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Boosting Happiness with the Well-Being Group at EPAM Bulgaria (Pt 2)

Boosting Happiness with the Well-Being Group at EPAM Bulgaria (Pt 2)

Do you know the secret to success? At EPAM Bulgaria we believe the secret to success is hidden in the balance. In balancing work and personal life—in spending time on both work tasks and fun activities that we can then remember with a smile. Reaching this balance requires creativity, enthusiasm and dedication, all words that describe our ‘OneTeam’ initiative and its groups. 

Our OneTeam article series continues, and today we meet two more members of our Well-Being Group: Stanislava Yaneva, Software Engineer, and Valery Buchinski, Lead Software Engineer. They developed sports programs at EPAM, a key driver of all initiatives in the company, supporting our physical and mental well-being. The Well-Being Group, part of EPAM’s OneTeam initiative, is the driving force behind activities that promote the physical and mental health of colleagues, while also fostering a sense of camaraderie and enjoyment. 

Stanislava Yaneva, Software Engineer 

How did you decide to create the EPAM Volleyball team?  

For me, volleyball has always been a passion, as well as part of my whole family, I have practiced it since I was a child, and although I do not do this as a profession, it has always been my hobby and an integral part of my daily life. When I joined EPAM, one of the first things I learned about was the OneTeam initiative and how diverse activities and events were organized. 

I immediately thought that I wanted to be part of this team and that the formation of a volleyball team would appeal to our colleagues. I consulted a few leaders from EPAM’s OneTeam initiative, researched what the options were, gathered information, and launched the idea. 

We also conducted a survey to determine the best times to meet and skill level, to attract the most participation. So, for over a full year now, we gather every week, almost without a pass, for over two hours of play. 

Are there certain qualities that you have developed thanks to sports, and do you transfer them to your work activities? 

Definitely. Sport has helped me develop many qualities, one of the most distinctive qualities is the responsibility and dedication to what you are engaged in. 

When you play team sports, you have a responsibility to the rest of the team. Volleyball is the same. In it, your teammates rely on you, and you rely on them. Frivolity is not tolerated. Each player needs to be consistent and put in effort to move forward. I dare say that I have transferred this ‘team spirit’ to my professional role. The same goes for my work team—it is important to help each other and work together to achieve our goals. 

In addition, sports have taught me to master time management. I have many tasks every day, and don’t allocate my time well, I risk not being able to complete them on time. 

Finally, a very important thing that sports teach us is to strive for higher success, always give our best effort and never give up. Sports motivate us to develop persistence that helps us cope with difficulties. This skill is instrumental to our professional and personal well-being.  

Recently you organized a friendly Volleyball game with a celebrity team; how did this happen and will you plan more games in the future? 

Yes, about a month ago, we had a friendly volleyball game with Niki Kanchev's team. For those who do not know, Niki, a famous Bulgarian television presenter, is also a fan of volleyball and has trained for many years. When I played volleyball at my university, our training practice was just after theirs, and we often met in the hall.   

We had a disputed game and I think that was the first time I saw the EPAM volleyball players perform at such a high level. We had fun together, which is the most important thing. 

We have discussed organizing more similar events in the future. In addition, we expect to play beach volleyball from the sea. There is a summer office by the sea, as well as a summer camp, where we will run freely on the sand, as we did last year. 

I am glad that there is such a great interest in this initiative and that colleagues are extremely regular and permanent.  

Valeri Buchinski, Lead Software Engineer 

Tell us more about the EPAM running team.  

For me, the running team started in 2018 or 2019, when several teams were organized for Business Run Plovdiv. I got three people from my work team to join me, and together, we got to know running as something different from what we had known as kids. Furthermore, the business runs, as it turned out, are super interesting! The distance is shorter, and there is a team element, which is great for a sport that is generally independent. 

Since 2021, I have led the organization, and more recently, Rumen Andreev is actively helping. Slava Gorostanova has always been an important part of our team. In 2022, Martina Kandarasheva and I made branded shirts for the team, which I am very proud of. There are traditional events that we try to participate in, especially when the funds raised from the runs are for charity. 

In all events, it doesn't really matter how fast we are—not that we don't enjoy our super successful runners—but the team building and the relationship between colleagues are certainly more important. 

What did the team teach you that helped you in your daily work? 

I learned to search for people (in groups and individually), and when it doesn't work, I ask for help. 

Participating in sports introduced me to colleagues with whom, in the office environment, we would just pass each other and nod, and in the hybrid environment (where we work at the moment), maybe we would not know each other at all. 

What's next, and what are the plans for the team? 

We continue to participate in traditional running events; up next is the Edenred Run. We meet monthly with colleagues online. We will soon have more information available via We Are Community for employees who are interested in participating. 

This article is part of a well-being series providing a wealth of information on the outstanding practices and captivating stories of OneTeam. Follow along as we explore the numerous activities and initiatives organized by our dedicated Well-Being Group. 

In the next article of the series, we will introduce you to the EPAM employee leaders from our ‘Event Crew.’ This team is committed to making the office a place for both productive work and great fun!!