Balancing act: How 4 tech companies help employees thrive at work — and outside it

by Alton Zenon III
January 16, 2019

It’s important to enjoy your job, and an important part of doing so is knowing when to take time away from it.

After all, separation makes the heart grow fonder.

We spoke to team leaders at four companies that not only understand the significance of work-life balance, but actually enact initiatives to help their teams maintain it.

 

Farmer's Fridge in running gear pose for a photo
image via farmer's fridge

Farmer’s Fridge makes automated smart fridges that house and dispense healthy, chef-curated meals. Director of UX Sarah Affholter said team members are encouraged to pull themselves away from work, in a variety of ways, to keep their minds as fresh as the company’s meals. 

 

How does healthy work-life balance affect your company?    

Reduced burnouts, higher productivity and lower turnover are attributed to the fact that Farmer’s Fridge respects and values a healthy work-life balance. Employees are asked to make themselves a priority by setting personal goals, for which they’re held accountable. Subsequently, they are able to bring a more productive, focused and refreshed version of themselves to work. We have weekly clarity breaks — scheduled time set aside to work on prioritized tasks, uninterrupted, freeing up more time and energy to be spent on personal interests. 

The most effective way to encourage your employees to create a healthy balance is to lead by example.”

 

How do you encourage employees to create that balance?

I encourage employees to make time for their personal goals, whether they be reducing screen time, spending more time with family or training for a marathon. It’s a win-win, as it benefits employees as well as the company. We have biweekly goals that align with our sprint cadence, allowing me to be flexible with personal commitments while still holding my team accountable. 

The most effective way to encourage your employees to create a healthy balance is to lead by example. I enjoy participating in Farmer’s Fridge Run Club, it’s a great way to break up the day and spend time with my co-workers.

 

GiveSmart by Community Brands team posing in group photo
image via GiveSmart by Community Brands

GiveSmart by Community Brands helps schools, nonprofits and membership organizations fundraise and manage donor relations more efficiently through its cloud-based software. Esther Yum, senior manager of event operations, said turning off work notifications when out of office is important to keep team productivity turned on in the office. 

 

How does healthy work-life balance affect the company?

A healthy work-life balance is important to maintain positive thinking and happy employees, which generate productive results for a company. Employees who can balance work and life are less stressed because they have time to dedicate to life beyond work. They’re able to focus on priorities and be successful in the office because they aren’t overworked. Happy employees also provide a positive contribution to their work environment, contributing to an uplifting and hard-working environment.

It’s important for a manager to encourage employees to turn their emails off during vacations and off hours.”

 

How do you encourage employees to create balance?

I believe it’s important for a manager to encourage employees to turn their emails off during vacations and off hours. The trust and confidence that is created when managers encourage employees to have balance is priceless, and it shows genuine care for the people on their team. It’s also important that we are flexible with employees with families and the schedules they have, so we have maternity and paternity policies, flexible work hours and work-from-home options.

 

VelocityEHS team at volleyball outing
image via VelocityEHS

VelocityEHS provides software that helps companies meet their health, safety and sustainability standards. Employee Experience Specialist Molly Thompson said the company has a lot of initiatives that encourage staff to have fun both inside and outside of the office.

 

How does healthy work-life balance affect the company?

When employees get burnt out or their jobs take them away from the things they value outside of work too much, their output and productivity will ultimately suffer. That’s why it’s important to us that employees are not only content with the time they spend within our office, with a variety of benefits and perks, but also have the opportunity to enjoy leaving the demands of the workplace behind at the end of the day.

Generous PTO, company-sponsored intramural teams and Summer Fridays help employees enjoy their time outside of the office.”

 

How do you encourage employees to create that balance?

We’re not just focused on the work we do to help companies keep others safe, but also encourage our employees to have fun while doing it. Generous PTO, company-sponsored intramural teams and Summer Fridays help employees enjoy their time outside of the office. Regularly scheduled social events, a fully equipped game lounge and our new meditation room help employees take a break from it all during the workday. 

 

CSG team posing for photo in their office
image via csg

CSG helps media companies including AT&T, Charter Communications, Comcast and DISH, do things like monetize their solutions, enhance their customer experiences and manage revenue. Manager of Technical Support Andrew Sobotka said he encourages his team to take time off after particularly intense weeks.

 

How does healthy work-life balance affect the company?

As an organization, promoting work-life balance is in our best interest. Moving to flex vacation time was a big step for CSG to help employees maintain a healthy balance and prevent burnout. Happy and well-rested employees tend to do better work and make fewer mistakes than tired and stressed out employees.

Not all conversations have to be focused on our job.”

 

How do you encourage employees to create that balance?

I like to check in with my team and watch the amount of vacation time they request — making sure that requests are balanced across the team. Encouraging them to take more time off after particularly rough weeks is my goal. I also find that while we’re at work, not all conversations have to be focused on our jobs. Having some fun and talking about the latest movies or viral memes, playing games and getting out of the office for team outings is always something that helps keep the stress of our jobs down. 

 

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