Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) is proud to announce that it has achieved silver-level recognition in the American Heart Association’s (AHA’s) 2021 Workplace Health Achievement Index [PDF]. AHA developed the Workplace Health Achievement Index for organizations to comprehensively assess the health of their workplace and their workforce. AHA’s Workplace Health Achievement Index allows organizations to qualify for bronze, silver, or gold-level recognition based on their total Index score.
This year was again different from most due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, PRA is known for its innovative approaches to wellness, and continued to develop new ways to support the health and wellness of its employees while largely working remotely. Through these innovations and our culture of wellness, PRA achieved its fourth consecutive silver-level recognition!
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
To ensure the psychological safety of its staff members and to foster a culture of wellness and inclusion, PRA has expanded its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) beyond the scope of its Equity and Cultural Responsivity Committee. PRA is implementing a DEI action plan, created with guidance from iOpening Enterprises, that maps out the ways in which PRA can be a more inclusive and equitable workplace for employees. Activities in this plan include developing definitions, values, and guiding principles of DEI for PRA; hosting seminars and Equity Chats for staff members to discuss different aspects of DEI; concrete actions for transforming the workplace with an equity lens, such as policies, procedures, and norms; and creating DEI-specific strategic plans within each of our program areas. PRA has also engaged iOpening Enterprises for multiple supervisor and staff-wide, intensive trainings to support a culture that enables safe and brave workplace communication.
Flexible Scheduling, Telecommuting, and Paid Time Off
PRA provides employees with the time and flexibility needed to take care of themselves and others in their lives. Staff receive a generous amount of paid time off and are supported in using it. PRA also allows employees to set regular hours that serve them best, whether that means working from 8 to 4 or 10 to 6, and to “flex” work-time from one day to another, making it easier to accommodate appointments, meet family obligations, or schedule wellness-related activities, like morning meditation, lunch with a friend, or an afternoon walk. In addition, staff have the option of working remotely, which most have done since March of 2020, giving them additional availability and time to meet needs outside of work. Finally, PRA instituted a Wellness Weekend in 2021, setting aside a paid 4-day weekend so all employees could focus on their well-being.
Enhanced COVID-19 Leave and Related Family Leave
To enhance New York’s Paid Leave for COVID-19, PRA supplemented coverage for those who needed to take a leave of absence if they or their dependent family members contract COVID-19. In 2020 we doubled the period of coverage, so if leave coverage did not fully cover an employee’s paycheck, PRA was able to make that paycheck whole, allowing staff to focus on getting well.
PRA has kept a focus on mindfulness throughout the year. We encourage all meetings to start with a “mindful minute” to ensure all employees are calm and focused for their meeting. To support this practice in meetings and beyond, PRA has created and released publicly multiple GIFs to help guide individuals through Sama Vritti Pranayama, or a “four-square breathing” exercise. In addition, all employees are encouraged to take strategic renewal during the day, a period of time when they can take a break from work, stretch, and rest.
PRA offers a Wellness Reimbursement benefit for employees, reimbursing for wellness-related purchases up to the amount of $300 annually. Wellness-related expenses can include workout equipment, fitness classes, new sneakers, and more!
Flu Shot Clinic
PRA hosted a flu shot clinic in September for its employees to have easy access to the flu vaccine and get ready for the coming flu season. The clinic uses the insurance offered by PRA’s employee benefits and helps ensure that employees who are interested can receive this year’s vaccine.
Employees from all different program areas make up this wellness committee, which is responsible for organizing wellness programs for staff, maintaining the wellness page on PRA’s Intranet, soliciting blogs on the different domains of wellness, and creating a wellness board. Programming this year included tips on practical self-care provided by the founder of SolRise Wellness and a presentation on resources available from the company employee assistance program. WellStaff also coordinated challenges to encourage staff to enjoy the outdoors, to learn about topics outside of their expertise, and to try out and share new recipes.
Policy Research works hard to foster and maintain a culture of wellness in our workforce and is proud to be awarded for the sixth year in a row. Thank you to the American Heart Association for recognizing us!