A recent Pangea HR Lab sunk its teeth into one of HR’s trickiest questions: how can scaling companies ensure a healthy work-life balance in a hybrid world?
From flexible arrangements and office incentives to meeting-less Fridays and managerial tactics, companies with diverse and dispersed teams are constantly innovating their approach to reduce employee burnout while optimizing productivity.
Here are five actionable insights that HR professionals in our network have done and why.
1. No meetings on Fridays
While some companies are trialing four-day weeks, others are opting for four-days of meetings. To ease the yearly come down from ‘Summer Fridays’ (taking the afternoon off), companies are removing internal meetings from Fridays and reducing external meetings where possible to free up employees’ time. Meetings only take place if a client needs one or there is a fire to put out, naturally this is harder for GTM teams to stick to. Employees manage to plan their week accordingly, fitting their calendar into four days. This works especially well across different time zones as no employee was asked to work Friday evenings.
2. Manager notifications
Whether it’s eating dinner in front of your laptop or checking your emails as you get up, when you work from home, you work more. To encourage employees to switch off and prevent burnout, companies are asking managers to turn off their notifications past 6 pm and ‘go offline’ when they’re busy. This shows employees that it’s acceptable to log off in the evenings and be unavailable when they don’t have capacity. In addition, managers are setting their emails to go out during office hours and are actively checking that their team uses all their annual leave / PTO.
3. Flexible arrangements
When it comes to a healthy work-life balance, no one size fits all. Be it taking an hour for exercise during the day or having time off for volunteering, companies are recognizing that employees need different things. The key is trusting employees to arrange their week/day as they want by simply putting commitments in their calendar (i.e. school run, gym class or medical appointment). This not only avoids presenteeism and takes away the pressure to always be ‘online’, but in a competitive hiring market, flexible arrangements also help attract and retain talent.
4. Office incentives
For some global companies with dispersed teams, a remote-first approach is the only solution. However, other companies with more localized employees are incentivizing a return to the workplace. From in-office perks, such as having a chef and games rooms, to travel subsidies, like petrol vouchers and travelcards, companies are providing specific ‘carrot’ options to get people back in the office and benefit from office collaboration. This is especially true for junior positions who’ve only experienced working from home (i.e. post-2020 hires), have yet to appreciate the benefits of the office and miss out on learning and development opportunities by staying at home.
5. Women-focused initiatives
Hybrid working is potentially undoing recent advances in workplace equality. Companies report that men are more likely to return to the office, while women are more likely to work from home dealing with childcare. To avoid unfair advantages, some companies are offering incentives aimed towards women (e.g. financial boosts for mothers to come to the office) and encouraging senior managers to listen to individual flexible working suggestions from women. What’s more, some companies are putting disclaimers at the bottom of emails stating, for example, ‘I am a mother working across multiple time zones’, so that recipients expect ‘out of hours’ comms and know they can respond when it’s the right time for them too.
Join the next HR Lab
Pangea HR Labs bring together HR leaders from high-growth tech companies to share perspectives on what’s happening and what’s moving the needle as the HR landscape evolves.
Are you an HR professional at a scaling tech company? Get in touch, if you’d like to join the next session.