I have been reading a lot of interesting articles on work/life balance lately, specifically on the importance of giving employees the freedom to take time out of their busy schedules for important appointments.
I have seen examples of some pretty unique strategies, like unlimited vacation, vacation bonuses, flexible work-from-home hours, and open office hours. But the reality is that in many cases, employees rarely take advantage of these perks because they hear their leaders talking the talk, but they don’t see them walking the walk. It is extremely difficult to feel like it’s okay to take that extra time or go to that appointment if you never see your boss, or your boss’s boss, doing it.
Something we do at Dyspatch, which started with our founders, is to be really vocal when arriving or leaving the office. This doesn’t mean disrupting everyone or being annoying, but just a simple, “Good morning,” or, “Good night,” when coming or going. Eventually, this evolved to include when going out for coffee walks, lunches, and really any time someone is leaving the office, for any reason. That evolution continued until now people use whatever method they feel most comfortable with, whether that’s calling out when they’re leaving or posting a quick AFK via Slack.
With something as simple as saying, “Good night,” or, “Back in a bit,” our founders set a precedent that reinforces a sense of freedom, encouraging our team to take the time for appointments, to go home early for their family, or to work from home if they need to puppy sit. It is one of those unique pieces of Dyspatch that I love about working with our team. Every day when I leave the office, usually around 5:00 or 5:30 (except on Thursdays, when I leave at 3:00 to pick up my son from childcare), I receive a heartfelt chorus of, “Good night, see you tomorrow,” as I wish everyone in the office a good night. Not everyone does this every single time but overall, it’s a lovely feeling to know that anyone, particularly if they’ve had a tough day, can get a quick lift as they’re leaving just by saying, “Good night,” and hearing it in return.
As our team continues to grow, we know the importance of work/life balance and giving everyone the chance to take the time they need to lead sustainable lives. Burnout is a prevalent problem and very real in the tech industry, and we will continue to encourage our team to take the time they need. Our leaders will continue to lead by example so that others know that this is not lip service, but something that is truly important to us. Everyone on the leadership team will continue to be vocal when we leave the office, we’ll continue to take time to care for our selves and our families, to go on parental leave, take breaks, and simply enjoy a little R&R. Because if the leaders of a company won’t do it, who will?