Wellness @ MATT
MATT Construction's take on developing a culture of wellness and work/life balance
A Culture Of Wellness and Work/Life Balance
“There is a vast psychological advantage to working for a company that supports activities outside of work,” shares Kevin Williams, who (alongside his busy slate at MATT) happens to be a worldwide triathlete racer for TriStar Athletes.
From Ironman to Turkey Trots, the wellness culture at MATT has thrived for over 7 years. Whatever their background or fitness level, MATT employees flock to the organized group activities at the office.
“The wellness program is ingrained in the company culture,” says Kris Barr, who has been enjoying wellness events like the Tough Mudder and the Malibu Triathlon since he joined. But wellness at MATT isn’t just a good company policy; it’s a commitment to a way of life. To a philosophy of enabling employees to achieve a healthy balance of work and activity.
“I am a firm believer of healthy work/life balance,” Kevin shares, and “MATT encourages this balance for the well-being of its employees.”
How does MATT do this? By sponsoring employees in their endeavors, sometimes by covering travel, hotel accommodations, and/or race entry fees. Through monthly emails, MATT also keeps employees informed about all the potential free adventures afoot. Each employee gets an additional $250 credit from the company to spend on activities not offered directly by MATT, and if they can find enough people to join, MATT will sponsor the activity.
Lia Gardley, a former collegiate athlete who ran track for Cal Poly, feels that this kind of support “shows how committed the company is to taking good care of us as employees. They want us to enjoy life and have fun doing things; it’s not all about work.”
Activities For Every Fitness Level
Donna Stacer had never run a 5K before she started working at MATT. In fact, she didn’t even consider herself a runner. But since she started participating in the monthly wellness events, she’s gone hiking, played volleyball, and run races with her fellow MATT employees. “Doing something you hadn’t been able to do before” can instill a real sense of pride, she shares. In a recent 5K race, she placed 2nd in her age group — not bad for someone who wasn’t a runner!
There’s a lot of flexibility built into the fitness offerings to encourage anyone who’s interested to join at their fitness and comfort level. The annual ski trip to Mammoth is a crowd favorite and draws anywhere from 40 to 60 people, many of whom have never skied before. Kevin appreciates how “MATT does a great job of offering modification to the activities to attract employees…if we plan a 100-mile bike trip, we would offer the option of riding to any train station along the way, and MATT would cover the train ticket back to the starting point.”
During his recruiting at Cal Poly SLO, Kevin found out about MATT’s strong wellness culture “through awesome pictures of river rafting, bike rides, 5K races, and paddle boarding.” Since fitness is a huge part of his life, he was “immediately drawn to MATT’s supportive interest in their employees’ health and well-being.” Alongside other MATT coworkers, he has gone snowboarding, river rafting, 5K race running, played volleyball, competed in the LA Marathon, done an Olympic triathlon, and taken a 2-day bike trip from LA to Santa Barbara. This year, MATT is sponsoring his journey as an Ironman in two 70.3 races.
Lia Gardley, who has “literally been participating in wellness events since the first month” she started at MATT, loves “any endurance, running, or obstacle” type of challenge event and has done “tough mudders, marathons, half marathons, turkey trots, triathlons” and more with MATT colleagues, and she has loved them all. She also enjoys rock climbing, paddle boarding and white water rafting.
The Wellness Committee
MATT’s Wellness Committee consists of like-minded folk who want to be active. As Donna puts it, everyone “gets together and throws out ideas,” and voila, next month, they’re at a roller skating rink. Kris Barr feels that “MATT does a great job of notifying everyone of our program and events for the month. They are also open to additional ideas by others…they make it very clear that if you can get a group interested, they would consider your ideas.”
Wellness events also offer the chance to interact with people from all levels of the business. For those who are frequently at construction sites, it’s a great way to reconnect with the office crowd. The added teamwork and camaraderie of joining together in major athletic events is another huge draw for people.
At the office, a trainer comes in 5 days a week and holds 2 sessions Monday through Thursday in a dedicated room at the warehouse. If you want to carve 30 minutes out of your lunch break for a quick metabolic or cardio boost (because the trainer likes to change things up), you’re in luck. As Donna says, “sitting all day isn’t good for anybody.” MATT makes it easy for employees to get up and move.
But it’s not just about working out; every day, fresh fruit and vegetables make their way to office common spaces for healthy snacking options. MATT also encourages other ways to be mindful about wellness. The annual Food Maintenance Challenge that happens around holiday time starts in November with a weigh-in. If you maintain or lose your weight, you get your money back, plus MATT matches the amount you put in.
Through this and similar programs, MATT is “constantly offering incentives to motivate you to be healthy,” Donna explains.
The Wellness Community
“Construction is a high-paced, long-hours environment,” Kevin reflects. “Wellness activities allow employees to socialize outside of work in a low-stress setting. These activities help build a strong sense of community within the company.”
Kris feels that “It’s great to have the wellness benefit, but what I really like is how it brings us together as a company. In the construction industry, it is tough to develop a large group culture because each project goes for 2-3 years and involves different team members, but the wellness events allow the entire company to get together and catch up with old project members and also meet new employees outside of work.”
MATT’s employees are pretty serious about repping their company, and Kevin loves the fact that “MATT racing apparel is available to all MATT cycling and racing employees FREE OF CHARGE!” Kevin got to help design the 2018 team cycling and triathlon apparel for the 2018 races — another rewarding way of being involved.
So whether you’re going for your 6th ultra-marathon race or just need a little yoga and gentle stretching to break up a busy work day, MATT offers a richly diverse range of ways to enjoy fitness and make healthy choices. It’s all about balance. Being part of a community that shares and embraces this philosophy makes working every day at MATT its own adventure.