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April 23, 2023

Amy Ouzoonian - Wellness In The Workplace

Amy Ouzoonian - Wellness In The Workplace

Are you a female entrepreneur who sometimes forgets that a business runs better when everyone takes care of themselves first? Or, are you ready to scale your business and would love to have ideas on creating an environment where overall wellness is part of the company culture?
On this episode of the Wellness and Wealth podcast, Amy Ouzoonian addresses practical wellness ideas you can implement growing your company from one to many. She also shares how the old idea of working hard play hard can lead to burnout and higher turnover.
In this episode, Amy Ouzoonian answers the following questions:
What does it mean to have a culture of wellness in the workplace?
How did you develop this passion for bringing a wellness culture into the workplace?
When it comes to female entrepreneurship, what are the signs that they forget wellness as they grow their business?
What is the first step to start changing a company culture?

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Are you a female entrepreneur who sometimes forgets that a business runs better when everyone takes care of themselves first? Or, are you ready to scale your business and would love to have ideas on creating an environment where overall wellness is part of the company culture? 

On this episode of the Wellness and Wealth podcast, Amy Ouzoonian of Mood Connect addresses practical wellness ideas you can implement growing your company from one to many. She also shares how the old idea of working hard play hard can lead to burnout and higher turnover. 

In this episode, Amy Ouzoonian answers the following questions:

  • What does it mean to have a culture of wellness in the workplace?
  • How did you develop this passion for bringing a wellness culture into the workplace?
  • When it comes to female entrepreneurship, what are the signs that they forget wellness as they grow their business?
  • What is the first step to start changing a company culture? 

Offer: 2 free weeks to use our text and audio analyzer and start to see how your employees are feeling faster.

Offer Link:https://moodconnectapp.com


Connect with Wendy Manganaro:

Connect with Wendy Manganaro:  


S3:E8 - Amy Ouzoonian

[00:00:00] Wendy Manganaro:Hi everyone. My name's Wendy Manganaro and I am the Host of the Wellness and Wealth podcast. I'm so happy to have you find us. And if you could take a moment and hit that subscribe button, I'd really appreciate it. This is the podcast where we believe when you show up better for yourself as a woman business owner, you show up better for your business. 

So sit back, relax. And learn from the practical to the woo-hoo, how to best take care of you. Have a great day. Stay blessed. And leave a review when you're done listening to the show, thanks so much. 

[00:00:38] Wendy:Hi everyone. Today our topic is creating a culture of wellness in the workplace. Our guest is Amy Ouzoonian. I'm gonna read her bio and then we're gonna get right into the show. Amy is the c e o and co-founder of Mood Connect, a wellness platform and consultant for improving wellness, culture and employee retention.

She's a mental health and wellness advocate who has helped businesses, both small and Fortune 500 to grow and scale. She is a

okay, Jivamukti yoga certified r y t and meditation teacher, 20 years marketing experience, and 10 years of experience in wellness program planning. Welcome to the show, Amy. 

[00:01:23] Amy Ouzoonian:Thanks so much for having me on your show. Wendy. It's great to be.

[00:01:28] Wendy:Thank you. And I'm excited about this topic because after you and I had our first talk that I do with all my guests, before the show, I talked with somebody else who was a yoga instructor. You'll appreciate this story. And she was telling me how she was asked to go into senior centers now that the pandemic is over and teach yoga, which is fabulous.

So she mentioned to the staff, Wouldn't it be nice if I could come in and teach you guys once in a while too, and the staff director said to her, oh, we have a wellness week that we have. And that's like it, that's the whole thing. That, and so it's not in the wellness week, so she's not allowed to bring yoga to the staff.

 I was like, oh, I'll have to tell Amy this story as you're all about wellness in the workplace. That was astounding to me after the pandemic in an area where you would think, especially a senior center. Wellness should really be on top of mind for burnt out staff who are doing quiet, quitting and all of this other stuff

because they are exhausted. 

[00:02:30] Amy Ouzoonian:it really has to be stuff like that consistent throughout the year. At least like once a week, To have one wellness week throughout the entire year that's doesn't make sense. that's basically, a company saying, we checked this box.

We filled the idea that on paper we are offering health and wellness to our employees. But, we've seen that there is such a positive effect when you do offer health and wellness to employees and managers consistently over a period of time.

 We spend so much of our lives working, whether we're doing our solo entrepreneur work or we're working for a company or small business, or even if it's volunteering. All of us, we have our personal lives, and then we have the work that we do to better the world ourselves and our communities.

Whether we're doing it with the incentive of money or to, make an impact in the world, or both we need more than just someone saying, thank you on occasion. Which doesn't happen very often, and a paycheck. It's like, okay, so I'm getting money to do this work.

but where is the care that is returned for all of the hard work that I'm doing and so what I saw myself, because I'm a yoga teacher. When I worked in these companies, just like your friend, I would see that employees would be, struggling through the workday.

Maybe some, personal life kind of thing is impacted them in their work and the feeling that they're not valued, they're not cared for. It's kind of like, well, what's the point? Why am I here? Why am I spending 40 hours plus a week, putting so much of my time and my life and my energy into growing and building a business.

Because, the thing is that without employees, Bringing value to a company, then there are no customers. I mean, Customers, they keep coming back to products and services, not just because of the product and service, it's because of the experience that they have with employees.

And one of the things that Mood Connect has done is we have something called Wellness Wednesdays. And, at specific kind of companies will bring in this kind of care to employees and managers. And we've seen really great results. Employees are feeling like, oh yeah, you know what?

I'm looking forward to wellness Wednesday. It's no longer hump day, it's no longer, oh, you know, I got to be here and I don't really wanna be here. I'm sending out my resume to someplace else because I feel I'm not appreciated in this space. The feeling is more oh, you know what?

I want to come in because I'm, I know I'm going to receive some kind of, appreciation and I'm going to Care for myself. And there's something to look forward to on that Wednesday. And we're starting to have more and more programs that are focused on showing appreciation and care for employees and managers, because we all know that this quiet, quitting, kind of thing exists and the best way to shift to that is to, offer even a little bit of appreciation and care for employees for all of the hard work that they're doing. So I know that's a long answer.

[00:06:28] Wendy:No, I appreciate that. And I heard that story and you were the first person I was thinking, I was like, oh, I've gotta tell her this.

Cuz that's seems a little insane in an area where they're caring for other people, And when we think about the pandemic, there were so many people who weren't allowed to work, they weren't ar you know, cuz they weren't in those fields.

But then you had these other industries that they never got that pause. They were still going out every single day and working and senior care centers. Anything in the medical industry, our first line workers. Of grocery stores, stuff like that.

And that's why it hit me. I was like a senior center should be more on top of wellness because those are also the industries getting hit the hardest with quiet quitting and with, not being able to get employee.

Hired because they're burnt out. They're exhausted.

[00:07:18] Amy Ouzoonian:And also they're taking care of a very, something that's of great value to families, which is elderly. People take a huge amount of care in the idea of where am I going to my mother or father, aunt and uncle go to live in their final days to have their retirement, to be comfortable and healthy and have a productive, healthy life. And employees in those spaces, if they are burned out and run down through no fault of their own, they might, be neglectful in some kind of way.

And so you don't want that. You think about it in the same kind of case with our children. You wouldn't want to put your child in care of someone who is not feeling mentally and physically well themselves, because they're caring for our children.

And so the same thing with our elders. 

[00:08:16] Wendy:And that's exactly right. We kind of jumped right into the conversation, but I am curious for you, in a perfect scenario, what does it mean to have a culture of wellness especially for female entrepreneurs who are bringing on teams so, what does that look like?

A culture of wellness? 

[00:08:35] Amy Ouzoonian:I believe that having a culture of wellness is changing the way that you communicate and really paying attention to how you're communicating with your team, and with your peers, and seeing. If you are communicating with high level of anger or fear or, if how you're communicating is, 

carrying the right message forward. If in your team mission you're saying we want to cultivate a sense of, teamwork and community, then really taking a look at your communication first. And is that really what you're communicating day to day, and how we are able to help our clients to.

Look at how they're communicating and how their teams are communicating with each other is through our platform, which will show you how, the emotional content of conversations. So that's a starting point. You're able to see, How your team is communicating with each other. If there's high levels of anger, there's high levels of fear or sadness, in that kind of communication.

Ultimately, also, if there's high levels of surprise or happiness, and if there's moderation. If there's, a balance between all of these emotions, then that's what you're looking for. if there's spiking higher levels, then you can seek to understand a little bit more of, Are there actually issues with the communication in the workspace?

So it's starting off at that place there. Then the next level is taking the time and care to, seek answers to some of the questions that you might have for your employees. If they are having any kind of issues within the workspace, within their teams ask is he's sending anonymous surveys that are truly anonymous to your team?

So that, you're taking a moment to inquire about how you can make things better for them. Like if they're really happy with their work and with their compensation, with the benefits that they're receiving, or if they feel they would appreciate something.

A little bit more or different and taking that into consideration and sometimes it isn't a huge expense to offer some different benefit or an extra benefit to your employees. you really also have to look at it as not an expense, but an investment because employees are, something that you want to invest in.

That will bring more returns to your company. And then after you get that kind of feedback to take into consideration is this something that is going to bring more value to my company? And most of the time the answer is yeah, because employees, they're not going to ask for pizza parties and happy hours.

A lot of them do want reimbursement for a gym or having free, access to mental health or, counseling or therapy, or even reimbursement for something like transportation, gas prices going up. It can mean something to even offer that, even on a small level, like saying one day a week you are going to help your company with reimbursement for transportation, in the long run

that can really help to curb your employees from wanting to maybe explore alternative work experiences, like working remotely, if you're working in person, I'm just throwing out examples. But, paying attention to how you're communicating and listening and showing that you care

 And not just looking at the bottom line with your company, looking at the fuller picture, and adopting a new model of health and wellness. One that, follows more logic. Like if we put nourishing food and take care of ourselves, put that food into our bodies then that's going to yield better results than the immediate ratification that a lot of, companies will look to being like, oh, we work hard, we play hard.

That kind of idea, that concept is very old. And it doesn't work anymore. It never really worked at all. So yeah, that's my answer about adopting a culture of health and wellness in a company. 

[00:13:15] Wendy:It's so interesting because as you were talking, you mentioned it earlier and it brought me back that old ideology that you had to keep your work and your personal life separate. Like when you used to go in your office and it was like, yeah, this is work time and it was almost like you were being split into two.

Like nothing that happened before you walked in the office at 8:00 AM or 9:00 AM happened and you were supposed to suddenly change everything and just be in work mode. And I don't know if that works. I don't know if that ever really worked, but this idea has really changed from, because that's the culture where, depending on your age group, that's where we've come from, is that you were had to have, like especially for women, Which all of a sudden we were not allowed to be moms.

If you had a baby, you weren't supposed to take family care. You didn't get to go ahead in your career because you chose to have children. I mean, we come from some old ideologies. Not all of them are still there. Some of them in some places are.

But when we talk about wellness, I think what you're saying is that we're not separated people when we walk into the workplace anymore. 

[00:14:18] Amy Ouzoonian:Yeah. Oh yeah. Particularly in the beginning of the pandemic, when people were working from home, there was like very little separation of work-life balance.

It's like you're home, you're working. So for many people who are very work centric, the idea of clocking in and clocking out, the lines got very blurred and that has carried forward, to today, even with people returning back to the workplace and having work phones, a very funny, little, I don't know, something I think I saw on LinkedIn or something where someone said, that their boss

wanted to talk with them because they turned off their phone after five o'clock, the work phone after five o'clock and that they wouldn't answer text messages or return calls until the next morning at 8:00 AM and the person said, yeah, because I'm not working right now.

And the boss is this is why you have a work phone so that you're gonna be answering my text messages outside of working hours . And, I understand that coming from a perspective of being a C E O or a boss.

Sometimes there are emergencies and you're like, oh, customer just contacted me and something's not working. And this was like an early days of Mood Connect when we first launched. Something's not working and customers contacted me and, and we need to get this thing fixed.

Now, the first time when I had that kind of experience and I contacted one of our developers, what I realized was, we never clarified what are your working hours and when you're not working at that time because it was like, we never had that kind of situation where there was an emergency and I'm contacting him outside of our working hours, and so what I had to put myself back into that position of being an employee and just realizing and seeing that. That when I was in that position, I wouldn't want to have my personal time get disturbed and have to drop everything to address a problem at work. That didn't feel great, and so on the alternate side of things, why would I do that to one of my employees? And so I had to catch myself and realize oh, okay, you know what?

It's really important for us to also have that kind of care though, I will check in on the people that I work with and when they tell me like, oh, this thing's happening in my life and this thing's happening, I care about it and I will take that into consideration.

I had somebody who I worked with who had a death in their family and what I did was I said, do you have somebody who you can talk with? Would you like somebody you know to talk with who's in the mental health field? These are some of the things that I can offer you that are part wellness, partners of Mood Connect, and let me know if you'd like access to any of these things because I'm very happy to offer that to you.

And then, Started to ask that of all of the people that worked with Mood Connect and just offering what they were seeking. Because it is a learning process for any manager, business owner, c e o, we have these ideas of a problem we wanna solve.

The business plan of how we're gonna get there, but we don't really look at is, how to take care of the people who are going to help us to get there and to be consistent with that along the way to keep being consistent with that, because, in the beginning it might be very easy because you're just dealing with a small group of people.

But then as you're growing and scaling, that becomes even more challenging, because then you're focusing on revenue. You're focusing on product and scaling and growth and customers, and then it can get very easy to forget about, the people who have been continuing to help you to get to these higher growth stages.

And it's not just you and your product. And I have to remember that every day. Business owners have to remember that every day that their team, the employees that they hired, that they chose to work, in building and growing, their solution to the problems. These human beings, these employees, they need to have that kind of care as well.

So, yeah, work-life balance and also having humanity entered into the workplace. It's like, yeah what happened to you before 8:00 AM it could still affect you. Let's say you driving into work and you get into a car accident. When you get into work, you're not going to turn off the fact that you were in a car accident.

 It's a human experience. And so there should be something available to employees that when they have crisis, when they're at work or before they come into work, or in their lives, that they're able to, in a healthy way address these kinds of crises because having to turn it off, disassociate

that's not healthy at all. That actually is the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder is forcing disassociation. And so we are asking employees to disassociate from their human experiences. Then we're encouraging unhealthy practices, in human beings, and that's not going to yield very good results moving forward.

[00:20:15] Wendy:I couldn't agree more. I'm curious as we were talking about this and moving into solutions. So for female entrepreneurs who are like growing their business, they're starting to either get teams, whether they're contractors, cuz even with contractors, you'd hope to have some sort of good rapport with them.

What are the signs that they're realizing that they're getting too much into the business and forgetting about the wellness, because I know that every business goes through like these growth spurts and it's all hands on deck.

 But what are the signs where you're like, oh, this is probably not good. I'm not paying attention to what's going on in the company.

[00:20:49] Amy Ouzoonian:You know what I start with myself, am I paying attention to my own health needs for myself? And then I also, will check in with my team, because some of the people who I work with, they will say, they're available anytime. And I say, no, no, you know what? We need to have a set schedule, like this is when we're going to meet and this is when you are having other things in your life that you need to take care of and address.

Because I know startup culture, which is where we still are, very much in the startup kind of. Ecosystem. It can feel like this is your life and you're always doing this all the time, 24 7. But, we do need to have our other aspects of ourselves that we're paying attention to and that we're taken care of our families and our social life and our own personal health and wellness.

And you know what I try to do a few things to stay grounded on a regular basis. And those things are, I wake up morning and I meditate. I do some writing and I do some reading, every morning. And I will even try to do some yoga, and this is just for myself, personally.

And I will say this, I try to do this every morning. But I'm not always successful in it. Sometimes I will hit the snooze button on that alarm and full knowing like I'm rolling over and going back to sleep, and then when I do wake up, I probably won't have time to do this like morning ritual kind of thing.

But I know that. That I can't always do that hitting the snooze button, I think that it's important for us to give ourselves grace, but to also be honest and truthful with ourselves. So I know what works for me and I know what doesn't work and if I say okay, you know what, yeah, I did that today.

I'm gonna need to do these things, the meditation, the reading and the writing and yoga at some point today, and I might not even get to it in that day. But I'm going to reset myself and go back to what works for me. Then the other thing is making sure that I drink enough water. I love to drink coffee.

I mean, I love it first thing I wake up in the morning, I'm like, I'm gonna have some coffee, I'm gonna have some meditation and whatever. But, I'm still like one of those kind people. But I also have to drink enough water and eat healthy food.

And I know the difference when I'm feeling really great and I'm having all the things that I know, putting all the good stuff into my body that is gonna make me feel better. And I know that if I am burning the candle from both ends and not getting enough sleep, it's not going to go very well for me.

 So, yeah I start with myself because I know that when I'm feeling good, then I'm able to pay attention to how I'm communicating with people in my team. I'm able to pay attention to how I'm communicating with Colleagues, customers, with anyone, with my friends, with my family, my daughter,

 And I believe that in any business, it starts with the person who is the key person, who started at all. How are you treating yourself today? Are you giving yourself proper self-care? Because a lot of CEOs and business owners, especially in the beginning, they have this idea that they have to be machines that just keep going and working and doing and never taking breaks.

But then what happens is moving forward, It might be a very successful company, but something's gotta give. And if you start early with having these practices of self-care and wellness and continuously being consistent with that, then Down the road, it gets easier to be consistent with it.

 So the signs I'll say is for myself, when I start forgetting things, when I start getting more stressed out and not being as kind in my communication either with, people that I'm working with customers or with people in my life.

 It's an indicator to me and oh, you know what nothing on the exterior has changed. . It's. What I'm doing myself, the actions I'm taking, the decisions I'm making for myself that have changed, right? So if I don't start my day being grounded, then I can forget things.

I might show up late for something. I might get very defensive and communicate in a way that's not mindful. And yeah, quick communication usually happens for me when I'm not grounded. And then I can make assumptions that are incorrect. I can misinterpret something and I think that we all do this, but it happens more often when we're not feeling well.

 I strongly believe that there are no bad people in this world. I think that there are people who are not taking very good care of themselves and then therefore are unable to make very healthy decisions moving forward. And it starts with ourselves.

And the decisions and the actions that we take for ourselves, and then that will lead to, having a ripple effect with how we're affecting things outside of ourselves. 

[00:27:01] Wendy:Yeah, I agree and I cannot believe it we have chatted for half an hour. How did that happen? This has been fantastic.

Thank You for coming on the show today. I know that you have an offer with Mood Connect your app, so I'm gonna let you share about that now and how they can get into contact with you.

[00:27:18] Amy Ouzoonian:Yeah. Yeah. So, our website is mood connect.com. We have a separate app platform that uses sentiment analysis. It works great with, slack, Microsoft Teams, and Discord. and, the offer for that is Two weeks free. You'd use a discount code that is sent to you after you sign up. So you go to mood connect app.com, sign up, you'll get the discount code and access to two free weeks to use the, text analyzer and also audio analyzer where you can upload MP3s of

your podcast, zoom meetings, your one-on-ones team meetings, and you can see the full spectrum of sentiment, of the emotions, in those, conversations that you upload. You also will get a transcript of those conversations that you can use to analyze yourself.

You can also show it to your team to analyze. And you'll also get access to wellness resources through our partners like Better Health Headspace, Cal Mary, and also access to wellness resources that are through Mood Connect and our wellness practitioner. As well as anonymous surveys if you want to use those as well.

So there's lots that we're doing. We're also offering in-person wellness events to specific cities. We're doing a special program where you can nominate an employee or manager that you appreciate or love to get a free spa day or to get access to a free month of online talk therapy.

And many other kinds of self-care gifts, that we're offering to a person who's nominated. So you can nominate yourself, you can nominate your friend, you can nominate, a coworker that you care about, and then we are going to gather those nominations. And then in the second week of every month, we're going to pick someone.

For a specific prize. So for online talk therapy, we're gonna be, selecting five people to get one month free, which is worth $300, of online talk therapy. And we're gonna be offering to five people free spa days that is sponsored by our corporate sponsor. 

[00:29:42] Wendy:That is awesome. I suddenly wanna find that senior center and send that to them. I think that's fantastic. So thank you so much for your time today, Amy. It's been a pleasure.

 To my guests, thank you for listening. Remember that self-care is not selfish. It is not selfish. Till we speak again, have a blessed week and talk to you at the next show. Thank you.