It feels like a lifetime ago when Alex Carr, VP of Creative, and I would lace up our running shoes after a long workday and hit the streets of Boston as the self-proclaimed "Maark Milers." During the early years we would run downtown through Faneuil Hall, Government Center, the North End, and then back to the Financial District. When we moved our office to Cambridge, we would hit the Charles. We would run any number of routes that Alex had mapped out for us, and we’d run no matter which New England season we were in – cold, colder, coldest, or freakin’ freezing.
Eventually the Maark Milers morphed into a small running group of Maark packmates, some who had never run a mile before and some who had run marathons. We trained together for months, cheered each on, offered support, and were excited to complete a corporate 5k together in the city of Boston that year.
We want to take care of the pack however we can.
From those early years at Maark, the importance of “healthy body, healthy mind” was born. As a company, we’ve always worked to cultivate a culture that values it. For instance, Maark has always paid 100% of the premiums for health and dental insurance. As premiums continued to grow annually, we were often asked if this would be the year we would pass on a percentage of the premiums to our employees, like almost every other company out there. We haven't. We want to take care of the pack however we can.
Balance and wellness were one of the driving factors in developing the hybrid work model that Maark pioneered back in 2014, long before the pandemic forced the rest of the business world to think about its employees in a new way. It’s always been our strong belief that balance is key to happiness, and happiness is key to contributing to positive client and team relationships. And if spending less time in Boston gridlock helps to achieve that goal, we support it.
Then 2020 brought about a new “office landscape” for all of us, and during the pandemic we brought in health and wellness coach Marissa Szabo from Well & Simple Health to hold quarterly virtual seminars on wellness. We were all “feeling it.” Isolation. Stress. Fear. Burnout. Marissa met us where we were. She helped us connect on some of the challenges we were all facing, which also resulted in healthy discussions among the team. Some of the topics Marissa covered were stress, burnout, and healthy eating. Marissa even held a virtual yoga and meditation session. And now that we are all back to the office on our Tuesday/Thursday hybrid schedule, we still have Marissa in for in-person sessions on health and wellness.
One important topic that Marissa covered for us was burnout – recognizing it, working through it, and developing tools to combat it. Some of the key take-aways from that session were:
Stress and burnout are both mental and physical conditions.
Burnout happens when you get stuck between your stress response and stress resolution.
You must actively do things to complete your stress cycle every day, including self-care.
Think of stress management as a proactive strategy rather than reactive.
Boundaries are key.
Burnout is not an individual issue, it's systemic; don't be afraid to ask for support.
What started out as a group of packmates running together through the streets of Boston has graduated into a corporate philosophy of mental and physical well-being. At Maark, we not only value mind and body wellness, but we also make it a priority, and we consistently strive to enhance our benefits and do more.