Written by Klaryssa Pangilinan, People and Culture Advisor at Daily Hive.
2020 was weird. 2021 is still weird, even as we begin the slow transition back to what life used to be like. And even if it does go back to what used to be considered “normal” (whatever that means anymore), it won’t quite be the same. I really think that COVID-19 will have a long-lasting mental impact on everyone.
Over the past year and a bit, the team at Daily Hive has been through a lot. For the editorial and social teams, it has been an endless stream of COVID news coverage. Daily press conferences with new case counts and death counts.
For the Hive Labs and sales departments, it has taken a lot out of everyone to get sales back to where they were pre-COVID and even more to reach our highest month of sales ever. The product team has been able to continue pushing out new products and the finance team continues to work hard to get us through the impact from the past year.
On top of all of this, we all know we’re sick of Google Meet calls and virtual happy hours. Regardless of department, COVID-19 has taken a toll on our mental health and how we view the workplace, so we decided to make some changes and here’s what we are going to do.
Mandatory paid flex days
At Daily Hive, we offer a variety of health and wellness initiatives including what we call Responsible Vacationing/Self-Managed Time Off, or more commonly known as Unlimited Vacation. Despite this, it still requires employees to actually request time off. Something that became difficult to do during a pandemic because with limited places to travel, time off never felt like a “vacation,” so why take any?
But the truth is, you don’t need to go on vacation to get a mental break. Sometimes all you need are a couple of hours, a half-day or even a full day to get the break that your mind and body need. This is why at Daily Hive, we are mandating two paid half days off per month for each employee on the team.
Starting July 1, we’ll be launching a three month pilot program for Flex Days and have employees on a rotating schedule to ensure they get a mental break. A mental break to do whatever they want; anything or nothing but a true break from work.
This program does not require you to work extra hours on different days to compensate. The hope is that with having a regularly scheduled mental break/time off, employees will feel less burnt out, more productive or be able to maintain the same level of productivity as before.
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No Meeting Wednesdays (NMWs)
This one is also pretty self-explanatory. We’ve mandated that no internal meetings should occur on a Wednesday.
Why? For a variety of reasons.
Meetings take up a lot of time. They can be great for team bonding, collaboration and efficiency, versus Slack or chat threads.
However, virtual meetings just aren’t the same as in-person meetings and maybe even not as productive. Being on a video call is tiring, especially when you have meetings back to back. Speaking of which, back-to-back meetings also restrict employees from taking proper breaks and really steal your day from you. Not to mention adding stress to your day because you know one of the meetings is going to go over time and thus ruin your entire schedule.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re not saying meetings are bad, but when you’re caught up in meetings all day, it’s often hard to get your tasks done and be very productive with your work. So, we want to experiment and provide everyone with blocked off deep work time; time to concentrate, put your head down and start to check things off of your to-do list.
So there you have it. Our new initiatives for the next couple of months. We’re not 100% sure either of these programs is going to be successful but we’re going to try.
And if it fails or the team hates it? We’ll try something else.
Post pandemic will be as “unprecedented” as the start of the pandemic was. We’re all learning how to navigate the future of workplaces and workplace culture and this is how we’re starting.