Wellness in the Workplace

Lauren Krasny wants you to be healthy and happy. And stay that way. Here’s her plan. Krasny wasn’t always in the business of health. Inspired to change careers in 2014 when she was laid off from a startup, Krasny went back to school at Coaches Training Institute (in Marin County). She had always gravitated toward psychology, emotional health, mindfulness and stress reduction strategies. But her biggest shift came a year later, when Krasny cared for one of her best friends during her battle with cancer. After holding her friend’s hand through months of chemotherapy (which, sadly and ultimately, did not work), Krasny’s determination to find more meaning and purpose in her career was ignited. Now, if you hear the name Krasny in the Bay Area, your mind may jump to Michael Krasny, the 25-year veteran radio host with such an esteemed resume that former SF mayor Ed Lee gave him an official day! Soon, however, the name will make you think of Lauren Krasny, Michael’s daughter and one of the leaders in a movement we should all hope to see more of: mental and physical wellness in the workplace.

Since getting certified with Coaches Training Institute (CTI), Krasny has leapt into various roles in the wellness space in California. She is a Coach/Course Facilitator at Stanford’s LEAD Program (Learn Engage Accelerate Disrupt), an international program at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. In her role, she gets paid to learn, weighing in on submissions and assignments to help people get more out of their time there. The courses she is helping facilitate now are: Innovation Playbook (Storytelling), Getting More of What You Want (Negotiations) and Leading Effective Teams. All are applicable and relevant for both personal and professional life success. “We should all have a Lauren in our lives,” one of her students tells us. “[I] wouldn’t have progressed in this course without her guidance.”

Krasny is also a consultant and coach at Modern Health, whose main funder is Y Combinator, a well-known startup seed accelerator based in Mountain View. It caters to employees who suffer from anxiety or depression that may be situational or circumstantial and can be mitigated by a professional therapist, coach or lawyer. So many companies have employees who feel stuck and have a hard time breaking out of their own routines, and Modern Health recruits people like Krasny to offer helpful resources and resolve these issues within the infrastructure of the workplace.

Lastly, Krasny is a digital health coach at Omada Health for diabetes, heart disease, obesity-related illnesses and other controllable diseaserisk prevention. She coaches approximately 500 people on nutrition, exercise, mindfulness, emotional triggers, social cues, and more. The first curriculum is 16 weeks long, called Foundations, and is developed by doctors and scientists. The second section is a full eight months of upkeep, called Focus. Omada’s backers, Norwest (Palo Alto) and Andreessen (Menlo Park), make us proud to be on the Peninsula! Through her work with Omada, Krasny provides a support system for her clients. She helps people take inventory of their actions and reactions, which is a common goal across many variations of coaching. Lauren asks, “How are your choices directly impacting the outcomes you get?” She encourages clients to harness their power and control over what roles they play in life and in work.

Happily, there is a real movement happening when it comes to company culture that counts employee wellness as a priority. Richard Branson recently spoke at The Castro Theatre in San Francisco about this very topic. As the head of the Virgin Group—which has created more than 300 companies—Branson has had to develop some real goals about the management of his employees. His policies show that face time is unimportant compared to overall employee contentment; the idea being that if employees are less consumed by the stress of commutes, face time, micromanagement, and other problems, it will increase their loyalty to the company, which then increases their productivity. He told the audience at The Castro that he felt that U.S.companies were really behind Europe in finding a healthy work/life balance.

Krasny thinks that we will “continue to see companies assign more and more value to the mindset, well-being, integrity and authenticity of their employees, rather than just optimizing for their productivity levels.” She truly believes that all of the mindfulness tactics she uses in her various positions can elevate and improve lives by eliminating the unnecessary and focusing on what’s most important and needs to be prioritized. Moreover, Krasny understands people. One client tells us that she helped him untangle what felt like a rat’s nest of afflictions in his life that were psychological and physiological. “This really fine-tuned my approach for the future,” he says. Especially in our area of startups and technology, there are so many job opportunities out there. As such, in order to retain good people, you have to make the benefits more compelling and offering workshops and resources that champion happiness is one of those benefits. After all, we all want to be happy!

rapid fire

  • BEACH OR MOUNTAINS? Beach
  • SALTY OR SWEET? Salty
  • MAKI OR NIGIRI? Maki (If I’m having rice, I’ll make it fun.)
  • WORKING OUT WITH PEOPLE OR ALONE? Workout classes! I work out at RippedBody Fitness with JT and Jake Peterson.
  • STILL OR SPARKLING? Sparkling
  • FAVORITE HANGOUT AT STANFORD? Coupa at GSB
  • GIANTS OR A’S? Giants
  • FAVORITE PLAYER? Buster Posey
  • FAVORITE PENINSULA HIKE? Half Moon Bay Coastside Trail
  • FAVORITE BUMPER STICKER? Critical thinking: our other national deficit