6035: Navakai nails physical health, now focused on the mind

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Jefferson Black takes a scooter around Navakai’s downtown office.

The bright, welcoming fourth-floor office space on Tejon Street stretches what seems like a city block. On one end, the word “Relax.” adorns the wall in metallic letters. The subtle reminder seems to have an effect. Those who work at Navakai, a local IT consulting company and this year’s winner of the 6035 Healthiest Companies award for businesses with 50-100 employees, seem pretty relaxed. It could be because of all the fun they are having.

“Navakai’s wellness program is as diverse and fun as our company is,” Navakai’s nomination form said.

According to CEO Davin Neubacher (see story), that atmosphere of light-heartedness grew organically.

“I believe you can’t just buy a foosball table and expect culture. And you can’t just start a wellness program and expect wellness,” he said. “It really has to come like most things in an organization — if it comes organically, then it sustains and it’s going to be here a while and people will be doing it because they want to do it, not because it’s coming from management.”

Navakai provides various health- and wellness-related activities including bike share memberships, weekly chair massages, yoga and tai chi classes, company dodgeball and softball leagues, healthy snacks, smoothie days, chess tournaments, art classes and the Navakai Running Club. There are even financial incentives, such as gift cards, for those who meet monthly fitness goals.

But Navakai leadership has realized health goes beyond muscles — it’s mental too.

“Over the past few years, we’ve realized that mental health is just as important as physical health,” the nomination form said. “So, we’ve adopted activities … plus furnished the office with hammocks, bean bags, and puzzles.”

Navakai even created a house band, Antivirus, during its 2016 holiday party. Its inception has led to unexpected health benefits of its own.

“What started as a (not-very-sober) silly idea, has evolved into something pretty special,” Neubacher said. “For our staff, it’s a great way to balance technical work and artistic creativity — writing and playing music. For our company, it’s another thing that contributes to our culture and also serves as a marketing vehicle to effectively communicate ‘who we are’ versus what we do. And for our clients, well heck, they just like saying that their IT company has a band called ‘Antivirus.’ Plus they like the free T-shirts.”

And how are the company’s leaders involved in supporting health and wellness?

“Navakai’s leadership is involved simply through active participation in each activity while supporting whatever the Wellness Committee comes up with,” the company’s nomination form said. “Honestly, the crazier the idea, the better.”

Disclosure: Navakai is a vendor for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.

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