Optus Cares for Employees Like Family

Optus Cares for Employees Like Family

Technology solutions firm Optus Inc. of Jonesboro, for the second consecutive year, has been recognized among the Best Places to Work.

The firm, which works for companies that have more than 50 locations, has been concentrating on a new wellness program for its 104 employees.

“We decided that it’s a better place to work, it’s a better place to be, when you just feel better, and that wellness is more than just your physical health. It’s your well-being, too,” said Shanna French, vice president of human resources.

She also called the firm “very family-oriented” and said Optus could be flexible for its employees because it is smaller and has just one owner.

French added that the company is thinking of holding a family-reunion style celebration on its 25th anniversary in October, with current and former employees taking part in the festivities.

As part of the wellness program, Optus formed a softball team that won in its division, held weight loss and healthy food challenges and provided financial planning help and coping strategies to workers dealing with situations at home, from being the caregivers of aging parents to raising teenagers.

Employees can earn points through the program and use them to receive an annual health care insurance premium reduction of up to $600, French said. “Who doesn’t need $600 a year? I could buy a lot of shoes with that,” she said.

Optus also has a “simple thank you” rewards program that encourages employees to appreciate one another. Those who earn enough “simple thank yous” can use them to buy cool stuff from the company store, like hats, T-shirts and coolers. “People love that,” French said.

Neat Things We Do
• Take lunch to cancer patients.
• Sew afghans for cancer patients and parents who have lost their babies.
• Have a committee that raises awareness of ovarian cancer.
• Have a committee that convinces kids to stay in school, stresses the importance of math and science and shows them there are plenty of cool jobs in northeast Arkansas.
• Polls employees to find out what unique activities they enjoy in their spare time — one plays the ukulele, another makes miniature models.

The dress code, too, is another perk because the firm’s policy is simply “be a grownup” and “be comfortable so you can be creative,” she said.

French added that, while every person does several different jobs, working on difficult tasks together makes employees gel as a team.

“This is not the place to be if you like privacy because there’s not a lot of privacy here. We know everything about everybody. … If you don’t feel well, you will have chicken soup. Someone will be there to help take care of you.” — Shanna French, vice president of human resources