote working options or other methods, we’re always open to finding new ways to make our team members happier and more productive.

Michael A. Comras, president, The Comras Company of Florida

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For open enrollment every year, we provide our team members with different resources and programs they can leverage to help them with work-life balance and mental health. As a company, we recognize the importance of paying attention not only to employees’ physical health but also their mental well-being. This is why we promote an open environment where employees can raise any concerns and problems can be discussed, so our staff members can excel at home, at work, and in their local communities.

Jose R. Costa, CEO, For Eyes

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We have a very generous paid time off and leave of absence policy. We also offer employee’s wellness perks, such as corporate discounts to fitness centers and free yoga classes at the executive office. In addition, through our benefits package, we offer an Employee Assistance Program that helps our employees with mental health concerns (stress, depression, financial/family concerns, etc.) free of charge. We also have an open door policy throughout the organization. Employees are encouraged to give feedback and we provide channels for them to reach out to the human resource department if needed. Feedback is given during new hire training. In addition, we have enacted, due to workplace feedback, a Staff and Physician Burnout Committee. This group is working on ideas to assist staff and professionals on dealing with workplace stress.

Alejandro Fernandez, CEO, Gastro Health

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We have a “Live Smart” wellness initiative at Suffolk, and it focuses not only on physical health, but also mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. It’s a more holistic approach to supporting our employees and their health through robust programming and resources that are easily accessible.

Jeff Gouveia, president, general manager, SE region, Suffolk

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Behavioral health is an important aspect of our well-being and work environment since many of our jobs can be very stressful, particularly when working with families experiencing distress in their lives. On a regular basis, our executive team tries to be aware of the high demand periods of our workload, and offer flexibility to our employees. We also believe in an “all hands-on deck” approach to our work, so when the demands are high our staff will support colleagues so too much work doesn’t unduly fall on one employee or department. Additionally, we encourage our managers to be aware of the situation and to try to provide whatever relief is possible that will serve the employee by providing additional help or some time off.

Willie Logan, founder, CEO and president, Opa-locka Community Development Corp.

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If someone is under-performing or appears to be “off their game,” asking questions is the number one rule. Do this in a private setting and begin with positive statements about them and their department. Once this has been established, then go into the questions. Give time off when they put in extra time — getting the job done is important. Things like projects and events cause us to put in extra hours. It is essential for employees’ mental health to get some “down time.” Therefore, it is part of the management process to approve this time off as close to the extra hours event at possible. Also, using tools like CrewHu (www.crewhu.com) to promote engagement and recognition with rewards make us feel better mentally because showing appreciation and receiving appreciation feels great on both sides. Both the clients and employees are able to give out badges for living our core values that are worth CrewHu bucks redeemable at the 4IT CrewHu online store.

Raymond Mobayed, owner, 4IT Inc.

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It’s important that employees feel supported and that there’s understanding for personal time needs that are reasonable. Few jobs lack stress, so mentoring/supporting employees on managing and balancing their work-home-health life creates work environments to manage firm work quality with committed team members. Creating back-up and collaboration systems also enable work continuity and partnering among employees.

Julie Neitzel, partner, WE Family Offices

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Our Human Resource department has contracted an organization that comes in on a monthly basis and provides sessions for employees that may be going through any stress or want guidance on how they can be more productive, or more efficient with time. This organization provides great mental and physical exercises too, that are truly great and motivational.

Gene Prescott, president and CEO, Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables

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There is no doubt that working in media, specially TV, can be demanding. And although there is little I can do to change that, I am focused on creating a work environment in which people not only enjoy working but experience a sense of balance. I am a firm believer that having balanced and healthy team members is critical for our success. In the broader picture, our company makes confidential counseling available as a resource for employees experiencing work/life issues that impact their quality of life.

Juan Carlos Rodriguez, president, Univision Deportes

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Our most valuable asset is our people, and so we do our best to help our employees find work-life balance. Of course, this industry is extremely demanding and so we like to ensure high-stress, long-hour situations are properly balanced with time away from the office and with their families. We’ve also found that providing team members with ample opportunity to exercise goes a long way in terms of morale and overall mental health. We actually offer employees a corporate rate to local Equinox locations and they love it.

Carlos Rosso, president, The Related Group’s Condominium division

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Cuban coffee! We have an employee that serves coffee several times a day and that helps. Every job has its demands that cause stress. We have an open-door policy where an employee can speak to their bosses and work on solutions. At the end of the day, no matter how stressful one can get, everything gets resolved. Most importantly, we take the time to listen and help when needed.

Stan Rudman, CMO and owner, Sportailor Inc.

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The nature of our jobs requires unique working hours. Therefore, we help employees achieve better balance by giving them flexibility over their hours and a lot of autonomy over their work. Additionally, we believe that family comes first and when an important need arises, we are willing to work with them to manage their responsibilities at the office so they can handle obligations at home. We try to create an environment where everyone supports one another and helps each other out, while also making sure no one takes advantage of it.

Kim Stone, general manager and EVP, AmericanAirlines Arena

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We offer paid time off, medical benefits and an Employee Assistance Program. We also encourage our employees to take time off and spend time with family and friends.

Teri Williams, president, CEO and a director, OneUnited Bank

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We encourage interaction in work and also in our office activities that center around Human Resource efforts for socialization and wellness. We are project-driven and we respect that employees have needs that require attention. Since we are project-driven, work hours can be somewhat flexible subject to completing the work by the deadline.

Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO of Zyscovich Architects

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THE MIAMI HERALD CEO ROUNDTABLE IS A WEEKLY FEATURE THAT APPEARS IN BUSINESS MONDAY OF THE MIAMI HERALD. RECENT QUESTIONS HAVE INCLUDED:

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